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Customer Experience leaders converge for Forrester’s 10th annual CX NYC event

This week we were in New York to attend Forrester’s CX NYC, the 10th running of the event, with around 1300 business leaders converging to hear success stories and challenges with all things CX-related.

One theme rang particularly true over the 2 days; how there is already a significant body of evidence that draws a clear connection between customer experience and company performance. We all need to do a better job of communicating the value of investments in improvements and personalisation of the customer experience, and it was great to be reminded of the prize available to those that execute well.

Over the 9 years the CX event has been running, $100 invested in the S&P would now be worth $157. Not to be sniffed at. However over that same period, had your $100 been invested in those businesses consistently called out as providing great customer satisfaction, you’d be looking instead at $760!

Now more than ever, this is a story of how putting customers first really is the only strategy in town. Did you know that businesses that explicitly mention customers in their mission statement outperformed those who don’t? And those who call out customers as being ‘the reason they exist’ do even better again? This is more an allusion to the necessity to truly be customer first, rather than the need to rehash company messaging and mission statements of course.

You might think that this compelling story was driving effective investments in customer experience across the board, with more satisfied customers as a result? Unfortunately not! Customers’ expectations are no longer set by what you and your competitors provide as an experience; their expectation is set by the last good experience they had, period. The last 3 years of trends in CX show no overall change in the distribution of businesses providing poor, OK, good or great CX. The majority - 62% - are just ‘OK’ overall. It feels like the rug is continuously being pulled out from under businesses’ CX strategies. Many are struggling to keep up, whilst the leaders are reaping the benefits.

So what does ‘executing well’ look like and how do businesses set up their initiatives to succeed? We saw enough examples at the event to know that there’s no one-sized approach. We’ve seen the creation of a CX strategy function at USAA. Goldman Sachs’ consumer arm Marcus went with distributed leadership across Product, Marketing and Operations. Alice Milligan from Citibank advised to make sure that roles, decision making and governance are super-clear with single owners for identified journeys. In all cases though, it’s clear that senior sponsorship is key to lead the change.

But then there is the role of customer insights. In an interesting talk by Forrester’s Principal Analyst, Joana van den Brink-Quintanilha, we heard confirmation of something we know to be true from our own work - that radical reinvention and revenue growth requires a complete, 360-degree view of your customers' behaviours and values, not just their interactions and relationships with you. The breadth and depth of customer research being undertaken by leading businesses in this space is truly inspiring. One example that stood out was how T-Mobile has invested in research with 12 year olds - who they expect to be their core customers in 2025. This has offered a radically different perspective on how these future customers envisaged living alongside technology, none of which included a smartphone!

Over the 2 days, industry speakers and analysts shared countless examples of how the most successful brands have learned to deploy deep customer understanding to deliver compelling, engaging, experiences in the moment. The next generation of CX innovators, however, are using the insights derived from deep customer understanding to discover completely new business opportunities, expand customer relationships into new verticals, and explosively grow revenues. This radical innovation can only be pursued by enterprises that are driven by CX, not merely informed or improved by it.

If you're interested in learning more about how Intent HQ's platform helps businesses use customer intelligence to improve CX strategy, find out more here or get in touch.

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