As we kick off a new year, CX teams are still grappling with the fallout from the pandemic and its implications for consumer behaviour and customer interactions.  There are likely to be more bumps in the road ahead but as businesses map out their strategies for customer success in 2022, there are some fundamental guiding principles and examples of brand best practices that they can follow.    

1. Make it personal  

Personalisation will be key to helping brands stand out this year, especially when consumers become more discerning with their spend as rising inflation starts to bite.  Our data shows the power of giving customers a unique experience – providing a clear, distinct offer and making them feel valued drives brand growth and ultimately leads to commercial success. 

Brands like Tesco and Spotify use data particularly well to personalise products and services, from Clubcard specific deals through to Spotify’s tailored playlists for users, with the impact reflected in their positions as market leaders.  Showing people how they benefit from giving businesses access to personal information is also essential to encourage them to continue sharing data – data which is often invaluable for informing business’ commercial decisions and go to market strategies.  

2. Loyalty still counts  

Linked to personalisation, CX teams shouldn’t overlook the value of customer loyalty in 2022.  Yes, growing pressures on household budgets will mean more shopping around, but an outstanding service will keep consumers coming back to the same brands.  CX teams need to help organisations identify areas where they might be falling down and guide investment in 2022 to turn one-time buyers into long-term converts.    

3. Empower your employees 

an image showing engaged employees developing a CX strategy for 2022.

It’s worth repeating that CX strategies are only as good as their execution.  Employees need to feel empowered to deliver an exceptional experience and organisations must work out what might be stopping them from acting on customer feedback and remove any blockers.  Many sectors have seen a huge turnover in staff over the past 12 months so it’s an ideal time to look again at training programmes and whether people feel bought into and confident to deliver customer initiatives.   

Brands need to give employees room for autonomy.  Pret is a good example of a business that gets this spot on, allowing its baristas the choice to give people free coffees.  Employees feel like they have a stake in customer success and consumers love these small gestures which are relatively cheap and easy to deliver.  

4. Get digital and instore working together  

The world is not going back to how it was before Covid – the accelerated digitisation of how we work, shop and even socialise is here to stay.  If CX teams haven’t already, they need to understand how this shift impacts their engagement with and ways of delivering for the customer.   

An image showing digitalization of services.

In retail especially we have seen rapid and fundamental change.  Adapting to new hybrid e-commerce/store models doesn’t have to mean suddenly launching your business into the metaverse.  Instead, CX teams should think about simpler initiatives to make sure customers still get the experience they’d expect from their favourite brands. 

That could mean having staff available to live chat with customers online to recreate the feeling of having attentive and friendly faces at hand in store. Or perhaps rethinking the click and collect experience – is it easy and stress-free to pick up an item? Is this just a process, or do customers still get the same thrill of making a purchase? 

5. Join up the data dots to prove ROI    

We know that CX matters and drives commercial impact, but now more than ever we need to prove it.  During times of economic turbulence disciplines like CX can be the first to see their budgets cut.  So how can we demonstrate the value we add?   

Organisations are often swimming in brand, consumer profiling and purchase data but many CX teams still struggle to bring this together and evaluate it effectively.  Modelling data to see the impact of changing different variables can help.  For one of our airline clients, for example, we were able to show that increasing its net promoter score by five points would drive a sales increase of 2.5%.  Having these hard and easy to understand metrics is vital to show CX efforts are working and to help us do our jobs effectively.   

There will be challenges in 2022, but focusing laser-like on customers’ needs, empowering employees to deliver an outstanding service, and navigating the new hybrid world of online and offline experience effectively will ultimately drive business success this year.     

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