Editor’s note: Jim Longo is co-founder and chief strategy officer at Seattle-based market research firm Discuss.io.

Over the past year, organizations have faced a new foe in attracting and retaining customers: an entirely new business environment, shaken under the weight of inflation, labor shortages, supply chain and pandemic-related disruptions.  Under these new market conditions, one thing remains certain: strong customer experience (CX) is a business imperative. Today, consumers stay loyal to organizations due to the experience they receive rather than simply the price or quality of a product. For businesses to continue winning over customers and earning their loyalty, CX has grown in importance and become a key differentiator.  

A change in consumer priorities began in the early days of the pandemic in 2020, when the surge in e-commerce began. According to a global McKinsey survey, 40% of consumers said they had tried new brands or retailers through the spring of 2020; in the U.S., it was 46%.If 2021 marks a change in the power dynamic between businesses and consumers, how are CX and insights teams providing strong customer experiences into 2022?

The silos of CX and insights teams are being broken down as organizations realize that customer feedback needs to be shared broadly to impact strategic planning. To that end, they’re converging under shared objectives such as getting closer to customers or inserting the voice of the consumer (VOC) into organizational strategy, often reporting to a chief customer or chief customer success officer. In order to fuel evidence-based decisions, they’re adding qualitative research into their workflow, rather than relying on quantitative data sets from various teams and departments.

Experimentation and innovating early and often are now viewed as distinguishing characteristics of a successful business under the digital transformation of COVID-19.