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  • Writer's picturePeggy Amelung

The three Customer Experience Learnings 2021

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

The quintessence of what makes successful brands in 2021 in dealing with their customers and partners. Strong brands develop loyal customers and partners. Weak brands send them to the competition.

  1. Digitalisation yes, but not without the human being

Digitalisation is on the rise and that's a good thing. Ordering systems run digitally, speech recognition and translator systems are used and personalised advertising is delivered to us every day. However, and this is the first big learning from the past year: in the future, we need a healthy hybrid world that combines smart processes, automation and AI with people in the right place. Because one thing is clear:

AI cannot understand humans better than humans understand themselves.

2. First the employees, then the customers and shareholders

80% of all change processes go wrong. Often it's the wrong approach, the wrong method or most of the time you devote too much attention to the laggards rather than to the pioneers in the project. I, for example, had to make this mistake the hard way in the first few years and learned from it.

But now in the pandemic, it's about something else. Now it's really about taking time for each individual staff member. To ask them specifically, what is their mood? Where are the pain points and concerns? When I start a project, that's my first step. I have a 1:1 with every staff member in the team. A quick phone call, a zoom call, a coffee or a joint tour of the site is enough. I often get suspicious reactions. Why me? I'm not a manager. A simple explanation quickly helps. Everyone in the team is important when it comes to customer experience. Customer Experience is not a department.

Forming groups, learning and taking new steps together increases the engagement factor immensely. Get everyone involved. And yes, don't work off the complainers. Focus first on those in the team who want to volunteer, contribute ideas and show genuine interest. It works. The appreciation is then quickly transferred to the others and in dealing with the customers to exactly the same people. Leadership is needed here.

Improving the customer experience is only possible in this way.

I'll give you an example: One of my clients, the Hotel Esplanade Dortmund, won two awards last year in the HR sector in the hotel industry. Katja Kortmann and her team can be really proud of that. The change process with regard to the customer experience is much easier under such conditions. And of course more successful. This is shown by the enthusiastic customer testimonials.

Even before this crisis, a PwC study showed that 59 per cent of consumers surveyed globally felt that companies had lost sight of the human element of the customer experience, and 75 per cent of customers surveyed preferred to interact with a human rather than an automated machine. And now people may be struggling to navigate the many frictions of the 'new normal' and need a human touch even more.

3. Resilience, flexibility and inspiration are the drivers What initially looked like a pandemic situation for a certain period of time is now a reality that will last indefinitely. We ride from wave to wave. From new rules to new rules. From change to change. What does it do to each individual? Sometimes more sometimes less? The new word creation from this year describes it well- Mütend. Coronafrust. Yes, we are tired and sometimes angry. I am not angry, but I notice how it takes strength. Even very strong personalities around me, cool go-getter types, the impetus-givers, the locomotives who are always strong, show nerves. Showing that if you don't pay attention to your own strength and emotional resources, the tank can empty quickly. Consciously dealing with our own state of mind, mindfulness towards our fellow human beings and a high degree of empathy in every situation saves us. Ask calmly: How are you?,Are you okay? Are you lonely? Are you struggling to change, especially in times like these? Is your life bringing you joy? Is there anything I can learn from this? What is all this doing to me emotionally? These are honest questions that require honest answers and help keep us afloat in the wild times. We become more resilient as a result. This mindset is also what leads you and your team to peak performance despite changes and external influences. We saw that clearly in 2021. So, pay special attention to it in 2022. Because the pandemic is not over, not even for your clients.


Customer experience has received an incredible boost in the last 12 months. Studies such as the CX Global Benchmark Report 2020, PwC or Qualtrics have proven this. Strong brands develop loyal customers and partners. Weak brands send them to the competition. Brand building and customer loyalty building is a simultaneous process.

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” Michelangelo

It is about people's needs, recognising them and being able to respond to them in a personalised way.

What is new are two things: First, that we have to think yes customer journey, but it depends on the situation. In technical jargon, this is called situation awareness. And secondly, customer experience is now also accepted in B2B business. That means we are no longer just talking about the shoe shop, the luxury hotel or the car dealer around the corner. We are also talking about agencies, consultants, financial service providers, software companies - if you would like to listen to my presentation at the International Tourism Fair in Andorra 2018, you are cordially invited to the CX Podcast. It's all about hospitality as a differentiator for all industries. More on the trend, news from KI UND DANN for the new year in the next post.

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