We may be done with the pandemic, but it is not done with us. The fallout and associated economic upheaval will radically change the ways in which we conceive of customer experience (CX), forcing CX leaders to execute a grand pivot in their approach to designing and delivering experiences for their customers. Continued supply chain disruption, the “Great Resignation,” and increasing customer expectations will push brands to reevaluate their approach to CX in the new year. We predict that in 2022, brands will have to grapple with the facts that:
The customer isn’t always right if the cost is employee well-being. Customers are realizing that brands are sacrificing employee welfare on the altar of unsustainable customer experiences. In response, more customers are voting with their wallets, switching their business to brands that treat their employees better. Employees, too, are voting with their feet, leaving for opportunities with companies that treat them with more respect. These trends will continue in 2022, bringing the situation to a point where brands will be forced to take action and adapt.
The era of instant gratification is over for now. Looming shortages in everything from lumber and microchips to internationally shipped goods mean that many products will be in short supply or altogether unavailable. Customers are already frustrated by empty shelves and long (sometimes unknown) wait times to receive products, a situation that will get worse before it gets better. This means that brands can no longer rely on a plethora of products as their main selling point; instead, they will have to use CX to differentiate themselves.
As brands work to overcome these challenges, they will turn to aspects of the customer experience that are now top of mind for customers. In 2022, Forrester predicts that brands will:
Keep the CX improvements they made during the pandemic. Companies made many adjustments and accommodations during the pandemic: some as a result of restrictions, some in response to health concerns, and some to make up for economic difficulties. Customers have responded well to the accommodations (such as curbside pickup) and are more open than ever to remote solutions (such as telehealth). We expect many brands will keep the pandemic-era services that have become popular with customers, due to their profitability and to avoid disappointing their customers.
Spend more with vendors that commit to accessibility. Customers are demanding more accessible experiences, and brands are going to respond in 2022 with deep investments in associated improvements. This increase in interest and the growth in accessibility-related lawsuits lead Forrester to predict that companies will choose to spend $10 billion dollars in 2022 with tech vendors and services firms that develop and deploy accessible solutions.
Design for privacy. As obstacles to accessing consumer data grow (such as customers valuing privacy more and governments regulating data collection), brands will need new ways to learn about their customers. We predict that US and European firms will expand CX leaders’ view to include designing for journeys that center on privacy and consent. This shift is a natural evolution for CX, increasing its influence while enabling the enterprise to continue to offer individualized experiences without relying on third-party data.
Overall, we predict that brands will be more deliberate in where they focus their efforts than they have been in previous years, as the current regulatory and economic landscapes require a reevaluation of long-standing practices. Successful brands will balance the needs of the customer and the employee with the needs of the business.
Forrester (Nasdaq: FORR) is one of the most influential research and advisory firms in the world. We help leaders across technology, marketing, customer experience, product and sales functions use customer obsession to accelerate growth. Through Forrester’s proprietary Research, Consulting, and Events, leaders from around the globe are...