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CX Priorities for 2022: Patty Soltis | Opinion

Predictions abound for the next year. Often, we go into the year feeling optimistic about what it holds, even if it is cautiously optimistic which is a better term to describe how many of us feel after 2020 and 2021. For the business world, there were some overwhelming themes to prepare for the next year and customer experience will play a major role in the success of this. CX leaders will need to look at the strategic goals of their organization, tie those to what will move the needle to increase revenue, produce expense reduction and create profit growth.

Overall, business leaders are optimistic about the year to come. They feel bullish leading into 2022 with most believing that their organizations will find growth. According to a Fortune/Deloitte survey with 110+ CEOs in a multitude of industries, two-thirds of CEOs expect their organization’s growth to be very strong’ or ‘strong’ over the next 12 months. Just less than a third expect “modest” growth, and a fractional 3% expect ‘weak’ growth.

Further, the CEO’s went on to define their top themes as leading talent (42%), setting strategy (38%), championing culture (31%), and vision (29%). Their top three concerns were labor/skills shortage, pandemic disruptions, and cybersecurity listed in order of priority. There are numerous CEO’s that are concerned about supply chain issues and inflation as well.

Tying all of this together, it becomes clear that CEO’s are expecting revenue growth, a need to hire and retain talent, digital strategies to communicate and provide seamless experiences that are safe. This is where laying out the CX strategy will more than ever need to be tied to the organization, CX cannot operate as a silo. Forrester has been telling us for years with their research and analysis that CX leaders need the connection to increase in revenue, cost reduction and profit growth to prove their ROI.

Here are the compiled priorities for 2022 for CX leaders looking to tie to the strategic goals of the organization and add value:

  1. Customers are expecting to be treated as people, not business commodities according to Qualtrics. They have identified $4.7T in lost revenue due to poor customer experiences, that’s on average 9.5% of your revenue. Eight in ten people expect better and CX needs to improve. Consumers are moving on more quickly with 63% of consumers saying companies need to listen and act, 62% of consumers believe that businesses need to take better care of them and 60% would buy more if they did. CX strategies will need to be designed with the client and end consumer in mind. Take the time to ideate, get the feedback from your teams, really hear the VOC, and build this as a bottom-up approach.
  2. Omnichannel digital experiences and engagement are on the rise with 70% of marketers are adopting an ‘always on’ digital engagement strategy in 2022 according to Forrester. This digital engagement will need the right mix of tech and human interaction, the partnerships between CX, marketing and tech will be crucial for this. Those who engage in it can grow at three times faster than their competition. While personalization is the key, most do not have the consumer insight to effectively do this creating a need to gain VOC and map the customer journey to understand what the buyer values and will motivate a purchase.
  3. Cybersecurity has become more important to the consumer. According to Gartner, privacy laws are growing, up to 75% in the next two years with customers wanting to know more about what data is being collected and how it is being used. Synthetic data is on the rise and consumers are rebelling against providing data to organizations, opting out of providing data. Organizations will need to be agile and thoughtful in collecting this data, and making their consumers feel safe on all their digital experiences.
  4. The “Great Resignation” is on the forefront for many. Attracting and retaining talent is now on the priority list for the CEO and leadership teams. Employees need the human touch to feel connected to their organization, leadership, and team. Leaders from Medallia are recommending that leadership of organizations understand what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear. The employee knows what obstacles they face doing their work, they need to be able to communicate this with follow through to activate their ability to improve the customer experience and literally improve every area of the business. An empowered workforce will deliver the personalized and seamless experience a customer expects. Look at the EX strategy in the organization and how it is supporting the CX strategy and overall company strategy. Keep going with what is working but be honest about what is not.
  5. Supply chain issues are anticipating continuing. Forrester is recommending that organizations move from JIT (Just in Time) inventory management systems to JIC (Just in Case) inventory management. For the CX leader, this is about the communication process that is going to the customer. Keep the communication open and stay ahead of it to let the customer understand expectations about delivery and availability.

Build the CX strategy to support the goals of the organization, create seamless digital experiences that show you understand your customer, give them the security they need to engage in the digital experience, drive employee engagement and communicate supply chain issues and opportunities. This is the winning combination for those in CX.

About the author

Patty Soltis
Patty Soltis
As a customer-centric strategist and consultant, Patty develops growth strategies for organizations with a focus on the customer propelling sales and profit growth in double digits. Prior to that, Patty was a VP/GM for Neiman Marcus, Marshall Fields and Lord & Taylor creating customer centric cultures and strategies that exceeded financial goals and CX metrics. Patty is a member of the CXPA and has earned her CCXP and her CX-PRO. She received her B.S. from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and her M.B.A. from Oakland University.


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