Walker’s most recent Customers 2020 research was conducted in four phases, occurring mostly sequentially. Each phase had specific objectives based on the learning from the prior phase.
Phase 1: Input from our research advisors.
As mentioned previously, we involved six senior-level customer experience (CX) leaders to guide this research. We started with a group discussion to explore:
- What is the greatest challenge companies will face in meeting future customer expectations?
- Who will be your customer in 2020, and what will they expect?
- What must companies do to be prepared?
- What are the implications for CX professionals?
Phase 2: In-depth interviews with CX leaders.
We conducted 22 interviews with business leaders from large global organizations as well as subject matter experts in the customer experience space. The discussions focused on:
- How customer expectations are changing.
- What companies must know about customers to meet their future expectations.
- The strategies companies are putting in place today to meet future expectations. We drilled into themes such as digital transformation, innovation, sales and company culture.
- The future customer experience team: what does it look like and how will it demonstrate the return on the customer experience?
- The ways companies will interact and engage with customers in the future.
Phase 3: Quantitative survey with CX professionals.
Using a web survey, we gathered responses from more than 450 customer experience professionals. Respondents were from a variety of industries, including professional services, financial services, technology, manufacturing and health care. The largest group (38%) work for companies who achieved greater than $1 billion in revenue last year. Most serve B-to-B customers (45%), but a good proportion serves both B-to-B and B-to-C (38%). The quantitative input focused on answering:
- What is the customer dynamic like today?
- How will customer expectations change in the future?
- What are companies doing today to meet the changing customer needs?
- How have key customer expectations changed over the years and how are they likely to change in the coming years?
- How important is the customer experience to the business strategy in 2020?
- Is the method that customers use to engage with an organization changing? If so, in what ways?
- How do companies organize for customer centricity?
- What sources of customer input are most important?
Phase 4: Comparison to the Walker benchmark database.
We wrapped up by looking at historical trends in the Walker benchmark database for the three key themes that emerged from this research. Spoiler alert: the most important future customer expectations are personalization, speed and ease. We used the Walker benchmark database to see how these expectations have been changing over the past four years.
All in all, a pretty comprehensive study.
Have we piqued your interest? Want to see what we learned? Stay tuned, as the next series of blogs will share an unfiltered look at the data we gathered.