Well, it seems as if things are back to normal. You know back to the times when brands didn’t pay all that much attention to customer experience. Oh sure, they all talked a good game, and study after study would show that marketers across the land prioritized CX. But in reality, it wasn’t that high on the ol’ priority scale.
But then came Covid and would you look at that? Marketers suddenly realized that there are words and then there are actions. And CX scores rose to new heights and all was well in the world.
Ah, but here we sit in a quasi post-Covid world — we’re obviously far from an actual post-Covid society but, there is definitely a sense of “return to some semblance of normalcy” in shall we call it the post-Covid-vaccine world.
What A Difference A Pandemic Makes
In 2021, CX quality in the US reached new heights according to Forrester, who recently released the 2022 version of their US Customer Experience Index Rankings. You remember 2021. Marketers and brands, still reeling from the devastating effects of Covid awakened from their slumber almost en masse to proclaim to all customers: You Matter!
Now? Well, according to Rick Parrish, VP and research director at Forrester, CX quality has “fallen to pre-pandemic levels due to brands losing their customer focus.” He labeled it “unfortunate” adding “businesses that survived the worst of the pandemic are now losing CX-driven customer loyalty gains.”
I’m sorry but when only 3% of US companies, as per the findings are customer-obsessed — those that put customers at the center of their leadership, strategy, and operations — it is NOT unfortunate.
It is pathetic.
Overall CX quality fell for 19% of brands in 2022 — the highest proportion of brands to drop in one year since the inception of the survey, which began in 2015.
How and Why?
The natural questions to ask are how could this happen? And why did this happen?
Let me start with the HOW.
Marketers stopped paying attention to what really matters. They stopped listening to their customers. They, quite simply, figured that things would stay the way they were, AKA in 2021 and that auto-pilot was acceptable and they no longer needed to keep trying; to keep listening; to keep being empathetic — to basically stop doing all the great things they did at the height of the pandemic.
In other words boys and girls, marketers got complacent. A death knell for any marketer for sure. Marketers failed to realize one very undeniable, irrefutable truth: The world had changed forever. And even though things were getting back some normalcy, it would never be like it was before. Customers have changed, forever. And along with it so too have their expectations when it comes to their experience with your brand.
As for the WHY, well I kind of answered that already re: complacency. I believe marketers far and wide simply stopped caring, at least to the pre-pandemic level. I believe this happened because they started to think their sh$t didn’t stink; that no matter what they did, customers would love their experience.
The fact is, repeating myself for maximum effect, the world has changed… FOREVER. And that includes your customers and their respective experiences. What you did then does not matter now. The margin for error is paper-thin. There is no resting of any laurels here, not if you want to keep those CX scores up.
And you damn well better want to do just that.