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As digital transformation and automation reshape our expectations for growth, business leaders are looking beyond the horizon to drive strategic growth agendas in the post-COVID era.

Much of the past year has been focused on reacting to short-term disruption, plugging holes and weathering the storm. With some light at the end of the tunnel, business leaders must now explore how they can foster a culture that is perpetually agile and constantly learning.

This emerging era is one in which progressive leaders help leadership teams consolidate lessons from the global pandemic, improve customer experiences, and establish a vision for growth models that respect customer privacy. They must bring together the worlds of hyper-personalization, AI, ethics and workplace culture to deliver engaging, exciting and memorable customer experiences.

How should leaders make their customer experience and growth visions a reality, and what are the biggest challenges they face? Here some of the highlights from our discussion. “We’ve all been in the same storm, but we haven’t been in the same boat.”

Leaders are taking time to reflect since the pandemic hit and, realizing that organizations are more resilient than perhaps expected, has caused surprising leadership to emerge within their companies. While digital transformation was on most companies’ radar, the pandemic has forced leaders to accelerate their efforts. The need for agility, innovation and the creation of new customer experiences is critical to business growth in what has become a digital world.

It’s not a time to sell to customers, it’s a time to listen

Having studied exceptional innovation leaders over the past 20 years, companies must start from scratch in their understanding of customer needs. The disruption of the last year has significantly changed customer behavior and expectations. The fact is that the “old ways” of doing things simply won’t work in 2022.

Very few companies score high on “customer intimacy.” With so many customer touch points and expectations so varied, the time has come for companies to truly engage with their customers and understand their new needs to deliver the experiences they want.

Leveraging technology to deliver information

Providing data to people in a way that they can visualize and make sense of it is an increasingly important factor in any organization. People are visual, and if you give them the tools to do this in a simple way, it unleashes their creativity. For marketers, leveraging this type of technology to gain customer insights will ultimately lead to greater foresight into what customers expect and what behaviors they will engage in in the future.

Privacy and trust must be at the forefront of innovation

As access to and use of customer data increases, it is increasingly important that companies use it ethically and securely. It’s all about earning and maintaining customer trust. To do this, leaders must now think about data strategically and systemically.Companies are starting to think about what data they really need to help the customer.Not only is this an added security risk, but it can also cloud the insights gained by having too much data to sift through.

Customer behavior will continue to change in response to ongoing technological advances and other external factors. For business leaders, it is critical to continually push their teams to embrace change and be creative in solving new customer experience challenges.

Source: Adobe BlogĀ