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Reinventing digital customer experience as a fundamental part of business strategy


As customer expectations for useful, frictionless experiences rise, companies are replacing manual processes and augmenting physical experiences with digital interactions.

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This embrace of digital stems from more than the need to delight and engage—it is about providing real utility to customers at an acceptable cost to serve. For many companies, this is simply one of several requirements for doing business in the digital age.

For others, operationalizing customer experience (CX) is a mission that defines their corporate zeitgeist. It is an opportunity to continually improve CX. For some, CX is a true brand differentiator and driver of their business. The specific attributes and leading practices of these CX aficionados—we call them the Elites—became clear as we analyzed how organizations are mobilizing to improve their performance through CX.

This report builds on an initial report, “The experience revolution: The game is on,” where we identified top trends executives are facing as they reinvent their CX. In this second report, we reveal how organizations approach CX ownership, strategy, cross-functional collaboration, use of data, use of Experience Design methods, and customer feedback to enhance and measure CX.¹

In today’s digital world, companies can maintain an intimate relationship with their customers and continually enhance experiences in ways that are affordable and immediate. However, the entire sample of respondents still has a long way to go to become truly customer experience driven. Even the Elites struggle to get everyone in their organization on board. Yet, we can learn a lot by looking at the characteristics that distinguish the Elites from the other two groups we identified, the Professionals, and the Amateurs.

This report explores what Elites do to fuel their CX reinvention and has uncovered three practices that we believe set them apart. We also uncover the capability gaps that challenge each group and provide a set of recommendations that are applicable today and can scale into the future.

¹ Experience Design is the practice of creating people’s broad experience with a product, service, process, or event by focusing on user needs and a targeted outcome. It involves defining and coordinating a set of interactions (physical or digital) and can be applied to customers, clients, citizens, employees, partners, or vendors.


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Meet the authors

Amanda Gosling

Connect with author:


, IBM iX Global Partner - Leader Digital Strategy, UKI


Carolyn Heller Baird, Global Research Leader for Customer Experience and Design, IBM Institute for Business Value


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