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.