We are living through a period of heightened awareness about some of the biggest challenges of our time. People across the globe care increasingly about issues such as climate change, inclusion, and product accessibility.

Unsurprisingly, most of the executives I’ve spoken with recently, have listed ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) initiatives among their top three priorities. Moreover, 90 % of organisations now have a Chief Experience Officer or equivalent. CX experts doubtlessly have an opportunity to take a leading role in the ESG-focused organizational change.

In this two-part series, we will examine the top four reasons why human experience should be an essential part of any ESG strategy, namely:

  • Help develop ESG products and propositions
  • Shape consumer habits around ESG
  • Enable a purpose-driven culture
  • Facilitate dialogues for fuelling change

In this instalment, I’ll explore the first two and look at how an ESG strategy can be adapted accordingly. 

1.  Developing ESG products and propositions

An image showing carbon footprint an average person can track in his daily life.

Organisations across sectors are pouring their energies into ESG-focused services to meet customer demands. As companies invest in these new offerings, they must channel an active community voice into proposition development. Failure to do so can result in a negative reaction from users.

In 2019, BP tweeted about a calculator it allows consumers to quantify their carbon footprint. Public response to the tweet was unfavourable, as people felt the onus should be on the oil company rather than on the everyday users.

This is just one story of how risky it can be to develop sustainability offerings without first checking diverse perspectives on the solution. In this and similar situations, experience management teams can help fill this vacuum by offering efficient techniques of CX.

With that in mind, some organisations have begun bringing the voice of the consumer into their development cycles by adding ESG-related questions into regular surveys. However, even actions like this one can fail in reaching the initial intention. By squeezing questions into post-interaction surveys instead of cadence-based relationship ones, organisations frequently blur the lines between service, product, and ESG feedback.

In automotive, for instance, brands are launching showroom-style studio pop-ups to display electric vehicles. Surveys that focus on the showroom experience afford great opportunities for brands to capture feedback on their more sustainable product lines.

2. Shaping consumer habits around ESG

An image showing a car pollution and a need for a sustainable SGD strategy.

Volvo’s latest campaign for the CX40 Recharge says ‘The future is electric, it’s time we embraced it’, which reflects their plan to be fully electric by 2030. For customers, however, it can be hard to change their habits overnight.

According to research, motorists remain generally sluggish to embrace electric vehicles, and the auto industry must continue to educate customers about the imperative to evolve. An organisation’s experience function can play a critical role in fuelling these efforts to shape habits around ESG.

Taking customers’ perspectives into account timely can save the company some unnecessary costs. Simple initiatives such as AB testing messages on product pages or leveraging Natural Language Processing to uncover customer sentiment around newly launched campaigns can be highly beneficial.

Final thoughts

Aspects of our “throwaway society” have been a part of the human experience for quite some time now. It will therefore be crucial for more forward-thinking organisations to consider how to solicit feedback from customers around sustainability offerings in order to impose new behaviours across different cultures.

Once an organization has thought seriously about developing its ESG product, the next two proactive steps are enabling a purpose-driven culture and facilitating meaningful dialogues. In Part 2 of this article, I will lay out the practical steps organizations can take to achieve ESG excellence with experience at its heart.

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