This article is part of our series about 2019 trends, predictions, and new opportunities. Click here for more.
Despite brands working to provide exceptional customer experiences, 2018 closed with CX quality flat for the third year in a row, according to Forrester’s CX Index survey of more than 110,000 U.S. consumers. Many brands failed to provide value to customers—customers whose expectations are constantly rising and who require differentiated experiences to remain loyal.
One major cause to this problem, as we have observed over the last few years, is that CX management—the driving force behind improved CX quality—remained at a relatively low level across the board. Brands just haven’t been doing what they need to do in order to make big gains. If their CX programs were home improvement projects, we’d say they were decorating, not renovating.
Don’t get me wrong: Making the business case for CX transformation is no small feat. But when nearly 90% of CX professionals said the ROI of CX was not well-established at their companies, it’s clear that CX hasn’t yet been elevated as a strategic advantage to the rest of their organization—and, more importantly, to leadership.
While some firms will push for CX transformation because they understand its direct correlation to driving revenue, this won’t be the norm. This brings us to the present. Among our predictions for what is ahead this year:
1. Brands with stagnating CX will mistakenly take shortcuts to add value: Many brands will rely on temporary solutions, like price wars, to entice new customers with attractive discounts. This strategy will backfire: Firms that rely on short-term gains will lose sight of the strategic CX efforts needed to stay competitive and gain lifelong, loyal customers. Without a commitment to CX, they will continue to fall behind their competitors—or worse, be forced to close their doors.
2. CX pros will flee frustrating gigs for better opportunities: As more CX jobs are created, CX professionals will have the luxury to be choosey about where they work. Those currently at firms that aren’t committed to CX will seize the opportunity to leave for roles at companies where they can make a much bigger impact. In 2019, companies that want to retain CX talent will make CX a strategic priority at the corporate level and designate adequate budget to fund it.
3. There will be a surge in efforts to make the business case for CX transformation: CX transformations are massive, take years, and cost millions. CEOs of companies already in the middle of a CX transformation have come under pressure from shareholders pursuing short-term dividends over long-term growth prospects. To continue receiving meaningful support in 2019, CX pros must put more sophisticated business plans in front of their leadership. Those who fail to make the critical connection to business outcomes risk their CEOs pivoting away from CX.
Although we anticipate a bumpy ride in 2019, all hope is not lost: We expect CX will continue as a major factor in how companies do business. When the dust settles, look for top-performing brands to put some additional space between themselves and their closest competitors, fueled by more sophisticated business cases and an influx of CX talent from companies that lost focus.