Marketing in 2021: why it’s important to be CX-ready 

David Blakers, managing director APAC at InMoment, examines why now more than ever is the time for customer experience to take centre stage.

An entirely unpredictable 2020 proved to be the catalyst for Australia’s digital leap forward, with COVID-19 forcing consumers and businesses alike to digitise. Yet, with this new era of interaction, comes a whole new way of thinking. Brands have quickly realised that a blanket policy to Customer Experience (CX) just won’t cut it in 2021.

The paradigms have flipped. Businesses no longer dictate to customers, customers now tell businesses, how, when, and where they want things done. With that being the case, how can marketers be successful without knowing what their customers want? Put simply, they can’t.

CX is no longer a buzzword

Digital experiences have increased choice and accessibility for customers, pushing brand loyalty to the brink of extinction. Loyalty is driven by customer experiences, making CX the vehicle for brand loyalty’s revival. With consumers now more in control of the relationship with the brand, they expect brands to deliver seamless, consistent and personalised experiences at every touchpoint. CX insights are the way to bring customer sentiment into the business, understand their expectations and ultimately deliver on them. This approach has a direct impact on the business’ bottom line.

To ensure these strategic efforts aren’t wasted, organisations must, at all stages, be listening to their audience. This can be achieved through Voice of Customer (VoC) programs. A well-built VoC program enables organisations to anticipate what new customers are seeking in a brand and therefore be ahead of the curve. Take Aussie automotive company, JAX Tyres & Auto, which operates more than 85 franchised stores in Australia and serve over 600,000 customers per year. The business recently undertook an ambitious customer-first growth strategy to make CX part of its DNA. Having real-time access to a combination of VoC, employee and franchisee insights helped the business identify opportunities to improve across the store network. As a result, the business has seen incredible growth—even in the face of a global recession—with sales in May 2020 hitting an all-time record (11 per cent higher than best), only to be surpassed in June (22 per cent higher). JAX Tyres & Auto has also been able to demonstrate a direct link between CX and higher profits, showing franchisees with higher NPS scores achieve an additional revenue per annum of $52,000+.

Build trust to bolster loyalty

CX programs are great for providing intel that can entice new customers and delight existing ones — including, understanding who your customers are, how they shop, what they buy, and how they prefer to engage. This is particularly important for the booming e-commerce space. Online retail was dramatically accelerated amid COVID-19, seeing over 5.2 million Aussies turn to online shopping. That’s a huge customer surge to get to grips with and the brands unprepared to engage and understand these new customers, failed to unlock bigger business opportunities that inform and drive strategy, sales, and marketing.

As technology advances, online retailers also need to embrace omnichannel strategies that improve user experiences (UX) and drive better relationships with audiences across all points of contact — from instore, to online, through to mobile and website. Offers, discounts and rewards should be informed so that they are relevant and timely. In the same way, direct customer contact should track across all channels, or risk losing authenticity. In 2021, brands that fail to integrate their network and bridge offline and online, will risk falling behind their competitors.

There are huge opportunities for businesses in 2021 if they can view every area of operation through a CX lens. Historically, it was a common retail strategy to make returns as hard as possible, in attempts to deter them. This only served to harm the reputation of the brand and missed a significant CX opportunity. As more retailers turn online, one big trend we’ve seen in 2020 is the rise of the returns policy. A recent report by Doddle, an international ecommerce fulfillment leader, that recently partnered with Australia Post to create the largest Pick-Up, Drop Off (PUDO) network in the country–Australia Post Collect and Return–found that an incredible 72% of Australian consumers check a retailer’s returns policy before committing to a purchase. This is a prime example of how it’s not just the front-end, business-driving matter of sales anymore. If businesses aren’t putting the customer first, even in areas deemed adverse to the business, then they are going to fail at building customer trust, increasing loyalty and building long-term relationships.

The time is now

If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that Australia hit the tipping point for digital, forcing businesses and marketers alike to think differently and operate with agility. It’s taught us a universal truth, that CX is everything. Consumer behaviours have changed for good. Customers are increasingly demanding more personalised and sophisticated experiences at every touchpoint they have with a brand, which our accelerated move to digital is perfectly positioned to cater for in 2021 and beyond. Marketers who successfully adopt CX in 2021 will not only drive revenues, but continue to build trust among consumers, bolster loyalty, and enhance long-term relationships with customers.

David Blakers is the managing director APAC at InMoment.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.