CHICAGO, IL – May 19, 2021 – Today global experience company Rightpoint, a Genpact company, has released research insights that forecast businesses’ consumer experience priorities in the post-pandemic era. The study, titled “Forecasting Customer Experience Priorities in the Post-Pandemic Era Executive Report,” provided data that enabled Rightpoint to identify five key predictions and related implications for the trajectory of Customer Experience as a business function and discipline. The insights reveal that many trends in consumer behavior and shifting priorities for brand investments resulting from the COVID-19 lockdowns will indeed persist as the ‘new normal’. As such, brands that are proactively reacting to the shift in consumer behaviors and preferences are best poised to earn and sustain customer loyalty.    

Rightpoint surveyed over 300 senior customer experience executives to better understand their current and future CX strategy priorities, starting from the beginning of 2021. The survey included customer experience leaders with a focus on marketing, technology, product strategy, design, research, or analytics. Executives shared a multitude of insights that shaped a new understanding of where experience is heading, and what this may mean for brands moving forward in the post-pandemic era. 

“In 2020, brands had to quickly pivot to meet the needs of their customers at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many brands this meant rapid modernization to digital mediums that customers prefer; however, the speed in execution also introduced new pain-points and sub-optimal experiences. Our hypothesis entering into this Customer Experience study was that CX as a focus area for strategic investment would emerge as a priority across industries, whereas historically it’s been “nice-to-have” or tackled in functional silos, “said Stephanie Bannos, Global Head of Customer Experience at Rightpoint.

Highlights from the study include:

- CX is Key to Vision and Goals: 64% of senior executives surveyed by Rightpoint said that customer experience was extremely important to their organization’s vision and goals in 2021.

- The Importance of e-Commerce Will Continue Post-Pandemic: The COVID-19 vaccine does not eliminate the perceived risk of shopping in-store, and many consumers across generations are expected to continue to prefer the convenience even post vaccination. This is carrying through to brands as survey respondents indicate no slow-down in their e-Commerce investment with 33.4% stating continued CAPEX spending on e-Commerce infrastructure and processes in 2021. 

- Brands are Focused on Resolving Painful Moments: Brands that spun up e-Commerce rapidly in 2020 will need to de-silo and be more thoughtful about designing for nuanced customer use cases. That is likely why 66% of executives said that their top focus area for CX in 2021 will be solving real customer pain points.  

- Executives See an Imbalance in Customer Data: Understanding and resolving pain points begins with understanding the moments that matter most to customers, and often the emotions that inform or result from those moments. 34.4% of executives said that a lack of balance between quantitative and qualitative data is a challenge in measuring experience that needs to be solved for near-term.

- Personalization is More Important Than Ever Before: After the focus on commerce in 2020, it makes sense that executives are now shifting focused on optimizing the actual content and engagement strategy onsite. Executives also told Rightpoint that site experiences need to be dynamic and personalized to meet heightened consumer sensitivities to personalization and relevance.  With that, Content Management Systems (CMS) are noted as the most popular technology for new CX investment in 2021.

- Many are Centralizing CX to Control for Complexity: In response to the increase in complexity of CX strategy, it appears that businesses are beginning to centralize accountability for CX. Nearly 30% of respondents said that either the Chief Customer Officer is the leader most responsible for defining and driving customer experience initiatives within their organization, followed by nearly 25% who said the Chief Experience Officer is most accountable. Businesses are also structuring for CX differently today, creating singular teams or practices devoted to CX. 73.7% of survey respondents said that they now have a centralized CX team or practice.  

Bannos continued, “The findings confirm this hypothesis and provide new insight into how CX is becoming core to overall business strategy. As we enter the post-pandemic era, brands that emphasize and evolve their commitment to Experience are the brands that will thrive, and we believe those who de-silo CX initiatives fastest will jump ahead of competition.”

Download the report to view more comprehensive study results.