Double down on experience. Looking through the lens of 40 years spent in the IT services industry, that’s my plan for the coming year.
I’ve been curious to see how current market conditions will impact the rate of adoption of employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) across the Americas. We’ve been playing catch-up with Europe, and we’re facing the headwinds of a slowing global economy.
As expected, when capital gets tight and markets grow conservative, organizations circle the wagons, preserve cash and shorten the leash on “new” initiatives in process. Current market sentiment includes the usual messaging:
- “Must conserve cash, capital is expensive”
- “Tailwinds are now headwinds”
- “Survival of the quickest”
- “Belt tightening and priority reassessment”
- “Recovery will be long and uncertain”
Some of the organizations that were beginning to embrace EX and CX will pause and wait another year to act. Others will continue with some of the experience-driven organizational changes they had in motion but with greater caution. As the economy slows, more still will reduce their recruiting and marketing budgets, trim the sales organization, and outsource or out-task other key operational functions. These approaches will impact their ability to provide core services and will absolutely take the focus off the experience of the customer.
In a 2020 Forbes interview with Billee Howard, John Chambers, former CEO of Cisco, current CEO of JC2 Ventures and author of Connecting the Dots said, “customer-driven listening will always be the best path to uncovering what you should and should not do, and I think brands need to get closer to their customers now, more than ever, to hear what they’re saying. The best roads to reinvention will be found in listening and serving customers.” That was true in 2020, it’s true today and it will be true well into the future.
At Threadfin—and I recommend that other organizations consider this same approach—we’re remaining focused on our customer’s experience. This is the most important thing we can do right now. The organizations that will emerge strongest from the current market uncertainty will be those embracing experience-driven digital transformation. We’ll be agile enough to move quickly and strategic enough to keep our clients secure and functioning. We’re confident in our ability to execute our experience strategy according to plan.
Protecting existing customers and adding new customers to an organization’s portfolio is critical to all organizations, but it’s especially critical during times of market uncertainty. Organizations need to increase their focus on the bottom line, but they must also focus on EX and CX if they wish to emerge as leaders.
The economic pendulum is always swinging. Great organizations will use this pendulum cycle getting closer to their customers.