From brussels sprouts to intimacy, according to Gainsight’s Nick Mehta and Netomi’s Puneet Mehta offer a lively take on what’s ahead for CX leaders now that they have a seat in the boardroom.
In a recent webinar, Nick Mehta sat down to talk with Netomi Founder / CEO Puneet Mehta to discuss how customer experience has evolved over the past few years, and what’s to come in 2022 [Watch the full recording here].
Here’s a recap of the discussion, featuring some of its top takeaways.
What’s changed with customer experience in the post-pandemic world?
Nick Mehta: Three key things have changed.
First, most human beings switched to a very digital lifestyle. Digital became the default mechanism for communication and life, whether it’s working, watching Netflix or ordering food. Everyone is now living their life online. This has caused people to expect digital-first, intelligent customer experiences.
Additionally, the pandemic has caused an incredible variance in demand. So many brands have experienced demand screech to a halt and then skyrocket again. There have been crazy fads, including brussel sprouts trending on tiktok one week and then grocery stores running out of them. With this variability of demand, companies need to know how to scale customer experience up and down.
Third, in the B2B space, the concept of customer success has blown up because software has blown up. The number of software companies has grown so significantly and there is this need for these software companies to deliver great experiences and outcomes to their customers.
What changes in customer experience are you seeing post-pandemic?
Puneet Mehta: Pre-pandemic, there was a thought process that, in order to build connections, you needed to have two people talking. There was a need to connect customers with agents. Suddenly, the definition of that connection has changed. The definition of connection is now instant help – being helpful in the moment.
The second thing is the increase in customer service tickets, whether this is a result of the global supply chain issues or travel resuming around the world. In 2022, support teams across industries are preparing for more tickets.
Third, we saw a big shift in the role of CX within an organization, and customer experience executives now have a seat at the executive table. The C-suite now really recognizes the need to provide incredible customer experiences.
How has customer experience evolved?
PM: Post-pandemic, conversations have become very goal-driven. We’re seeing people want to get to the point, and get to the point quickly. Customers are losing their patience and want a resolution quickly. Increasingly, good customer experience is going to be about understanding a person’s context, and having situational awareness. Someone standing on the corner of the street in the rain has different needs and expectations than someone sitting on their couch on a Saturday. The former individual would need immediate help, while the latter may have a bit more patience.
When do you apply automation to customer success?
NM: It’s important to realize that, for a lot of consumers, it is good for them too. A lot of us like the self-service experience and appreciate it more as we as a society are becoming more technical.
In the B2B world, digital customer experience is a strategy that should be applied to all customers, not based on deal or company size. Automation, however, might not be right for all touchpoints, but it can be right for all customers.
How do you define AI when it comes to customer experience?
PM: We think about it as ‘A’ standing for ‘Access’ and ‘I’ standing for ‘Intimacy.’ We’re delivering that combination of access and intimacy between businesses and their customers in a very goal-driven way.
What are your top CX forecasts for 2022?
NM: First, I see the blending of digital experience and products. The more that customers are living in the product, the more there will come to be an expectation to receive support within the product itself, whether it’s a device, software, app or embedded product. It’s all about building the experience into the product, rather than having the customer need to go somewhere else.
Second, AI is more real than ever before. It’s not just a buzzword. Companies are starting to get a better handle on their AI strategy and starting to use it to understand what’s working and what’s not. AI will be used to help businesses make better decisions.
Third, there will be great consideration on how to keep the human element in the digital experience. It will be all about finding ways of humanizing interactions and ensuring that customers can connect in ways that might be digital from a scale perspective, but feel very human.
When it comes to customer experience, what are some common mistakes?
NM: In customer experience, there is a common mistake of falling into a trap of platitudes. Every company says that ‘customers are important, we care about them and we want to improve the experience’. A big thing for CX professionals is measurement, and not just focusing on NPS or CES. There’s a need to measure the entire process, to be able to demonstrate the impact and become an expert on the ROI of what you’re doing.
PM: People tend to get lost when it comes to CX. It’s important to find that one wedge of CX that will have that disproportionate impact on your customers. You don’t have to focus on a multi-year plan that will have a supposed 300% increase on the customer experience. Instead, start small, measure, and see if you can start to see an impact in under six months. Even if it is an initiative that improves KPIs 5% over 90 days.
Want to see the full conversation? Watch the on-demand webinar now.