2024 is poised to be a pivotal year in the world of customer experience (CX). Businesses are moving beyond the mere appearance of connected customer journeys to create intentionally coordinated experiences across various channels. This shift is aimed at providing more cohesive and satisfying customer experiences.
Let’s take a look at this transformation: what it means, why it’s important, and changes you can implement now to set your organization up for CX success.
Let’s get phygital
One of the most significant aspects of this evolution is the integration of in-store and online experiences. Customers can now expect a fluid transition between these traditionally distinct spaces. It’s not digital versus physical — it’s one, unified, phygital experience. For instance, the once-clear line between "order online, pick up in-store" and "connect with a local store expert online" is becoming increasingly blurred. This seamless integration is not just a convenience but a necessity, with 62% of customers expecting effortless transitions between digital and physical interactions.
Real-world example: Apple’s “Shop with a Specialist” experience
Apple, a leader in CX, has introduced the “Shop with a Specialist” video experience in their Apple Shop. This initiative exemplifies the new wave of customer interaction, where customers can remotely connect with retail team members, explore products, and receive assistance on complex topics. Such innovations are setting the standard for other businesses to follow. Customers may choose to finish their shopping experience in-store, or they may prefer to stay online. But in this phygital world, it doesn’t matter. It should all be seen as one experience, not distinct channels.
The financial incentive: a 700% ROI
Investing in a customer-first approach is not just beneficial for the customer; it's also financially rewarding for businesses. According to Forrester, a customer-first operation can yield up to a 700% return on investment over 12 years. This statistic underscores the long-term value of focusing on customer experience.
Flexibility across customer journeys
The customer journey is no longer a linear path. Customers might start their journey online and finish in-store or vice versa. This flexibility is crucial as it caters to individual preferences and behaviors. Businesses are recognizing this diversity, with 35% planning to invest more in service across channels, as reported by Zendesk.
Beyond channels, even the phases of the customer journey are less defined. The distinction between pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase phases is becoming increasingly blurred. This makes it even more essential to erase channel lines and provide consistency and flexibility.
The ultimate goal: supporting the customer
The focus is shifting from driving customers to a particular location (be it in-store or online) to supporting them wherever they are on their journey. This approach emphasizes the importance of a cohesive brand experience at every stage and in every channel.
By integrating experiences across various channels, businesses can build stronger connections with their customers, deepen brand loyalty, and increase overall satisfaction. The year 2024 marks a significant step towards this holistic and consistent vision of customer journeys.
What will this shift require? Embracing technological advances
This shift requires substantial technological investment and won't happen overnight. However, 2024 will see significant strides towards a more holistic and customer-empowered future, signifying a major leap in the world of customer experience.
How to position yourself for CX success in 2024
The pursuit of truly connected customer journeys in 2024 is more than a trend; it's a necessary evolution in the way businesses interact with their customers. By focusing on seamless integration, flexibility, and supporting the customer wherever they are, businesses can create more meaningful and satisfying experiences that not only meet but exceed customer expectations.
Proactively position yourself for success — download our new report to explore the trends that are shaping the present and future of CX.