Experience Design

Evolving Customer Expectations in the Era of Digital Disruption

The world, technology, and customer expectations (CX) are rapidly evolving in an era when even non-digital natives, such as Gen X, Boomers, and The Greatest Generation, are increasingly comfortable with a myriad of “futuristic technologies” like video calls and telemedicine solutions, smart devices at home and work, mixed reality experiences, and voice user interface (UI) to name just a few.  

For companies and organizations to not just survive but thrive in this new reality of constant disruption, it’s important that customer and user behavior and expectations become a top-tier priority. Here are some important insights your organization needs to understand about how customer expectations are set in this new age: 

Insight #1 – Customer Expectations Are Set Outside Your Industry and Competitive Set  

It used to be that customer expectations were largely set by your specific industry or competitive set, for example, we’ve been able to purchase apparel online for many years, but until recently most automotive brands still required you to go to a physical dealership to purchase a vehicle, companies like Carvana are changing that expectation by allowing customers to both purchases and sell their cars online and on mobile without ever setting foot in a dealership 

The reality is that customers now expect to purchase just about everything online (and via mobile), meaning that their expectations around your company’s digital experience need to live up to the experience they are having with brands across various industries and product categories.  

Insight #2 – Customer Experiences with Your Digital Properties, Tools, and Services Will Either Enhance or Detract from Your Brand  

When we use the word “brand” in the business world, many people think about company logos, taglines, jingles, tone-of-voice, and other elements that are part of a company’s marketing and advertising presence. But when customers think about the brand, they’re also thinking about every other touchpoint and interaction they have with your company, from the product itself and their experience with customer service and sales reps, to the design, utility, and usability of your digital experiences.   

Because of this broader perception of the brand, creating intuitive, useful, and enjoyable experiences that are focused on solving customer problems, delighting users, and removing friction will enhance your brand positioning and promise, while poorly designed experiences will detract from your company’s credibility and often undermine your brand message. For example, if a service company claims to be reliable, but their mobile app does not work, would you continue to trust that promise of reliability in their service?  

Bottom line: if you are going to spend money, time, and effort on developing and marketing your brand, you should spend just as much on creating usable, reliable digital experiences that actually solve customer needs.  

Insight #3 – Customers Don’t Care About Your Internal Silos and Operational Issues 

Your customers hold little regard for the internal structure of your business, and rightly so. Whenever a customer interacts with a company, they think of it as a single, unified organization, not a collection of disparate departments and data sources. 

To deliver the seamless experience that customers expect, you need to break down internal silos, connect data sources, create inclusive, omni-functional teams and processes, and build experiences that put the customer at the center.  

Here’s What I Want You to Take Away From This… 

Ultimately, as we move towards a world in which the digital and physical are combined, and when customers across all demographics become more comfortable with technology at large, companies will need to take the next step. They will need to understand that creating simple, seamless, and easy experiences will be the difference between the organizations that continue to grow and those that stagnate and fail. For more information about creating a great user experience (UX), then download our guide, The Future of User Experience is Here: Why and How 5 Emerging UX Trends Are Making Dreams a Reality today, or contact our experts about our CX AMP jumpstart. 

About the Author

Nicola is a customer experience strategist focused on understanding customer wants and needs across channels and touch-points to create consistent, personalized, user-friendly experiences. She is responsible for leading experience design strategy and research to inform and guide UX and design decisions, and define product capabilities and prioritization.

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