Designing a Circular Customer Experience

There is a need to re-imagine experiences for the age of responsibility. Product design must factor in materials and processes that minimise waste. Business models need to imagine the complete journey from conception to recycling. Information frameworks that created connected product experiences on all aspects of the journey for all the stakeholders.

8 Years back we started a study of India’s top companies. It soon became apparent customer experience needs a wholistic approach. It’s given us a perspective on environment, social, governance factors of brand experiences.​
The modern customer experience talks about customer journeys, integrated digital experiences, increasing spatial moments and also aspects of machine learning and more.​

Consumers and ESG policies of companies

  • Customers are not homogenous. There are different concerns depending on where they stay or their lifestage.
  • Customer journeys are not just B2C there are massive changes to the B2B journeys too. While companies have adopted tools such as omnichannel to help consumers access their products, there needs to be a shift towards investments in Sustainable materials, design and frameworks. The approach has to be integrated and wholistic.
  • Plus sustainability means many things in the customer journey.

    In most cases the customer expects the brand to do the right thing.

  • It is a brand’s responsibility to be the custodian of sustainability.
  • Today, while sustainable practices are being adopted but perhaps more proactive action is needed​.
Smarter ProductsProducts and Experiences Designed for Sustainability

Impact of climate change on customer experience​

The reality of climate crisis is that consumption behaviours need to change whether for individual customers or for businesses. The conversation is increasingly about concepts like water footprinting, carbon footprinting, extraction versus re-use and much more. companies are certainly moving towards making changes.

  • Journeys, product designs and related data are going to be substantially different. Earlier, one measured growth in terms of profit, now you are measuring well-being. The big shift is that companies are being asked to measure things that they have never measured before.
  • Retail design is changing. There is talk of phygital, omnichannel and the store coming to you. There is a carbon footprint for each of those choices. How do you make retail environments and experiences sustainable and profitable in-line with customer expectations? These are the kind of questions that brand experiences will need to grapple with.
Sustainable Customer Experience DesignCustomer Journey Mapping and Experience Design

The key emerging points you need to consider are

Zero Waste Design​

Circular Design​

The no plastics movement​

Privacy by Design and more​

Sustainable development goals and corporate bottomlines​

  • The SDGs are one of many commitments that countries and companies are having to make. These are now documented in their various statutory reports with timelines.
  • The Biggest 50 banks have made sustainable finance commitments and so have companies. The list of commitments and companies is constantly increasing. Stakeholder activism is also on the rise.
  • Increasingly Trust and transparency in supply networks is being focused on. Tracing the fibre or fruit to it’s origin brings up new experiences and journeys.
  • These big shifts are actually manifested in customer journeys that will enable the transitions. Further, companies need to make the investments in innovation and technology. Some technologies may exist today and others are work in progress. You may have 40,000 employees and bringing all of them into the new journey is all about commitment and all the knowledge transfer that takes place up and down the stream and the extended network of operations​​.
Sustainable Fashion MattersInsights and Toolkits for Sustainable Fashion Transformation

Customer expectations and corporate initiatives

  • Brands have a role to play in effecting change. Since this is a transitionary phase there will be pushes and pulls on either side. Alternatives will not be available immediately.
  • For instance, we may say no to single use plastics. But, it does bring in the question of health and food safety experiences. So what should a company do?
  • One of the solutions could be to reimagine new experiences where supply chains are integrated in a manner that one company’s waste is another’s resource.
  • Companys till now have mostly focused on Find, Buy, Service and Help experiences. But in a similar vein the emphasis now needs to be on the Recycle, Repair and Re-use intent. New experiences need to be designed.
  • This is an opportunity for companies to connect and collaborate at a different scale whilst at the same time giving customers the experiences that matter.​​
Knowledge LeadershipResearch, On-Demand Learning and Masterclass for Your Company

Customer experience and responsible AI​

  • Quick turnarounds that we have seen in recent times should not mean quick sand.​ There are enough examples of vulnerability, leakage of sensitive customer information and misuse of that data.
  • The investments in AI while productive need to have awareness of their impact. If we are thinking of lifecycle impact of physical products then there is a need to undertake and manage the digital experiences impact as well.
  • Trusteeship of data is an issue for the data safety experience to consider and improve upon.
  • It is not merely about exploring the latest tech feature as it may undermine brand values. Companies are being called upon to be responsible about their data practices.
  • Each product choice, material selection, process decision, technology stack in the journey will need to weigh a responsibility score inline with the compliance needs of the company, country and region.
  • We will still talk customers, brands, people but the journey to more sustainable practices will be quantified.​
Practically DigitalMaking the Most of Emerging Digital Opportunities for Sustainability Experiences