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Improving the customer experience is a goal for just about every business, but what does that mean and what challenges does it present?

Well, it can mean a lot of things and, as part of Econsultancy's latest Quarterly Digital Trends Briefing in association with Adobe, is identified as one of the biggest opportunities in the coming year.

So, what aspects of CX are companies looking to in 2016?

Is it about UI, data, speed, fun or reliability?

The chart below shows how more than 4,000 respondents are prioritising CX improvement.

Making experiences fast, mobile-friendly and consistent are priorities for only 3%, 4% and 8% of clients respectively.

This perhaps indicates the maturity of digital, with many businesses, having mastered these three elements of UI, now moving on to adding value for the consumer.

Having said that, 17% of respondents are prioritising ease of understanding. This may translate to creating slick products and intuitive, frictionless journeys, showing that design thinking in CX is on the rise.

Adding value (prioritised by 25% of client respondents) can include adding information and support (and perhaps new products) and is top of the list of priorities, alongside adding higher degrees of personalization and relevance.

It's interesting to see safety and reliability relatively high on the list for clientside respondents (11%), no doubt amplified by several high profile data breaches in 2015, as well as the continuing challenge of maintaining complex martech. 

customer experience prioritisation

The ascendance of design

Design has become the biggest word in marketing and tech at the moment (with many wondering why it wasn't always this way).

As Ashley Friedlein points out in his predictions for 2016, brands are looking to hire designers that can maintain a holistic view of IA, UI, UX, the customer journey and brand look and feel.

Additionally, many consultancies and tech implementers are acquiring design companies as they tool up for this renewed focus in the market.

The chart below shows that company respondents only rank strategy as more important than design in the customer experience (40% see design as the most important element).

Indeed, design is seen as more urgent than culture, data and tech.

This is unsurprising, given the pressure digital is exerting on some companies to develop new digital products in an effort to ensure long term revenue.

cx considerations

For more on 2016 trends, download the Adobe Quarterly Intelligence Briefing.

Ben Davis

Published 22 January, 2016 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (5)

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Darren Ward, Director of Product Marketing at User Replay Ltd

It's also about measurement. There is no point in doing anything unless you can measure the impact of any "improvements" to customer experience you think you are making. What you think is an improvement may actually reduce conversion or cause unpredicted technical issues or struggles. You need to be able to measure and score customer experience and, if necessary, be able to diagnose and visualise the actual experience your struggling customers are having. Organisations with a mature CX strategy are starting to deploy technologies that help with this... such as UserReplay and other CEM tools.

11 months ago

Jack Taylor

Jack Taylor, Commercial Development Manager at CartAssist

Great article as always Ben. With CX at the heart of every organisation's success, it's great to see that it's being recognised as an area that can be vastly improved. Design is unquestionably important as it is the first touch point for anyone browsing online; however a slick UX is just one piece of the customer experience puzzle. People naturally experience issues online, be it through design imperfections, or following a purchase to name but two. Providing real-time support for these customers is paramount in offering the 360 degree digital customer experience that is in line with ever growing expectations. Digital self-service provided by CartAssist is one way that CX conscious companies are doing just that.

11 months ago

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paris loesch, VP Sales Leadership at LionbridgeEnterprise

Very good insight and data points. I suspect this is regarding the "consumer journey" - even though your words are "customer". Is that right? If so, would you agree this applies to B2B as well as B2C? Meaning how B2B firms create the UX for their client's (usage of their tools and technology, retrieving data, buying reports, portals, landing pages, etc.).

11 months ago

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Jim Hunter, Consultant at VersionUX

I found the relatively low priority of "making things fast" very interesting as I think that things like "user friendly", "personalised", "relevant" and "understandable" are probably 80% about speed and indirectly get you there. If it's obvious, helpful and easy it's fast and people love it. I still don't think Amazon's offerings especially delight or seduce - they just deliver - and fast. Not saying speed is everything but optimal speed is a UX hygiene factor for me. In other words, you can be fast and plain (to use a Jane Austen euphemism) and still be respected but slow and pretty doesn't work.

11 months ago

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Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum Ltd

Jim - not often Jane Austen gets quoted here - well done!

And I think your point is good (but then I am biased, as making things fast and error free is my day job).

Regards 'understandable' and 'user friendly': I think all too often we under-estimate how hard those things can be.

Thinking of a recent project with a huge UK retailer: once a consumer has searched for a (sometimes large) product, and checked if it's on stock at their nearest store: the normal result is an offer to Click and Collect.

If that is not possible due to stock, the retailer offers (at a lower profit margin due to the shipping), either Home delivery.

So there's scope there for shopper confusion: why does it sometimes offer one choice, and sometimes others?

Making that 'understandable' but without using distracting words: not so easy.

11 months ago

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