As it appeared in the Daily Nation on May 26th 2020
Dr. Lucy Kiruthu
In most businesses, customer experience has evolved over the years. Today, many businesses are putting extra effort to win customers and to retain them even as we go through the COVID-19 crisis. Smart businesses realize that their customers’ behaviours are changing fast, their expectations are growing and that customers have a choice. Such businesses are doing whatever needs to be done to meet their customers’ immediate needs today and win their trust in the long term. The COVID-19 pandemic is being seen as a catalyst for further customer experience transformation. This is bringing the future even much closer for most businesses.
The saying that the future is already here is attributed to William Ford Gibson Gibson a fiction writer who alluded to the fact that what will constitute the normal for most in the future is already in existence for some today. That can be said to be true on matters customer experience. What will constitute the future of customer experience is already being witnessed in some businesses today. Over the last 5 years, a number of businesses have invested heavily in customer experience improvements. Some have put up state-of-the-art facilities for their customers, others have employed technology-based solutions to drive automation and digitalization and ease customer interactions. Yet still, others have utilized data analytics to make better decisions and have applied artificial intelligence to better serve their customers. Many other businesses have recruited the best teams and trained them on the art and science of customer experience. Most of these interventions continue to shape the future of customer experience.
How businesses interact with their customers and how customers feel about the interactions remains at the centre of customer loyalty and contributes significantly to business success. This being the basis of customer experience requires that every business stays ahead in easing interactions and making them delightful. Most smart businesses have customer experience as a priority area of focus. In the last two years, I have witnessed the growth in the use of multiple integrated channels to connect with customers and the movement of customer experience conversations into the boardroom. Digital transformation of the customer interactions continues and the current crisis has intensified the rate of digitalization. Are there more improvements for businesses to make?
The future will see greater obsession with providing the best customer experience from start to end. This is already happening. Smart companies are seeking to fully understand, meet and even exceed the functional and emotional needs of their customers. Smart companies are today seeking to connect more at the emotional level. The future will see intensified obsession with the customer, greater focus on the employees and higher investment in research to re-engineer the overall customer experience.
Clearly, the future of customer experience already exists. Smart businesses obsess about their customers and continue to give the overall experience a makeover. Unfortunately, not all businesses are keeping up; those lagging behind are holding on tightly to their old habits. It is time to let go and enjoy the benefits of creating a culture that recognizes the customer as core to your business’ success.
Dr. Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy