Inkjet & Digital Printing

Why the customer first approach will be vital in the year ahead

Thursday 11. March 2021 - Brands are putting more emphasis on customer experience (CX) to gain a competitive edge. Success in this realm comes from a greater understanding of what todays customer is looking for and engaging with. Brands are thinking again of customers as people, not datasets.

By Erwin Busselot, Business Innovation & Solutions Director, Commercial and Industrial Printing Group, Ricoh Europe
As we begin to make sense of the transformational events of 2020, the importance of a customer-first ethos is emerging as a defining approach for brands.
The central importance of CX was among the highlights of Adobe’s 2021 iteration of its annual Digital Trends Report shaped by responses from more than 13,000 worldwide leaders in business. The report also recorded a strong focus on the customer as a human being, employees as integral assets and the digital customer experience as the driver of growth and strategy.
For me, the report featured three interesting highlights that have relevance to Print Service Providers, who can support their clients build or enhance a successful, integrated approach to CX. This is a real opportunity as CX becomes the unifying thread for the companies that outpace their sectors:
More online opportunity
The pandemic has driven greater online activity with 92% of senior executives agreeing that lockdown increased the priority of digital transformation. In one year, digital adoption increased five to ten times faster than previously projected. This led to a burst of new customers with half of companies experiencing new buying behaviours from online consumers. However, these customers are not as loyal. The report predicted the increased use of digital will remain and will grow with faster mobile engagement. This is something The World Economic Forum agrees with – it predicts 5G will generate over E11.6 trillion in sales by 2035. This potential, combined with effective digital transformation, offers significant opportunity for those brands that deliver the right CX.
Friction free
Understanding how people feel is an essential but often overlooked part of CX. To keep a high retention rate requires the online experience to be friction free. Analysing and anticipating reactions at decision points and during moments of friction makes the process more satisfactory for both parties. This is where CX Leaders stand out. The report says they are more likely than Mainstream CX to identify friction points (46% vs 20%) and have significant insights into new customer journeys (52% vs 22%).
Integrated CX
Three quarters of senior executives said the role of Marketing in setting strategy has expanded since the pandemic. Its more pivotal role is made possible when it has command of the data to understand the digital first customer. This is helping Marketing and CX move into the boardroom and they will keep their place there with deep customer insights and a specific point of view on how to act on them. Companies with strong CX are more likely to achieve long term growth than their competitors. They are also most likely to effectively adapt and outpace their competitors – particularly if they remain agile.
Together these factors combine to deliver a smooth, accessible, and engaging customer experience.
Understanding these, and supporting brands as they develop communications incorporating them, presents an opportunity for Print Service Providers.
Curated and professionally managed data combined with personalised and targeted information delivers engaging, meaningful, and purposeful campaigns. Which is why graphic arts professionals are perfectly placed to support brands in their adoption of a successful customer first approach.
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