“The fate of individual companies has never been more uncertain, and the window of opportunity is closing for many companies unprepared or unable to adapt to new market realities,” according to Forrester’s report Predictions 2018: A year of reckoning.

While the customer experience has become central to business strategy, in 2017 the quality of customer experience in most industries and companies either plateaued or declined. With customer expectations continuing to outpace the ability of organizations to evolve experiences, Forrester expects 30% of businesses to see additional declines in customer experience performance in 2018.

“In the year ahead, I’d like to suggest that marketers begin with a period of self-examination that leads to the humble understanding that customers don’t want your product—they want the solution or benefit it provides. Once you accept the idea that your product is probably a source of annoyance the consumer puts up with to gain the benefit they seek, you can begin to make a difference in their lives. Don’t fall in love with your product; fall in love with solving problems for people.” – – Russ Klein, CEO of the American Marketing Association

According to research conducted by Walker, a leading customer experience consulting firm, B2B customers have three evolving expectations:

  • Personalization. Customers are looking for vendors that understand their individual needs and are willing to customize the experience to meet them.
  • Ease. Simplicity is key.
  • Speed. Customers want real-time responses and vendors who proactively anticipate needs.

McKinsey & Company advises leaders looking to improve the customer experience to “optimize customer journeys, not just touchpoints.”

Best-in-class companies, according to McKinsey & Company, have motivated and empowered its employees when interacting with customers to embody the brand promise and “do the right thing.” This takes strong leadership that interacts with employees on every level of the organization.

What are you doing to enhance your customers’ experience?