What CX trends will affect customer loyalty and help you build competitive advantage? Look at what China reveals about the future of customer experiences.

Until only a few years ago, most CX pros would have scoffed at talk of China as an innovator. But this has changed at breathtaking speed. Today, China has become so innovative that businesses in mature Western markets are taking note. The country’s tech giants are blurring the boundaries between digital and physical and expanding the reach of their platform businesses with new value propositions. For example, Meituan-Dianping, China’s largest provider of on-demand online services, has announced that it will acquire bike-sharing firm Mobike and launch a ride-hailing service to compete directly with car-sharing leader Didi Chuxing.

What’s the engine powering China’s CX innovation? Quite simply, the Chinese consumer.

Consumers in China’s metropolitan areas are more tech-savvy and demanding — and more likely to embrace new digital technologies — than their counterparts in mature markets. The digital lifestyle boom has accustomed Chinese consumers to mobile behaviors — such as scanning QR codes and making digital payments on their mobile devices — that make experiences on a mobile app simple and enjoyable.

In 2018, Successful Firms Will Focus On Customer-Centric Innovation

My latest report, “Customer Experience Trends In China, 2018,” details the three major CX trends that forward-looking CX professionals will focus improvement efforts on in 2018: seamless experiences, memorable experiences, and trust-building experiences. While these trends will all improve CX quality, they will have different effects on customer loyalty.

  • Trend No. 1: Technology enables seamless customer journeys. Leading businesses in China will adopt a wide range of technologies to improve the ease, speed, and convenience of interactions. While CX pros won’t be able to differentiate their brands with seamless customer experiences alone, they must get them right, as failing on these basics will push customers away.
  • Trend No. 2: Distinctive lifestyle elements create memorable experiences. Experiences are more than just transactions; they’re about entertainment, discovery, co-creation, and engagement with friends and social media influencers. Consumers in metro China are attracted by brands that incorporate distinctive lifestyle elements into the experience.
  • Trend No. 3: Transparency practices earn customer trust. Chinese consumers increasingly focus on product authenticity and safety. Today, lack of information transparency — mostly due to the complex supply chains connecting producers and manufacturers to consumers — compounds consumer distrust and makes it difficult to verify whether product safety and authenticity scandals rest on a foundation of fact or rumor. Chinese firms have been pushed to innovate out of necessity; this has created best practices that companies can apply elsewhere — even in mature markets where authenticity and safety have not been serious issues for a long time.