In March of 2019, UserTesting.com launched their sixth annual report on customer-centric industry trends. We reviewed the report and offer the following insights.
Digitizing Is Outdated… But Not Really
We were surprised at the weight of attention survey respondents gave to words like “digitizing,” “going digital,” and “digital transformation.” The intro to the report felt like a flashback to 2005 when companies were obsessed with “paperless” but couldn’t think much beyond putting everything on-screen.
What was more interesting was that of the respondents polled, more than 70% reported their digital transformation had failed, and almost a quarter didn’t even know what that phrase meant.
“What the industry and consumers are excited about for the future often differs from what they need in the present. So while it may seem that consumers can’t wait to drive their cars with the sound of their voice, the reality is that they’re still driving themselves around and responsible for following traffic laws. It’s tempting to get wrapped up in emerging technologies, but spend too much time and resources on them and you risk leaving customers feeling abandoned.”
UserTesting.com 2019 CX Industry Report
Digital Transformation Is Not the Answer
At least not to winning customers. Customers don’t care if your medical records are now digital — if it still costs them time and effort and frustration with the technology, it is an expense.
Customers care about the experience. How easy was it? How confident were they in the results? How tailored were the steps to their personal journey?
But aren’t customers clamoring for digital? Of course. We always want the best and brightest. But even Malcolm Gladwell reminds us that customers can’t tell us exactly what they want. As technologists, user experience specialists, usability researchers, and digital transformationists (sorry!), it’s our job to observe the trends and build for now-ish and for tomorrow.
How to Succeed in a Customer-Driven World
Companies in the report that claimed the most success also claimed to empower every team and every individual to “own” the customer experience. This starts with freeing anyone and everyone to perform customer research – to find out what’s driving every buyer’s decisions and desires.
The report posits that by allowing everyone in an organization to perform customer research, it builds a general sense of empathy for the customer and frees expert customer researchers to focus on higher level strategy.
“…digital is not just a thing that you can buy and plug into the organization. It is multi-faceted and diffuse and doesn’t just involve technology. Digital transformation is an ongoing process of changing the way you do business. It requires foundational investments in skills, projects, infrastructure, and, often, in cleaning up IT systems.”
Thomas H. Davenport and George Westerman, Harvard Business Review
The Future Is Personal
The report closes with an interesting question for anyone in the digital creation space:
“As humans, one of the most meaningful ways we measure our lives is through our experiences. While we can reach the ends of our lives and tally up the years lived, awards won, or any other metric, it’s more often how a life was lived that captures our hearts.
“Technology will continue to advance in ways we probably haven’t thought of yet. It can be overwhelming to think of it that way—how can we prepare or plan for experiences we can’t yet imagine?”
What we really wanted was a bit more meat and working strategies from the successful respondents, but maybe that’s coming in a future article from UserTesting.com.