PwC recently released its Global Consumer Insights Survey 2019, which gathers the sentiments of more than 21,000 online consumers in 27 territories. The research looks at how consumers are engaging with companies today, including which channels they prefer and what they value most in these interactions. The firm also introduces a new term—Return on Experience or ROX—which measures “earnings on investments in the parts of your company directly related to how people interact with your brand.”

According to PwC, “The survey findings attest to the steady encroachment of digital technologies into every corner of consumers’ lives.” Indeed, as the digital and physical worlds come together for more unified experiences, consumers are increasingly embracing this new way of buying. At the same time, they’re expecting a frictionless customer journey, meaning companies need to make it a seamless process every step of the way.

As you evaluate ways to improve the customer experience (CX), consider the following results from the survey:

  • Online purchasing keeps going up: Thirty-one percent of people buy online weekly or even daily, an increase of five percent year-over-year from 2018, according to the survey.
  • Smartphones are now the #1 channel for online purchasing: Consumers are now using their smartphones more than their PCs for online purchasing—for the first time after more than 10 years of conducting this survey, according to PwC.
  • Digital lifestyles are taking hold: More than half of people surveyed are now paying bills online, and 54 percent said they stream movies or TV shows two times per week or more.
  • More intelligence at the edge: Seventy-five percent of consumers have up to three healthcare, wellness, or fitness apps on their smart devices, while 46 percent said they would like to have an autonomous vehicle today or in the future.

So, what’s at stake?

As noted by PwC, “Companies that invest in and deliver superior experiences to both consumers and employees are able to charge a premium of as much as 16 percent for their products and services.”

If you’re heavily investing in delivering a great CX, but aren’t getting the returns you expect, PwC offers up six imperatives to help get it right. Take a look:

1. Fuse CX and EX: It should come as no surprise that engaged employees are good for customer experience. According to PwC, companies must understand the importance of employees in a successful CX equation. The firm suggests mapping CX impact across areas like culture, behaviors, and business outcomes to better understand how employee experience (EX) is good for customers.

2. Build communities with a purpose: Both employee and customer “motivation” are keys to CX success. Find out what they care about and how to make meaningful connections on both fronts. This includes using social tools and digital platforms to connect people.

3. Build on magic moments along the customer journey: PwC recommends knowing and focusing on the “magic moments” in your business to ensure a superior overall customer experience. A lost credit card. An urgent healthcare issue. A gift return. Getting these types of interactions right at your company leads to more loyal customers and greater profits.

4. Understand your customers based on their behaviors: PwC suggests looking deeper into your customer data to garner greater insights, including how, when, and why customers buy. But knowing this precious information is not enough, your employees need to be empowered to act on it at every opportunity. This is being achieved with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning solutions that enable predictive analytics to improve real-time customer engagements and offers.

5. Treat consumers’ data with respect and deliver value in exchange for it: Not surprisingly, consumers not only want their data protected, but they also expect respect. Meaning you should always be open and transparent about how you use customer data and make sure the outcome of its use delivers value to the customer.

6. Win the trip: Connecting the moments that matter most to customers is critical to delivering a smooth customer journey. The pressure to do this is only increasing as consumers expect companies to connect the physical and digital worlds. Success often comes down to employees having the right information at the right time. You must look for opportunities to accomplish this and stay informed on how today’s digital platforms are making it easier than ever before.

For more information, read the complete PwC report.