If the customer experience strategy of the future is going to succeed, then it must become more robust. Every department within the organisation must be united behind a clear customer experience vision and underpinned by actionable insight, with customer knowledge being shared openly amongst employees to continually fashion new and more relevant ways of doing things. Traditional approaches such as demographic segmentation and lengthy slide decks must give way to the discipline of change initiation, with forward-thinking insight teams being prepared to embrace new practices such as behavioural economics and big data. Indeed, this will be essential for any brand that hopes to achieve customer experience best practice and remain competitive in a crowded, noisy marketplace.

 

The rapid pace of change

At KPMG Nunwood, all of the best customer experience strategies are built on the foundations of The Six Pillars, which represent the universal characteristics of all great experiences. These pillars are essential because they have a measurable link to customer loyalty and advocacy, meaning they can bring a competitive advantage and ROI. However, what these pillars mean to certain customers requires some discernment – which is why continued insight is important – and people’s needs and desires can change at such a rapid pace that it will be necessary for the teams of tomorrow to be ready to act quickly.

 

Indeed, it might sound counter-intuitive, but the customer experience strategy of the future will built on the premise that it’s okay to ‘fail faster.’ In 2018, some of the strongest organisations in the world recognise this, and prioritise speed over accuracy. However, this does not give brands permission to shoot blindly into the dark; rather, it’s about utilising a ‘good enough’ amount of customer insight to quickly create a competitive new product or service.

 

This is certainly the mantra of the technology company Google, whose International Insights Program manager Tyler Kettle states that, “70-80 per cent certainty is better than being late to market.”[1] And often, an organisation will have to dispense with some sacrosanct beliefs about what its customer wants if the data is pointing towards a new trend. As such, the insights team of tomorrow must comprise of keen facilitators, who have a bold willingness to experiment.

 

Walking in the customers’ shoes

In order to initiate such a rapid pace of change, much of the insight team’s time will be spent implementing the knowledge it has gathered, rather than conducting the research itself. A process manager will oversee this and inspire other departments to take action, sometimes in creative and innovative ways.

 

The financial services brand Nationwide, for example, constructed a mock customer house to help employees to get inside their clients’ shoes[2] – an initiative with the potential to be of huge benefit to a customer strategy, as one of the key components of The Six Pillars is Empathy. Moreover, such immersion affords a much greater chance of identifying unmet needs and opportunities that may otherwise be unapparent. And in addition, any new products or services that have been created as a result of insight could be tested and fine-tuned within such an environment before being presented to the customer.

 

The insight community

Any new strategies also need to reassure stakeholders, and tomorrow’s insight team will be key to delivering this reassurance. But they must first understand the problems, priorities, perceptions and personalities of the most important individuals so that they can present the stories of customer insight in ways that make sense at a financial level. The key to getting this right will be to involve stakeholders in the innovation process at an early stage, and immersing these individuals in an ‘insight community’ to ensure that the very best business outcomes are being reached.

 

As Debra Walmsley, the Head of Customer Research and Insight at British Gas, attests: “Insight departments have to be able to demonstrate value to the business in a much more commercial way. We have to be able to work in partnership with our stakeholders and sponsors within the business. We have to be in the heart of decision-making.”[3]

 

Of course, for any organisation unfamiliar with The Six Pillars and how to derive financial value from them, the prospect of initiating change can be a daunting one. However, with services such as KPMG Nunwood’s CX Cloud already delivering transformative experiences around the world, the best tools are already in existence. It’s up to the organisations of today to decide what tomorrow’s customer experience strategy will look like, and they need to carefully consider whether their chosen approach will be robust enough to withstand the frenetic pace of 2019 and beyond. 

 

Download the 2018 UK Customer Experience Excellence Analysis in full.

 

[1] UK CEE 2018 report, page 78

[2] Ibid., page 77

[3] Ibid., page 78