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The top 10 customer experience trends to focus on in 2022

Customer experience is constantly evolving, and businesses are spending fortunes trying to stay on top of their customers’ changing wants and needs. Knowing what’s hot right now an help them boost their product’s CX and keep them competitive.


The top 10 customer experience trends to focus on in 2022

Customer experience is constantly evolving, and businesses are spending fortunes trying to stay on top of their customers’ changing wants and needs. Knowing what’s hot right now an help them boost their product’s CX and keep them competitive.

| Usability & UX

When I co-founded Testbirds in 2011, one of the biggest selling products that year was the Amazon Kindle. While one of the worst-received was Netflix’s Qwikster, which was their effort to separate their streaming and DVD rental business. Where the Kindle provided a positive, uncomplicated, and user-friendly experience, the (nearly) long-forgotten Qwikster forced its 12 million customers who streamed and rented DVDs to split their accounts. Alongside a 60 percent rise in costs. Where once, both were united under one digital service, users now needed two accounts and had to pay a separate fee each month. Additionally, movie ratings and preferences would no longer be synced. For a service that was meant to offer more convenience, it did everything but that. Netflix dropped the idea barely one month after launch and lost some 800,000 subscribers.


Over the next decade, Netflix learned its lesson when it comes to providing a great customer experience; whereas Kindle has remained highly popular and has regularly adapted to changing needs and expectations. From day one it provided the right customer experience (CX).

For me, this highlights what we – a company that tests digital products – have repeatedly seen these past ten years.

A good customer experience is what determines success.

This has been no more evident than in the past two years as lockdowns and social distancing have seen more people use digital solutions to deal with things they normally would have done in person. For many, staying on top of the latest trends has made all the difference. They know what consumers are looking for, what they expect, and sometimes… what they want… well before they know it themselves.

Georg Hansbauer - CEO & Co-Founder - Testbirds - He wants to help his clients to build the best customer journey

“Knowing the trends means you know your customers. That makes a true competitive advantage.”

Georg Hansbauer, CEO & Co-Founder, Testbirds


There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic and its on-and-off-again lockdowns, social distancing, and supply chain disruptions have impacted every business; especially small and medium-sized enterprises. Additionally, cash-flow issues, labor shortages, rising fuel costs, and concerns over inflation and domestic growth are ongoing concerns.1

The pandemic has also boosted consumer adoption of digital solutions and services that do not require physical interaction. Such usage has been steadily increasing but has surged in the past two years. This makes digital products and services extremely important to today’s public and private businesses. As we move further into 2022 and beyond, the pandemic will continue to impact business. While many have already closed their doors for good, others are quickly adapting to this ‘new normal’ and are actively exploring new and innovative ways to reach, and retain, their customers.

The true difficulty is that people’s expectations and motivations have changed. As noted in an Accenture survey2, “A full 50% of consumers say that the pandemic caused them to rethink their personal purpose and re-evaluate what’s important to them in life. Forty-two percent say the pandemic made them realize they need to focus on others more than themselves.”

The same survey also showed that while quality and price are still the main factors in the purchasing decision, they are quickly followed up by five new motivations: ease and convenience, service & personal care, trust & reputation, product origin, and health & safety.

How, where, why, and what they buy is different than it was pre-2020. More so as a new generation of digitally savvy consumers enters the workforce, has money to spend, and uses a growing variety of devices that incorporate digital solutions; from connected cars to Internet-enabled refrigerators. Put simply, today’s consumers expect it all. And now.

For digital developers and OEM’s that use their solutions, the coming years have the potential to become a golden age.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


But this also means that competition for consumers’ digital attention is rapidly increasing. Digital solutions must be more than just efficient, they must provide a highly personalized, positive, and unique customer experience.

This is something that all the following trends consider.

Trend 1: More empathy and personalization

Consumers now expect an experience or product that is created especially for them. One that is emphatic and personalized. This will only increase in the coming years. They want digital solutions that help them achieve their goals quickly and easily while intimately understanding them, their current situation, and what they want. To provide a convenient solution that makes their life easier.

Research from Epsilon indicated that 80 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized services (while 90 percent found personalization appealing).3 Such personalization has grown exponentially. Where once it was simply knowing your name, it can now encompass the entire customer journey at every touchpoint with a business. Omnichannel solutions are a prime example of delivering the same experience across all channels that the customer may use.

Achieving such empathy with a customer requires data. Lots of data that must be identified, collected, managed, and interpreted.

This can include basic data such as the device being used, what they do on your app or site and for how long, noting their previous behaviors, the content they engage with, and which channels are typically used. Testing with real users can also provide deeper insights into their motivations, what is working for them, and importantly, what isn’t.

Being able to meet changing needs and preferences quickly, efficiently, and consistently is essential when creating an optimal, positive customer experience that results in loyal customers. Especially, as noted in a PwC survey, ‘32% of all customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after one bad experience.’4 This trend will quickly become standard business practice.

Trend 2: Technology with a human touch

“What helps people, helps business.”


In the coming years, technology, especially interactive technology, and Internet of Things devices will be developed with human traits – such as our sense of curiosity, family, and community – firmly in mind.

Not just that a solution provides a personalized feel, but that the experience they deliver is intuitive and natural.

A learning app for a school may adjust its teaching style to suit a particular student’s needs and personality. An in-store app may appeal to a customer’s sense of curiosity by sending them clues that lead them to a specially discounted item. An in-car system may ask who is driving and set up their preferred music, heads-up display settings, and adjust the temperature in the car. Each digital product will need to take human needs and emotions into account. All to make them more relevant, usable, and trusted by consumers. Achieving this will require testing that uses real people who are as close to the intended customers as possible.

Trend 3: Fully connected touchpoints

Every digital solution collects data. They can, however, remain siloed and disconnected from all other significant customer touchpoints. This is seeing increased efforts to unify customer data from multiple devices and provide truly data-driven, secure, and personalized experiences. The more customer insights a business has, the more targeted their interactions with customers can be. Regardless of where or how they connect with the business.

By linking datasets and applications, every interaction can be relevant, measurable, and help ensure that issues are quickly and proactively dealt with. A substantial way to build trust.

This is particularly important as people and their technologies change. Can you effectively stay in touch with someone who has married and changed their name? What if they move to a new city or replace their smartphone with one that has a different OS?

Ensuring that a customer’s data is complete across multiple, diverse touchpoints at any point in their journey is becoming essential. By doing so clearly and transparently, a business can easily update profiles with accurate, relevant, and up-to-date information. All while ensuring the customer that their data is being collected and stored safely. Testing with real people using a diverse range of devices in multiple locations can provide real-world insights into how consumers use your digital solutions and how well your in-house systems, such as a CRM, collect, collate, and manage that data. Such connected datasets can then enable truly relevant offers, advertising, and other promotions to be made across platforms and vendors directly to the customer at touchpoints that mean the most to them. All resulting in a positive customer experience.

Trend 4: Measuring the customer experience

Customer feedback has long been the go-to method to help improve the customer experience. Traditionally, this has meant identifying certain customers and their key touchpoints. For this, a business might use an online survey, an in-person interview, web analytics data, or even crowdtesters as mystery shoppers. All to collect relevant data on what that customer finds good or bad and input it into their standard CRM software.

But newer technologies, such as artificial intelligence and chatbots, are quickly changing what was once a labor-intensive and often too-specific/restrictive means of collecting customer data.

A business may have found their ‘key’ customers and found out what works for them, but that often meant missing out on the feedback of those that weren’t the (supposed) ideal customer. In picking the so-called perfect tree, they missed the entire forest. And, often, were slow to do so. Today, immediate feedback is necessary to ensure relevant and fast action is taken to deliver a positive customer experience. As is analyzing a wider range of customers to discover trends, changing attitudes, and more. This requires a data-driven approach.

As noted by McKinsey5, “…the world of insight generation has transformed through impressive advances in the ability to generate, aggregate, and analyze data. Companies now have access to a broad array of data sets: internal data on customer interactions (both digital and analog), transactions, and profiles; widely available third-party data sets that cover customer attitudes, purchase behaviors and preferences, and digital behaviors, including social media activity; and new data sets on customer health, sentiment, and location (in stores, for example) generated by the Internet of Things (IoT).”

Predictive analytics, a branch of advanced analytics6, is leading the way by taking all this data – mostly based on actual customer behavior – and combining and analyzing it for patterns that can be used to help predict future outcomes or risks. In real-time.

“Go beyond merely communicating to ‘connecting with people”


Customer needs can be foreseen. Customer churn can be reduced. And this can lead to better engagement and a better experience. As organizations gather ever more data, newer technologies are vital in developing positive customer experiences. It is, however, essential to not ignore the human element.


Customer Journey Testing

The line between the real and digital world continues to fade. Test interactions in all parts of the customer experience with the help of the Crowd, and in real-world conditions.

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Trend 5: Artificial intelligence and bots

AI, machine learning, and bots will continue to revolutionize digital solutions. Especially as the past two years have seen staffing shortages and supply chain interruptions impact businesses’ ability to interact directly with their customers. This is resulting in many companies looking closely at where these technologies can best help their business. A prime example of this is the recent partnership between McDonald’s and IBM7 to develop an AI-powered solution to automate McDonald’s drive-through lanes.

Automated engagement tools, such as chatbots and virtual assistants, are also being brought in to answer basic (and increasingly more complex) customer inquiries – to fill in employee gaps within service centers and to free up remaining staff to take on complex questions and provide a more personalized response.

Chatbots, however, will still struggle in the coming years to achieve acceptance.

According to a Forrester survey8, “54% of US online consumers believe that interacting with a chatbot will have a negative impact on their quality of life. Consumers anticipate the worst when engaging with a chatbot today and haven’t yet seen a chatbot that can meet or even exceed those expectations.” Chatbot technology is simply not advanced enough (yet) for truly human interactions and an unpleasant experience can lead to someone never using the business again. Mitigating this issue takes extensive testing with actual people. However, there is no doubt that AI and bots can deliver substantial business benefits, and this will see businesses continue to invest in them.

Trend 6: The growth of e-commerce

By 2025, e-commerce is expected to account for 23.6 percent of all retail sales9.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues throughout 2022 and, most likely, into 2023, this is certain to be larger as digital adoption increases. Even those who were once skeptical about online shopping are now having to embrace it – and are seeing its benefits. This won’t change once the pandemic is over. For retailers and new entrants into e-commerce, this presents a huge opportunity. Going forward, online shopping will become more established, and traditional retailers must embrace it – by setting up their own sites, joining marketplaces, or integrating the latest smart technologies into their physical locations (creating a so-called ‘phygital’ experience of having intricately connected physical and digital solutions). There are even new, non-traditional, e-commerce entrants such as social media platforms who are incorporating shops and catalogs into their services.

There is also the rapid rise of omnichannel business, which is using its ability to provide a seamless, connected, and personalized experience to attract customers who now expect everything to be fully interconnected. Being able to test that an e-commerce platform successfully connects to multiple devices will be essential.

Trend 7: Fast and frictionless purchasing

Everyone now expects instant gratification. Goods bought online must be delivered within two days maximum (for free). Downloads should take seconds, not minutes. There should be zero lag on any streamed game or movie. Questions should be answered immediately. When a purchase is made, it must be instantaneous. With no friction at any point.

2022 and the years ahead will require digital solutions to increasingly deliver a lightning-fast, secure, and reliable experience. Those that can, will have a clear competitive advantage.

Composable CX platforms10, in particular, are set to be a game-changer in the coming years. By enabling businesses to change services and products in real-time, they can deliver a customer experience that is fast, agile, flexible, and responsive.

Businesses and products that are composable will also be more resilient to disruption (such as the coronavirus pandemic). Speed of service, especially at the point of purchase, is now a must-have, not a nice-to-have.

Trend 8: Green first: Sustainability and CX

Calls for individuals and organizations to reduce their carbon footprint and be more sustainable are growing. More so as governments pursue the specific goals set at the UN’s COP26 conference to ‘achieve global net-zero by the middle of the century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach’11. COP26’s theme of ‘together for the planet’ is an appropriate one when it comes to the digital technology sector and its billions of connected users – many of whom now expect companies to proactively help address environmental issues.

The digital sector is perfectly placed to make a big, and positive, impact. Accounting for 1.4%12 of global greenhouse emissions, it also “has the potential to directly reduce fossil fuel emissions 15% by 2030 and indirectly support a further reduction of 35% through influence of consumer and business decisions and systems transformation.”13

Solutions that use 5G networks may be the answer. Expected to reach 4.4 billion subscriptions by 202714, 5G-connected Internet of Things devices will be more efficient, reliable, secure, and use less energy. One example will be connected (and electric) trucks that use super-fast, low-latency 5G in combination with artificial intelligence to drive autonomously and conduct ‘truck platooning’, where multiple trucks are synced together using connective technology and automated systems – resulting in faster reaction times and reduced fuel consumption.15

Case Study

End-to-End Testing of BMW Motorrad‘s Connected App

Trend 9: Beyond products, it’s all about the experience

Fully connected experiences will grow and expand throughout 2022 as businesses place more emphasis on the journey, not the destination. In-store products will start blending more with digital solutions, such as the innovative Nike Rise store concept16, where machines scan your feet, and via their app, you can personalize your shoes or other clothing items. You can even engage with other Nike customers in sporting events around the city.

Existing products will be enhanced with digital features.

Take the in-car experience. Beyond a car’s look, its safety features, the size of the engine, and how it handles, connected infotainment features are becoming a prime factor in a driver’s purchasing decision. People want their car’s digital solutions to be easy-to-use, seamless, connected, and as dependable and feature-rich as what they use every day, such as their smartphones and tablets.

It’s no surprise that the automotive software market is expected to grow 250 percent by 203017 and that electronic systems, that same year, are expected to be half the total price of a new car.18 The product is now just a part of the customer experience. And perhaps, not even the most important part. Extensive testing at all touchpoints will be essential.

Trend 10: Creativity leads the way

Unique, diverse, and highly creative customer experiences will lead the way in CX development. It has often been argued that ‘convenient, customer-centric digital products and apps’ have resulted in a digital sameness that has stifled creativity, turned brands into homogenous entities,19 and made it difficult for customers to easily distinguish one brand experience from another (functionality first).

To combat this, and develop a truly differentiated CX, businesses must invest in creativity.

Alongside a CX that incorporates collaboration, experience, authenticity, and personalization, a creative impact must be made at every touchpoint. Something unique, surprising, and that provides an emotional connection. Those who consistently do something different, stand out. Consider the mattress company, Casper. Instead of simply saying ‘we sell mattresses’, they built their business around the ‘culture of sleep’, offer free shipping and a 100-day test run, host an annual sleep symposium, and for several years ran a sleep-centric blog. Most recently, they created the Insomnobot300020, an AI-powered chatbot that someone having trouble sleeping can text and have a conversation with – about anything they feel like talking about.

“Every brand offers the same digital experience because they all address the same customer needs, use the same technology platforms, and design for the same mobile use case.”


As more businesses utilize digital solutions to enhance their CX, developing a unique and creative customer experience, such as a ‘zero-UI’ solutions featuring virtual and augmented reality, will be essential for anyone wanting to differentiate themselves.

The connected, personalized future

The digital customer experience is now mainstream. As noted in the ICS’s UK Customer Satisfaction Index in July 2021, “For the first time, 50% of the customer experiences recorded in the UKCSI were digital (on an organisation’s website or via email, web chat, text or social media).”21

This will only increase. Especially as customers expect more and want immediate results, as ever more businesses undergo digital transformation, and as new CX technologies and strategies are developed. It is important, however, to always keep the human element in mind. An effective CX cannot be developed without using real people to consider, test, and reflect on what they are experiencing. It is also necessary to avoid operational blindness so you can better discover innovative solutions that delight your customers.

2022 and beyond will see CX transform. The customer journey and customer experience will become more tightly connected as businesses become more customer-centric. But it will take people power at every stage to make it a competitive advantage and one that delivers an experience that customers will love.


The top 10 customer experience trends to focus on in 2022



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