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Brands must "invest smarter, not faster" in CX


New research urges brands to ditch quick-fix, “shiny object” tactics, and instead focus on building deep, meaningful customer relationships.

21st Feb 2023

With the rush to digitisation of customer service over the past four years, expenditure in digital transformation of customer experiences has soared. 

But CX management company Merkle are reminding brands that simply throwing money at a problem won't solve it. And in a new report, listing its CX imperatives for 2023, it's educating brands on how to build a more enduring foundation for long-term success.

The research focuses on closing the “experience gap” and delivering a complete, connected customer experience, which can actually improve customers’ lives in tangible, meaningful ways.

The 2023 imperatives are a guide to creating value – often from existing resources – by fostering long-term, loyal relationships with new and existing customers.

With brands and consumers alike reeling from the residual and ongoing effects of the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis, the imperatives illustrate how brands can move beyond short-term thinking – providing actionable steps that can be taken to deepen and extend customer relationships.

So without further ado, here are Merkle’s three key customer experience imperatives for 2023:

Future-proof your organisation

There have been so many tech vendors vying for brands’ business that brands can lose sight of the “why” and “what” they are actually delivering for consumers. When it comes to delivering a complete, connected customer experience, there must be a shared vision for the total experience these investments are meant to support.

In 2023, brands should look inward to realign their CX mission, create a modern data foundation and agile delivery organisation, and evangelise their vision for the future state of customer experience.

Reimagine your data and tech

Data is a goldmine of insight and opportunity. But more often than not, companies only leverage a fraction of the power of the consumer data assets at their disposal. This results in optimisations that are transactional at best and a missed opportunity to use data in a way that reciprocates with relevance.

Brands must focus on data unification, orchestration, and hygiene – elements of a data strategy that are crucial to achieving a unified understanding of customers. Innovation doesn’t have to be splashy — or costly – to be effective; sometimes scaling a CX vision means using owned data in a new way.

Make every experience a path to commerce

Consumers are looking for interactions that are tuned in, intelligent, and highly responsive – moments that work together to make shopping, and life, easier.

Shopping doesn’t happen in a disconnected vacuum, so commerce shouldn’t be managed as a siloed function. Instead, it should be at the very centre of digital transformation, to enable a total commerce experience for consumers who never stop shopping.

Brands should view commerce as a powerful vehicle for building long term-relationships, as the emotional connection generated by a positive shopping experience pays dividends far beyond the checkout process.

In discussing the imperatives, Michael Komasinksi, global CEO of Merkle, remarked: “If there’s one thing brands should take from these imperatives, it’s this: innovation and creativity must be your reward for doing the fundamentals well.

“When the foundation is there for a total experience approach – inclusive of sales, service, and commerce – a brand’s content and channels are working in sync to drive action and engagement beyond the point of transaction. Customers will turn from one-buy wonders to brand loyalists.”

You can download a free copy of the full report here.

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