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    The new CX landscape: welcome to the age of 'and'

    DPDK’s head of strategy Helga Torrezan discusses the changing customer experience landscape and the need for brands to adapt to increasing customer expectations and competition. 

    The rat-race to win the customer experience (CX) game isn’t an easy one. Add increasing competition and evolving customer expectations to the mix, and the challenge only gets tougher.

    CX can make or break a brand, so giving it a fraction of your attention (or not allocating enough budget for CX initiatives) isn’t an option. In today’s landscape, customers will leave your brand for a competitor’s without batting an eye if you don’t meet their expectations.

    We’ve entered a new CX era, one that requires pulling out all the stops. A consistent tone of voice or a single well-thought-out campaign won’t cut it. I’m not saying these things aren’t important, because they are. But they’re only part of the larger puzzle.

    Brands will have to go above and beyond and craft a holistic CX that is stellar on all fronts. This requires a shift in thinking from ‘A or B’ to ‘A and B’.

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    The curse of zero-sum thinking

    Zero-sum thinking is a cognitive bias that perceives situations as having a zero-sum outcome, where one side’s gain requires the other side’s loss. This bias can manifest itself in many ways. A great example is a child feeling jealous of their new-born sibling. This is typically because the child believes that their parents’ love toward the new-born comes at the expense of their parents’ love for them.

    Zero-sum thinking has also taken hold in the digital industry. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard statements like 'we can’t scale creative outputs without risking inconsistencies and sacrificing quality', or 'let’s first focus on making the experience seamless, we can make it engaging later'.

    Or the classic: 'We can’t prioritize technology investments and still expect to craft a more creative CX'.

    The zero-sum bias is a fallacy. Parents don’t love their first-born any less after the birth of their second child. Investing in the latest tech doesn’t necessarily mean your CX has to be less creative. Breaking the bias is the first step to survival in the age of ‘and’.

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    The best of both worlds

    Today's customers are more demanding and impatient than ever. They won’t tolerate inconsistent branding, websites that take longer than three seconds to load, or bad customer service. Even if you get all those things right, a single unsatisfactory experience with your brand can be enough for them to take their business elsewhere - fair enough, considering they have a sea of competing brands fighting for their attention.

    In the age of ‘and’, a successful CX isn’t created with one single component, but multiple components working together in unison. To make that possible, we need to put zero-sum thinking behind us.

    Think about the consistency v scalability debate. Most (if not all) brands wrestle with maintaining consistency while scaling. Digital ecosystems are becoming more and more complex and it’s getting harder to manage them. But that doesn’t mean there needs to be a trade-off between the two. In fact, compromising one for the other will cost you, because both are necessary for success.

    Speaking of creative outputs, I often see brands forgoing creativity for the sake of technological advancement or vice versa. Creativity and tech are two different disciplines and are often seen as mutually exclusive. This is far from the truth.

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    Creativity is essential to differentiation, and technology is needed to bring creative ideas to life. Creativity and technology are key to creating innovative experiences that keep customers coming back for more.

    Being successful in the age of ‘and’

    One example of how we’ve adapted to the demands of the age of ‘and’ at DPDK is our recent work with HKliving. The globally-renowned interior brand wanted to take their digital experience to new heights and asked us to build a future-proof website with an integrated e-commerce store.

    E-commerce platforms are typically built with the ‘form follows function’ design principle. The primary focus tends to be on functionality and, as a result, design is often pushed to the back seat. HKliving’s website had to be functional, but it also had to reflect the brand’s craftsmanship - which is why the website is built with a focus on form as well as function.

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    The website boasts cutting-edge design with features like horizontal scrolling and digital catalogs that set the site apart. It’s easy to navigate, with product collections organized in a logical structure so that visitors can enjoy a seamless and engaging shopping experience.

    <iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/752521858?h=66fda6113c" width="640" height="342" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    <p><a href="https://vimeo.com/752521858">HKliving website horizontal scrolling</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/dpdk">DPDK</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

    So, what does it take to be successful in the age of ‘and’? It’s all about combining CX pillars to find a transformative sweet spot. It’s time to brush off zero-sum thinking and instead focus on creating a CX that is exceptional through and through.

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