2022: The Year of Customer Experience (CX)

As we start the year with a cautious, but more positive outlook on the pandemic than in January 2021, businesses can start to contemplate a world beyond mass restrictions, lockdowns, and purely virtual interactions. But what will this look like? Will we slot back into pre-pandemic ways? Or has the landscape change forever? 

One thing for certain is that customer expectations have changed. The trend for a more personalised and meaningful experience started pre-pandemic, but what Covid has done is supercharge the acceleration across mass industries. People will increasingly be inclined to seek out brands that make them feel special or provide added emotional connections.  

In a similar vein, businesses can no longer hide poor service behind Covid. Consumers have seen many businesses adapt and flourish through Covid driven alterations - proving it not only possible to deliver the same standard, but in many circumstances, improved services during Covid times.  

Employee experience will also be more influential than ever this year. It’s likely going to be tough with higher levels of staff absence due to isolation periods and your team could feel overwhelmed. As their experience directly translates to your customer experience, treating your team well is vital, including asking regularly how they are doing and then acting on the feedback. 

By putting CX at the top of your Boardroom agenda, you can give your business the best chance of succeeding, and growing, in what we hope will be the year of post-pandemic.  

22 things to consider in 2022… 

1. Numerous studies globally and our own research confirms that those with above average customer experiences outperform others financially.

2. It is time to stop using Covid as an excuse for poor service. It is time to review your customer journey through the customers eyes and deliver a service that represents your business in a way you can be proud of.

3. Understand your customers 'WHY’, this will help drive greater loyalty, lower churn rates and increase revenues, because you’ve provided your customers with what they want, when they need it, and how they expect it.

4. If you don't measure it, you can't improve it.

5. Gathering immediate feedback enables you to be quicker to adjust to your customers’ needs and wants – making informed choices rather than guessing will increase retention.

6. If you don't take care of your customers, someone else will.

7. The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to feel appreciated. Never underestimate how important it is to communicate positively and regularly to your team members and your customers and show your appreciation.

8. Gaining employee feedback is crucial to making sure that your most important customer is listened to, as they are every business’ most valuable asset for creating and delivering the best CX.

9. How your team treat your customers, reflects how you treat your team.

10. It isn't what you say, or often what you do; it is how you make someone feel that they will never forget.

11. How do you keep doing the things that customers love if you don't know what those things are, and how do you fix the things that don't work if you don't know they’re not working? Measuring CX helps shine a light on these blind-spots.

12. All marketplaces are crowded and very few businesses sell anything that is truly unique. Do you know why your customers choose you? Do you know why some of your competitors customers chose them over you? Benchmarking your CX against your competition will answer these questions for you and provide valuable insights into how you can grow your business.

13. Before pouring more water into your bucket, it makes sense to fix any holes at the bottom! What causes your customers to leave you and try your competitors? How many new customers does your business have to get to replace the ones you've lost? Having a great customer retention strategy supports your bottom line and delivers the maximum amount of return on any marketing strategy, adding genuine customer growth and not just customer replacement.

14. Delivering an amazing CX, in 3 words: Product, Process & People. Focus energy, investment & time on each, and you will be a leading player in your sector.

15. Every customer interaction with your business is crucial. When answering a call, replying to an email, or speaking to a customer face to face. If you want to deliver fantastic CX, it's vital the team believe in the business, the leaders, value each other and the customers they deal with each day.

16. It's the simplest of things, like using your manners and having a smile on your face, that make the biggest difference.

17. Does your out of office message represent you well? Always check your spelling, the dates you are away and ensure it has the right tone - as importantly, check it is turned on and off at the right time as that first impression counts!

18. A great customer experience is when it is easy, personalised, memorable and they never have to ask you for anything.

19. Don't invest in a great external marketing campaign that will bring more customers to you, until you have invested in a joined-up customer experience strategy that enables your team to meet and exceed your customers’ expectations.

20. Put simply: Your customers may not remember what you said or indeed what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel.

21. You cannot not communicate! Whether you are in regular contact with your customers or rarely interact with them, a message is being sent, loud and clear! Take time to review your communications.

22. Ask for feedback.*77% of customers favour businesses that request feedback (*Microsoft Global State of Customer Service 2015) 

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Customers Value Great CX More Than Discounts

Sale signs on a black background

Be Brave: Boycott Black Friday

The traditional ‘Boxing Day’ sales that once dominated the high street have well and truly been outshone by Black Friday in recent years, but has it now had its day?

The key difference that sets Black Friday apart from other discounting windows is that it seems to have breached the confines of retail, and brought everything from the service industry to hospitality along for the ride – a phenomenon that could do more damage than good for these businesses.

Sure, everyone enjoys getting a good deal on a purchase, but not at the expense of customer experience (CX). 52% of 1,000 people surveyed recently said they would happily pay more for better service – in fact, one in four customers said they would pay 10% more across all industries if they knew they would receive excellent service. 

Discounting makes sense when there is a genuine reason – end of line, or out of season stock, last minute holidays that need to be sold etc. But blanket discounting, especially on services or experiences, in a short window, could lead to a CX disaster and reputational damage for your business. 

So here are my 6 reasons to boycott Black Friday and instead focus on great CX:

  1. Sales psychology – ‘buy this amazing product at a discounted price for today only’. Customers are becoming wary of businesses that discount in this way. Research by Which? showed an astonishing 99.5% of products to be the same price or cheaper than Black Friday at other points in the year. If customers no longer trust what a company is telling them, it’s a sure-fire way to lose their loyalty.

  2. Timing – Customers value doing things on their terms more than ever. In the 24/7 world that we now live in, funneling customers into making purchases at times dictated by businesses is not providing good CX. A competitor offering excellent year-round CX may have secured all your potential sales before Black Friday even arrives.

  3. Disruption and delays – an influx of business is what all business owners dream of, but if you’re not prepared for it, it can be a poisoned chalice. Slow websites, longer dispatch or delivery times, a less personalised service and poor execution can all result in bad experience.

  4. Stressed staff – employees across retail and other industries describe the Black Friday period as ‘hell’, with reports of abuse by shoppers and ‘vile’ working conditions. It goes without saying that the experience of your staff should be as important as that of your customers as stressed staff can’t deliver great CX.

  5. De-valuing the brand – consumers assume that even at discounted prices, the business is still making a profit, therefore believing your regular price is stretching the true value and may not purchase at full price in the future.

  6. Reputational damage – it only takes one small thing to go wrong during a busy period (point 3) - when your staff aren’t able to perform at their best (point 4), or your customers are not enjoying a good experience (points 1 & 2) - to cause a huge reputational impact and lose a customer forever. When, if the same issue happened during a ‘normal business’ day, the handling and outcome would likely be very different. 

So, my parting words of wisdom; think before you discount. Will your customers actually value it? Can you maintain great CX? Will it detract from your brand? And finally, is it worth it? 

In my experience, the best way to improve your bottom line consistently is to carefully map your customer journey and deliver the best CX day in, day out.

Jonathan Winchester is a customer experience entrepreneur, speaker and business leader. He is the Founder and Chief Executive of insight6. For more information on how to improve your customer experience, visit www.insight6.com. Request to connect with Jonathan on LinkedIn.

A good leader is prepared to ask questions they may not like the answers to

To truly improve employee engagement and wellbeing, every leader must do three basic things: ask, accept, action. 

Ask 

You'd be amazed at the number of leaders I have worked with over the years who come to me with an employee engagement problem, only to find they haven't asked their staff how they are feeling or if there is anything that they need to improve their ability to do their job. 

More worryingly, some come to me to solve a problem, utterly oblivious that they have an employee engagement issue fuelling that very problem. It's not that they don't care, quite the opposite, but it demonstrates a disconnect between management and employees.

The one simple (but essential) thing leaders can do to improve employee engagement is regularly check in on staff wellbeing. Allowing employees to have their voice heard in a regular, official capacity can instantly enhance engagement; there are, of course, caveats!  

Keep wellbeing surveys quick, simple, and convenient – pick a day and time you know employees are more likely to fill it in. Importantly, employees must feel 'safe' to respond openly and honestly to avoid false and potentially misleading results. 

Accept 

Wellbeing in the workplace is a serious matter, and staff need to know that your business and its management genuinely care; this is not a tick-box exercise but something you should embed. Implement a regular feedback solution that analyses responses from your team and provides you with actionable comments to help transform your business.

Understandably, you might be nervous about responses. However, without unequivocally honest insight, you can't acknowledge, accept, or crucially take action to rectify or improve potential issues. Rebuffing or counterarguing responses sends a message that you are not listening, and a 'what's the point' attitude will develop.

Set a monthly employee engagement KPI to track over time to quickly spot and react to trends – not only by the positive or negative scores but also by the response rate. If only a tiny percentage of people even answer the questions, it indicates a disengaged team. 

Action 

You must act on feedback! 

I am not saying give employees everything they request or suggest you make massive business changes to make a few people happier but prove you have listened, probe further and ask 'why'. 

Mapping out the employee response journey is critical. If a response is positive, the action can be an automated yet personal email thanking them for participating. If a negative response is received, there should be an appropriate action plan that follows.  

Depending on the level of question and how potentially harmful the response is, this could be a red flag to a line manager to check in with this person or to follow up and dig deeper into any issues raised. Never follow up in an accusatory way; the aim here is to understand and work out a way to improve. Many negative scores have 'quick win' solutions, such as frustrations with technology or access to information. However, it can be trickier to identify the root cause of a personal grievance or behaviour issue.

My parting words of wisdom? Always follow up.  

Did offering the chance to be heard make a positive change? Have the plans put in place resolved problems? You won't always solve every niggle or concern. Still, by asking questions, actively listening, accepting feedback, and acting accordingly, you will find that employee engagement increases, and wellbeing scores improve.

Jonathan Winchester is a customer experience entrepreneur, speaker and business leader. He is the Founder and Chief Executive of insight6. For more information on how to improve your customer experience, visit www.insight6.com. Request to connect with Jonathan on LinkedIn.

One Simple (But Essential) Thing Leaders Can Do To Improve Employee Engagement

Source: Brooke Cagle via Unsplash

Your people are your company’s most important asset. Cheerful employees are likely to be more productive, but employee engagement is complex - where do you start?

Engaging your team is critical to business success. The holy grail is to have employees who are excited to come to work each day. To achieve this, they need to do what they do best, feel connected to their coworkers, and be motivated by their organisation’s purpose.

Creating a great working culture within your business ensures your team can provide the best experience for your customers and clients. Easier said than done, right?

Workplace culture is part of everything an organisation says and does, making it difficult to transform even when necessary. 

The one simple (but essential) thing leaders can do to improve employee engagement is regularly check in on staff wellbeing

Here we look at employee engagement in more detail and share our insights to help you measure the wellbeing of your staff.

What is employee engagement?

There’s no common understanding of employee engagement. Academic literature describes it as a psychological state experienced by employees. 

Work engagement is a ‘state of mind’, suggests a group of occupational psychologists at Utrecht University. Rather than being burnt out, employees show: 

  • Vigour (energy, resilience and effort).
  • Dedication (enthusiasm, creativity and pride).
  • Absorption (concentration, engrossment in one’s work).

The CIPD says it is separate from job quality, employee behaviour or management action.

How is employee engagement different from employee satisfaction?

Engaged employees are stimulated to show up to work every day and do their best. Whereas satisfied employees may enjoy their job, but it does not necessarily mean they are engaged.

Why is employee engagement critical?

The Covid-19 pandemic brought about a considerable shift in the way we work. More team members than ever are working remotely. Worry, stress, anger and sadness increased for employees, according to Gallup

You must know how your team feels, whether at home or in the office, to address any issues before they start costing your business.


Foresight and agility are even more business-critical in a post-pandemic recovery. Almost 18 months later, Covid-19 cannot be an excuse for poor service.

What are the drivers of employee engagement?

Research shows that committed employees perform better. 

The most vital driver of all is a sense of feeling valued and involved. The Institute for Employment Studies highlights several critical components for achieving this:

  • Involvement in decision-making
  • The extent to which employees feel able to voice their ideas, and managers listen to these views and value employees’ contributions.
  • The opportunities employees have to develop their jobs.
  • The extent to which the organisation is concerned for employees’ health and wellbeing. 

How do better-engaged employees drive business performance?

Worryingly, Gallup states 80% of the global workforce disengaged at work. It estimates that the cost of disengagement to the worldwide economy is US$8.1 trillion!

Highly engaged employees are more present and productive. Gallup’s most recent meta-analysis backs this up -- a study of many studies -- on team engagement and performance, the benefits of employee engagement were clear:

  • 81% lower absenteeism
  • 23% higher profitability
  • 18% higher productivity (sales)
  • 28% less shrinkage (theft)
  • 64% fewer safety incidents 
  • 58% fewer patient safety incidents
  • 18% less turnover (in high-turnover organisations)
  • 43% less turnover (in low-turnover organisations)
  • 41% fewer quality defects
  • 10% higher customer loyalty/engagement

Why should companies invest in employee engagement?

The Harvard Business Review reports that companies that invest in employee experience outperform those that don’t.

According to research from PWC, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. Plus, the more expensive the item, the more they are willing to pay!

Investing in employee engagement shouldn’t be seen as a time or cost investment, but rather a saving, as evidence by the benefits of employee engagement previously.

As a customer experience business, we have seen first-hand how employee engagement affects interaction with customers and how that impacts the brand for better or worse. Improving your customer experience is the surest way to retain loyalty, reduce cost and increase profits. 

How do employees impact the customer experience?

Your employees play a pivotal role in delivering your product or service.

Historical research shows that 80% of companies say they deliver ‘superior’ customer service. Yet, only 8% of customers of those companies thought the same.

Disengaged staff do not go the extra mile for your customers.

How are your staff performing in a world where the customer experience is fast becoming the main reason a potential customer chooses your business?

How can I improve employee engagement? 

It’s clear that employee engagement is not a “nice to have”—it’s a serious competitive differentiator. What’s more - all employers have a duty of care to their employees to ask and understand how they’re truly feeling and why.

In the current climate, the working environment is constantly changing and challenging to predict. It’s essential to know the impact it’s having on your staff. 

You need access to fast, actionable feedback from your team that makes them feel highly motivated, engaged and respected. 

How do you measure or track employee engagement?

The most common way to measure engagement is using surveys, but once a year is not enough. Ideally, it would help if you had a constant pulse on how your team is feeling.


A total feedback solution like instant insight can analyse the feedback from your team and customers. What’s more, the system will enable you to benchmark your business against others within your sector, helping you to achieve a world-class customer AND employee experience.

But obtaining feedback is only the first step. 

You need to know how to interpret the data and, most importantly, take steps to up your game and profits. If you would like to hear more, we are here for you. We’re the only CX specialists in the UK and Ireland, with 25 experts across the country.  

Three employee engagement questions companies should ask.

At insight6, we have transformed hundreds of businesses, helping to improve their customer experience. We know that leaders can do one simple (but essential) thing to enhance employee engagement: regularly check in on staff wellbeing. 

Below we share three of the six survey questions 1000s of companies are asking their employees.

1) On a scale of 1 to 10, how motivated do you feel?

Remember to always follow up with “why”. It’s a simple but vital question to ask regularly, especially to teams working from home, to gauge their motivation levels.

2) How are you feeling right now?

It’s a powerful, easy-to-answer question you should be asking your team every day. Respondents click one of the three emoticon faces to answer. These faces represent whether they’re feeling happy, content or sad. Don’t forget to follow this question up with “why”?

3) How confident do you feel about the future?

Send this sentiment survey fortnightly or monthly to promote honesty and transparency in the workplace and quash any nasty rumours early. It is a crucial tracking measurement for long term strategic planning. Set targets and work towards them.

Mel Evans

Mel Evans is a customer experience specialist at insight6, delivering more profit to business owners through better customer experiences. Connect on LinkedIn or follow @insight6CX on Twitter.

Image Source: Brooke Cagle via Unsplash