The study, “The Future of CX,” examines how the emergence of tools such as artificial intelligence (AI), customers’ use of “personal digital twins”—assistants that personalize their experiences online—and the mainstreaming of neuroscience into user experience design and market research are changing how CX is built, measured, and managed.
But just as important as upgrading tools and technology is a corresponding change in internal structures and strategic approaches, said Rick Parrish, VP and principal analyst at Forrester. Many companies make “the classic mistake” of assuming solely investing in new tools will upgrade their CX management. As a result, they neglect to revamp their processes to make them more nimble and able to stay ahead of consumers, he said.
“Technology is one piece of the puzzle, and it’s an important piece, but it’s only one piece—necessary but not sufficient,” Parrish told CMO by Adobe.
The future CX model will have to be agile enough to change as technology and consumers change. This will require not only the work of creatives and technologists, but also neuroscientists and anthropologists for an in-depth, scientific understanding of human behavior, according to the Forrester report.
“Cultural instincts and dopamine triggers will become the lingua franca of CX design,” the report stated.
CX also will have to be responsible for driving growth in both the business’ top line and margin by opening new markets. And it will have to take stands on issues that matter to the consumers it targets.
“Until companies keep focusing on the things that are going to drive CX success and improve CX loyalty, they’re spinning their wheels,” Parrish pointed out.
The report prescribes that enterprises keep CX front and center in their decisions about strategy and finance. One common mistake they make is investing in technologies as a money-saver rather than looking at them in the context of building improved CX and loyalty.
“If you just plug new technology onto doing things the same way, you will keep making mistakes—only doing them in a shinier way,” Parrish explained.
In addition, investments take time to show a return. The quarterly grind is not a long-enough time cycle to see some of these advantages come to fruition, Parrish said.
According to Forrester’s CX Index, which measures how successfully companies are delivering customer experiences that create and sustain loyalty, few are really differentiating themselves.
That said, Forrester sees many companies working really hard. It’s just they are making slow progress, and customer expectations are rising, too, Parrish said.
“They are doing things, but at the same pace at which expectations are rising, the quality of CX is only meeting expectations,” he said. “You have to get out in front—otherwise there’s no improvement.”
The index also found loyalty to companies is on the wane among Generation X, Millennials, and Gen Z consumers. These consumers choose brands based on their personal values, which change across time, so brands will have to do more than just keep up, the report said.
Still, that can be tricky. Consumers are also increasingly protecting their personal data, especially with more digital assistants mediating their brand experiences, along the customer journey. This makes it all the more important for companies to assure their customers they’re using data and automation properly.
Overall, these new priorities will lead CX pros into a new, more rigorous discipline, and companies will have to make them more central players in a new ecosystem built to prioritize CX, according to the Forrester report.
“Raise the CX field to the level of a rigorous business discipline, and you become a real driver of this top- and bottom-line growth,” Parrish said. “You’re not only improving the business, but internally you’re building the stature to be able to do this other stuff [and get] all the resources that you’re going to need.”