We’ve done a meta analysis of the various 2022 industry predictions so you don’t have to.
As you might expect, we’ve had to review tons of analyst papers, blogs and research data. Check out the links to go into more detail for yourself. Here, we’ve distilled and aggregated the hundreds of predictions into 4 core themes for easy reference.
Employee experience will be the new battleground for data-driven insights
Lots of the crystal-ball gazing for 2022 notes how far employee working practices continue to evolve. Organizations have been reeling from the seismic changes caused by the pandemic, and will continue to do so. This places significant added emphasis on using employee feedback to inform both people strategy in general and individual worker wellbeing.
- It’s been a record year for employee turnover which looks set to continue into 2022, according to Visier. And it’s employees who are women, have between 5–15 years’ tenure or are aged 40–45 leading the charge.
- PwC says 65% of people were looking for a new job as at August 2021. Approximately 25% of workers quit their job during the year, found a Visier study.
- According to McKinsey, it’s because employees are exhausted and overwhelmed, questioning what work means and considering their options. Their research found that workers are hungry for trust, social cohesion and purpose. Organizations that offer excellent, tailored, authentic employee experiences (EXs) in 2022 can meet these needs while igniting new energy and elevating organization-wide performance.
- Deloitte found the pandemic accelerated the shift from physical to digital channels as organizations sought to engage with employees in new ways e.g. remote work and distance learning. In 2022, many brands will endeavor to create hybrid experiences that integrate the best of physical and digital worlds. Three-quarters of global execs surveyed by the firm plan to increase investment in hybrid experiences over the year ahead.
- Forrester’s take is that 10% of businesses will persist with a fully remote work model, 30% will revert to their previous in-office approach and the remaining 60% will go hybrid. Of these 60%, one-third will fail at their first attempt because the transition is culturally and organizationally far from straightforward.
- Gartner sees the switch to hybrid and agile working making employees more autonomous. It predicts by 2024 that 30% of corporate teams will operate without a traditional manager role.
“People who report having a positive employee experience have 16 times the engagement level of employees with a negative experience, and that they are eight times more likely to want to stay at a company.” – McKinsey & Co
Getting through the pandemic with measures to keep people working and connected with one another.
A ground-up rethinking of the employee experience to keep everyone engaged as hybrid work models finally bed-down.
Organizations overlook employee experience at their peril. EX is the perfect opportunity for reshaping the relationship between employees and employers. Look to tune up your feedback engine for more than just customers. Cut employee churn and increase productivity by using real-time feedback to understand employees’ reactions to change and shape a great employee experience.
Purpose over profit
Whether it’s sustainability or social activism, consumers are increasingly turned on by what brands stand for. In fact, in 2022, purpose-related criteria will be as important as price and quality, especially for younger consumers. We’ve seen this trend threaten to break through in recent years, but what’s new now is brands switching from talking the talk, to walking the walk. Moving forward, awareness and intent will mean little compared to action on things like net zero commitments and social justice.
- Deloitte’s outlook on 2022 is brands stepping up the reevaluation of why they exist and how they can make an impact beyond profit. The firm found price and quality still ranking in the top 3 purchase considerations for most consumers, with purpose-related criteria hot on their heels. Over half (57%) of US consumers say they are more loyal to brands that commit to addressing social inequities.
- Accenture argues that companies are being scrutinized on their sustainability credentials like never before. Its research shows 66% of consumers plan to make more sustainable or ethical purchases in the next 6 months, and that employees, investors and other stakeholders are equally if not more resolute. To be true ‘sustainable organizations’ the focus needs to go beyond the cosmetic to real change that’s embedded throughout an organization’s DNA.
- According to IDC, environmental social and corporate governance (ESG) will become a dominant trend in 2022, driven in large part by shareholder power. The analyst house believes ESG already influences investments around the world. Moreover, organizations with “favorable” ESG outperform others and gain support from customers, governments and society at large – and will find it easier to attract and retain skilled employees.
- PwC concurs with the idea that company initiatives around purpose and culture are just as important to employee strategy as customer strategy. Stakeholder capitalism is mainstreaming as we enter 2022, with 57% of companies advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives, while 42% plan to introduce ESG reporting.
- Much of 2022 looks set to continue focusing on the growing concerns around climate change. McKinsey’s long-term outlook on technology trends is optimistic about the future of clean technologies and next-generation materials that have lighter environmental impact.
“94% percent of Gen Zs expect companies to take a stand on important societal issues, and 90% say they are more willing to purchase products they deem beneficial to society.” – Deloitte
Taking opportunities to create more efficient supply chains and lower energy consumption. Being cognizant of social and environmental impact.
Defining a purpose beyond profit that’s backed up with action. Delivering on plans that affect individuals as well as society as a whole.
We’ve gone beyond talking a good talk on matters such as carbon emissions. Employees, consumers and investors care about what your brand stands for, and want to see proactivity and purpose rather than just platitudes. It’s no good second-guessing your stakeholders, especially on new and fast-moving issues, which is why getting reliable, up-to-the-minute insights is so important.
CX will become more human, empathetic and anticipatory
We’ve become used to artificial intelligence as a ‘today’ rather than ‘tomorrow’ technology. But this is not the only catalyst for innovation in customer experience. The delta between creative design, human interaction and intelligent data analytics at extreme scale will be the crucible for CX in 2022. This is personalization taken to new, highly contextual lengths, but also hyper aware of customer sensitivities.
- IDC sees the opportunity in 2022 for organizations that successfully flip CX “from responsive to anticipatory” and harness technology to create experiences that are empathetic, personal, compelling and relevant.
- Deloitte forecasts more organizations designing “human-first data experiences.” However, they have a delicate balance to strike when using smart technologies like geotracking and device listening to deliver hyperpersonalized experiences. Problems arise when consumers view them as intrusive and quickly lose trust in the brand. According to Deloitte’s research, 68% of consumers find alerts about sale items helpful, while 11% consider them creepy. However, just 26% say ads based on device listening are helpful, while 53% find them creepy.
- For Forrester, it’s the quest for differentiation that’s compelling tech execs to “leap from digital sameness to human-centered technology transformations” in 2022. The race is on to be more creative in order to meet higher digital expectations. Analysts say that, in 2022, the driver for innovation will be emerging technology that allows firms to unlock the creativity of their employees.
- Gartner detects a rich vein of customer cynicism that threatens to undermine attempts to collect and utilize their personal usage data. Their shocking prediction is that, by 2024, 40% of consumers will “trick behavior tracking metrics to intentionally devalue the personal data collected about them”. The motivation, says Gartner, is consumers who no longer wish to be treated as “the product” and have their data monetized. One can’t help wondering if this in turn may diminish the hyperpersonalized experiences that many consumers demand.
- The McKinsey view is that the future of CX will be dominated by predictive customer insights. The cornerstone for what McKinsey describes as “predictive CX platforms” is the “customer-level data lake”. Using algorithms and data science, this repository gives rise to “predictive customer scores” and an “action and insight engine”. The whole edifice will allow organizations to better manage and measure their CX performance.
- Deloitte advocates the use of AI in ensuring that the right offer reaches consumers at any touchpoint along their journey. However, it sees shortcomings in AI creating a dynamic customer experience. Its example is “a self-service chatbot that can’t connect customers to live representatives” and so conveys that “the company prioritizes cost savings over helpfulness”. The answer is finding an appropriate balance between keeping skilled human agents and integrating AI into critical parts of the customer experience.
“Companies with the best price, coolest product or most memorable marketing do not have an advantage compared with companies that provide “empathy at scale” in safe, secure and seamless experiences.” – IDC
Optimizing customer experience across new digital touchpoints as the pandemic throws normal patterns of customer interaction into disarray.
Putting in place a long-term strategy for the evolution of CX that uses data and automation to deliver deeply relevant, seamless and altogether welcomed experiences.
The universally shared view of expert trend forecasters is that CX is becoming more data-driven. AI and automation has a part to play, but one that needs to play alongside the human elements of customer interaction where it makes most sense. Insightful and real-time customer data is critical to enriching the personalization and relevance of customer experiences to such an extent that more customer behaviors can be predicted and anticipated.
New Customer KPIs to redefine success
More organizations are harnessing customer KPIs like CSAT and NPS, and getting smarter about using them to evaluate their success. In 2022, we’ll see these metrics become even more important. We’re also seeing organizations recognize that the best metrics are those you can act upon, not just report on. Metrics are evolving to iron out previous inconsistencies and be more real-time. We’re even beginning to see metrics used for new objectives: not just for attracting and retaining customers, but also for terminating them.
- Salesforce’s 7th State of Marketing report saw respondents rate customer satisfaction metrics as their most valuable KPIs, ahead of ‘revenue’ in second place. Three-quarters (75%) of marketers now undertake CSAT analysis, up 22% on the previous year. A full 78% of marketing organisations have changed or reprioritised metrics due to the pandemic, while only 66% say they can measure performance in real-time.
- Gartner have made proactive customer breakups a leading storyline in their 2022 tech predictions. The analyst house forecasts 75% of companies will, by 2025, drop “poor-fit customers as the cost of retaining them eclipses good-fit customer acquisition costs”. This has huge implications for customer metrics, necessitating feedback and insight systems sensitive and accurate enough to know precisely which customers to jettison.
- McKinsey’s Future of CX study polled CX leaders about the deficiencies in current survey-based customer feedback systems, with only 13% happy that theirs can generate real-time insights, and just 4% believing their CX measurement system lets them calculate the ROI of CX decisions.
- Just in time for 2022, Bain & Co have unveiled a new accounting-based counterpart to Net Promoter Score® (NPS), the metric they originated almost 20 years ago. “Net Promoter 3.0” introduces the concept of ‘earned growth’ to give firms “a clear, data-driven connection among customer success, repeat and expanded purchases, word-of-mouth recommendations, a positive company culture, and business results.”
“Metrics are only valuable if action can be taken using them, and marketers have come a long way in their ability to both automate measurement and evaluate results live – enabling them to take action while a campaign is in flight.” – Salesforce
Using customer metrics and KPIs to accurately record direction of travel in CX evolution and reveal insights that shape tactical and strategic decisions.
Ratcheting up specificity, accountability and real-time accuracy in customer metrics to make it an indispensable aspect of CX execution.
The imperative for having CX metrics in place is being overtaken by the imperative to have optimized CX metrics that drive increased business value. A new breed of CX metrics is emerging that enables brands to emphasize action over mere reporting. Those who fail to keep up risk knowing less about their customers than they should, and may find themselves on the wrong side of an ever-widening competitive divide.
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