In 1966 the Jimi Hendrix experience exploded onto the rock music scene. Only months after performing their first concert together, the band had released three top 10 singles on the UK charts and attracted the attention of industry giants like John Lennon, Mick Jagger and Pete Townshend. By 1969 Jimi himself was the highest-paid rock musician in the world.
Why? Simple: the band stood out.
From their music and their dress to their on-stage capers—Hendrix once set his guitar on fire at the end of a set—the band was distinctive, even by the standards of the 60s.
Today’s major brands in the UK would do well to take note.
After years of sustained investment in creating fast, intuitive customer experiences, today’s brand landscape has become a sea of sameness. Forrester reports that more than four out of five brands see languishing growth from their investments in Customer Experience, while 85% of elite brands have stagnant scores.
An approach to Customer Experience that’s clear, fast, and simple is now both easy to copy and widely expected. Creating an experience for the customer that ticks these boxes is important, but it’s not differentiated enough to gain market share.
Accenture analysis of public financial data and interviews with C-suite leaders reveals the future evolution of Customer Experience. The research, which is available here, identifies three major challenges confronting today’s landscape.
The three challenges facing customer experience
The first is the sea of sameness mentioned above.
The second is rising customer demands. Not that long ago, competition between brands was limited to brands in the same space. For example, when choosing a bank, customers compared the experiences offered only by banks. But consumer expectations have become much more liquid, thanks in part to the digital revolution. Comparing a bank with a retailer makes sense when you access both of them through the same screen. Customer experiences are now compared across all categories. Every brand is in competition with every other brand.
The third challenge is the pressure brands face to stand for something more than themselves, sometimes called a “flight to purpose.” Momentum behind this built up for years and was thrown into overdrive by the pandemic. Today, eight in 10 consumers say purpose is at least as important to them as Customer Experience. Nearly half of Gen Y and Gen Z say they prefer brands that make them feel part of something bigger.
The shift from customer experience to the business of experience
In response to these challenges, market-leading brands have embraced a new way of thinking about what they offer. Instead of creating customer experiences, these brands reimagine their entire businesses through the lens of experience. It’s a more holistic approach that allows organisations to reignite growth through customer obsession.
Accenture calls this the “business of experience” and it’s rapidly becoming a new category of leadership. Our analysis shows that that Business of Experience leaders outperform Customer-Experience-oriented companies in yearly profit growth by sixfold.
It might seem easy to confuse Customer Experience thinking and business of experience thinking, but the two are quite distinct. Here’s a breakdown of what they look like across a business.