Consider for a moment all the services and products you started to consume digitally in 2020 after years of buying in-person. Groceries are just one of countless examples. After experiencing the convenience of ordering online and having groceries delivered to their doors, many consumers expect online to be their default for the foreseeable future. They’ll save in-person trips for when special needs arise.

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Now think about the practical impact of this profound shift in terms of brand differentiation. Companies offering these goods and services can no longer depend on the in-person experience to be a primary differentiator. If customers aren’t visiting stores as often (or staying as long) as before the pandemic, who cares about the caliber of your retail staff or the quality of your store environments?

Admittedly, this is an extreme view. For most industries, in-person experiences will not disappear entirely, and physical locations will remain an important foundation of the customer experience. But now that customers are aware of how much they can accomplish online, we anticipate that a much greater proportion of the overall experience will be delivered digitally across industries. As I’ve written before, this is the world of Digital by Default, and customer experience is changing before our eyes.

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“The Marketing Confidence Quotient (MCQ) survey provides CMOs and other marketing and CX leaders with a useful tool to establish the baseline for the customer experience they’re providing.”

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The implications are serious and immediate. Customers are effectively (often literally) toggling between your digital experience and those offered by your competitors. If competitors offer a better experience, that’s where customers will go – in many cases, no matter where in the world they are. Digital by Default is affecting the entire cycle of customer engagement – from the product discovery/research phase all the way through purchase, customer care and ongoing relationship management. It even affects points of handoff from digital to physical/in-person interactions such as product fulfillment, sales support, maintenance and customer care.

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For several years now, the Marketing Confidence Quotient (MCQ) survey has provided CMOs and other marketing and customer experience leaders with a useful tool to establish the baseline for the customer experience they’re providing – and to compare it with those of their peers. Given the scale and speed of change we’re witnessing, these insights are probably more important today than at any time in memory.

This year’s MCQ, developed by the analytics leaders at SAS in consultation with Accenture, can help you get your bearings amid this customer experience storm. It only takes 20 minutes or so to complete the survey and get your customized report. It’s truly time well spent. Interact with the survey here.

I'll be reviewing the study’s results and sharing some of the insights in a future blog. 

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See more on Customer insights.

Edwin Van der Ouderaa

Senior Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Customer Europe Lead​

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