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The Objectives, Hypotheses and Design

The year 2020 is right around the corner. Are companies prepared to meet future customer expectations? What progress have they made? What work is still needed? These are some of the questions that prompted the progress check on Customers 2020, Walker’s 2013 groundbreaking report that predicted future customer needs and discussed what companies and customer experience professionals must do to be prepared.

Our objectives for the research were simple.

  1. Assess the progress companies have made on the themes from Walker’s initial Customers 2020 research.
  2. Identify areas where progress is still necessary.
  3. Get insight on any other future themes customer experience professionals need to consider.

The research started with an advisory group comprised of customer experience leaders from large, global firms. The role of the advisors was to act as a sounding board. They shared their input and advice on the research design, insights and key themes.

Our initial discussions and research led to several hypotheses.

  • The customer relationship is increasing in complexity.
  • Customers have more work to do, which is causing them to be less interested.
  • Customers are less expert today, which is forcing the need to simplify and provide more help and support.
  • The sales organization must change – they need to be more consultative and able to work across the organization. They need to mobilize internal resources.
  • Digital transformation will help meet future customer expectations.
  • Agility is a challenge for large-scale companies. Companies are trying to embrace agility, but it’s in conflict with the existing continuous improvement mentality.

To meet our objectives and prove/refute our hypotheses, we developed the following research plan.

Audience: Chief customer officers and customer experience professionals. We originally set out to also gather insights from customers who are responsible or influence purchase decisions, but the scope did not permit this activity. To supplement the customer point of view, we looked at trends for the key themes in Walker’s benchmark database. This database houses customer feedback gathered by Walker for Walker clients.

Methodology: Qualitative interviews with CX leaders, quantitative feedback from customer experience professionals, and a review of Walker’s benchmark database for trends in customer perceptions.

With a plan in place, we focused on execution.

Stay tuned for more Customers 2020 unfiltered!

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