Digital customer experience (DCX) teams remain ambitious and in an improvement andgrowth mindset even during the uncertain economic times the pandemic caused, according to findings from the CMSWire State of Digital Customer Experience report. Some even report scaled-up activity, new working patterns and a fresh emphasis on DCX.

Of course, challenges remain. One big one CMSWire's research highlighted is the ability to truly understand customers through informed and actionable data. That challenge, alongside siloed systems, technology integration, limited insights into customer needs or customer journeys, budget, in-house expertise and skills and collaboration remain top DCX practitioner concerns.

But there's hope. A New Year is coming. Before we dive into what 2022 will bring digital customer experience teams, let's look back on what caught our readers' attention in the area of DCX in 2021:

10. Why Digital Transformation Fails

The human, economic and social impact of the pandemic will be felt for generations. For the digital world, it changed the game. Being isolated and socially distant drove most consumers to interact with businesses virtually. Within a very short span of time, it became necessary for all products and services to be digitally accessible.

B2B, healthcare, higher education, financial services and public sector organizations were expected to provide — seemingly overnight — the same seamless digital journeys their B2C counterparts had in place. Those digital experiences are here to stay.

9. Bad UX Cost Citibank $500M – What Went Wrong?

In August 2020, Citibank was administering the loans to cosmetics and personal care company, Revlon. As part of that function, Citibank wanted to pay the interest due to the lenders. Using a software called Flexcube, Citibank accidentally wired the full loan amount (interest and principal) to the creditors: $7.8 million in interest and $894 million in principal — for a total of roughly $900 million. How could that happen?

8. Forget Digital Transformation – Just Become Digital

The age of the customer has taken businesses down a path of nonstop change in the last 10 years, driven by technology innovations that continuously raise the standard for experience. Then, in less than 90 days, the pandemic pushed us five-plus years further into the future.

The world is constantly evolving, and leaders are being tasked with pivoting on a dime to better serve their customers. 

7. MACH Architecture: What It Is, Why You Should Know It

Customer experiences today span multiple channels and digital touchpoints and require brands to remain agile as they adapt to sudden market changes. Companies need to not only react to these market changes, but also need to continuously evolve to keep up with their customers’ expectations. 

To learn more about a new approach being dubbed “MACH” architecture, we’ve spoken to experts who are actively implementing it as part of their strategies.  

6. What Does the Qualtrics $14 Billion IPO Mean for the CX Market?

Qualtrics, which provides voice of the customer (VoC) and customer experience management software, announced its plans for an intended $14 billion IPO at the end of 2020. This may be a “non-event” in the eyes of some because SAP, which acquired Qualtrics in 2018, announced Qualtric’s IPO intentions five months earlier. Qualtrics, meanwhile, has been operating as an independent entity under SAP’s wing since the $8 billion acquisition.

However, the $14 billion IPO aspiration is another investment that validates the VoC and CX market as more than a third-party application that plugs surveys into large customer experience management software suites.

Learning Opportunities

5. Is Austin Emerging as the New American Technology Hub?

They may want to "Keep Austin Weird" in the southernmost U.S. capital city. However, “Keep Austin Growing” may be more appropriate for Austin these days.

Austin continues its surge as one of the top American tech hubs. Many say it now rivals Silicon Valley and may be crawling out of the COVID-19 pandemic in a business sense even better than its California counterpart.

4. Does Your Customer Experience Strategy Yield a Diamond or a Lump of Coal?

When I think about the “Perfect 10,” my mind goes back to watching Mary Lou Retton get a perfect score on the vault to narrowly win the gold medal during the 1984 Olympics. Well over 5,000 gymnasts have participated in the modern Olympic Games, yet there have been fewer than 50 perfect scores. That is fewer than 1%. 

I recently spoke with a friend of mine who works for a consumer goods company. He said he had just accomplished a month where every customer experience (CX) score he received was a 10. It was the first time he’s attained the mark in the year he has been with the company. 

3. Innovate, Pivot or Stay the Course: How Customer Experience Responds to Disruption

Brands already faced global market changes before the pandemic rolled around. With disruption to business now the norm, brands are reconsidering how they respond, particularly in the design and delivery of customer experiences (CX). Businesses typically respond in one of three ways: innovate to lead disruption, pivot to leverage new opportunities, and stay the course, streamlining and making modifications where needed.

2. Refine Your Customer Experience With These 3 Strategies

As the post-pandemic economy opens up, there's been a lot of chatter about the hybrid workplace. The debate between remote and in-person offices looks poised to continue far into the future. But another important topic doesn't come up as often in these discussions: the future of the customer experience. As traditional retailers stage a comeback, how will it influence the customer experience? Will classic, in-person CX interactions become a focal point? Will online CX remain at the front of the pack? Or will we see a hybrid of the two?

As is the case with the office, the last option is most likely. Going forward, we'll likely see a split between ecommerce activity and in-person sales. That said, here are a few CX strategies to consider while refining your plans for the transition ahead.

1. What Tesla Gets That Apple Understood Before It

Tesla is approaching a playground that previously only Apple played in. Take a look at Apple's products. The functionality is no better than competitors' products. Yet the company has managed to brand them as status symbols. Customers are perceived as sophisticated, technological and elitist. Purchasing an Apple product means belonging to this high-end group.