What Trends are Driving the Customer Experience in 2020?

Did you know that only 10% of consumers agree that most brands meet expectations for a good experience? Conversely, about 82% of marketers believe their brands are meeting customer expectations.

That being said, you’ve probably noticed the unique challenges your company faces in today’s experience economy. But you may not be entirely sure which existing business strategies need to change in order to address the demands of the evolving customer experience.

SmarterCX mentions 3 trends to pay attention to:

1. Customers are Firmly in the Driver’s Seat

According to SuperOffice, “Customers no longer base their loyalty on price or product. Instead, they stay loyal with companies due to the experience they receive.”

If you don’t treat customers the way they want to be treated, they’re going to walk…because they can. They don’t have to put up with your lackluster service—there are plenty of businesses out there that will treat them right.

This sentiment is echoed in statistics found on Customer Thermometer. One in particular states that 89% of consumers have taken their business to a competitor following a poor customer experience.

“Customers want to build relationships and emotional connections and will respond to brands that show interest in them and their feelings and then follow that up with a consistent, technology-driven experience.”

~ Forbes

Recognizing this mindset, Walmart’s CEO John Furner recently stated that the company shifted it’s highest paying jobs from the back office to the sales floor, focusing on retaining team leaders who are involved in the community and know their customers well.

Smart companies will follow suit, investing in systems and processes that meet the changing needs of customer and ensure a positive experience. In fact, SuperOffice indicates that 62% of companies plan to do just that.

2. The Customer Journey is Non Linear & Holistic

In today’s digital age, linear conversion paths and sales funnels are long gone. That’s because customers are no longer on a predetermined course. Brands that stick to this line of thinking run the risk of side lining their customers and potentially losing them by trying to control their path.

“We’ve been hearing about the concept that today, journeys are unpredictable, but now they’re happening across so many different channels in so many different ways that nobody can really predict.”

~ Rob Tarkoff, CX Cloud Group / Oracle

Tarkoff goes on to say that the experience economy is now about changing the way you interact with customers.

“Knowing that your customer is going to have a problem before they know it and getting in and resolving it — that’s actually good service in an experience economy paradigm, but it’s not a traditional break/fix model. And that has fundamentally changed the way companies think about their service operation.”

~ Rob Tarkoff, CX Cloud Group / Oracle

The modern customer journey is in a state of perpetual motion and it’s course is firmly in the customers’ hands. Your brand must recognize that every customer has their own set of needs, desires, preferences and behaviors. Engaging each individual on their terms will help you build meaningful relationships and stay relevant in the digital omnichannel world.

3. Data is at the Heart of a Great Experience

“High-quality data is one of the keys to a personalized offering,” says Digital Agency Network. It allows brands to “deep dive” into their customers’ unique characteristics and behavior.

According to Dimension Data’s report, customer analytics is estimated to be the most crucial factor in driving customer experience improvement for the next five years.

“Connecting the dots requires data about how customers interact with your brand. Based on the data, you can design the right product or service, send offers and messages that customers will find useful, and build positive interactions at every step of the customer journey.”

Rob Tarkoff, CX Cloud Group / Oracle

Not only is it important that you understand the types of data available to you, but you must also have an efficient set of tools and processes in place to manage, leverage and make use of that data. Analyzing customer data with the right metrics will help you narrow down who your customers are so you can deliver better experiences.


As Customer Thermometer points out, 54% of customers have higher expectations for customer service today compared to one year ago.

Products and services are no longer competitive differentiators for businesses. The focus is now firmly on the experience a brand is able to deliver to their customers across multiple channels.

The good news is, no matter what type of business you’re in, improving the experience for your customers can lead to increased retention, satisfaction and revenue.

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Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.