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#InsightsIn5: What’s Next in the World of Customer Experience (CX)?

Tony Johnson

Customer Experience Officer (CXO)

4xi Global Consulting & Solutions

We are in the middle of a New Normal. These are Unprecedented Times. The only constant is change. Which one of these are you most tired of hearing as a part of our new business vernacular?

I say we vote them all off the island and move on. The fact is that business and customers have always been a moving target, but we have accelerated the momentum of certain strategies to be sure. The good news is that Customer Experience (CX) remains the fastest path to sales growth and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

"Now is the time to double down on the fundamentals that drive experience – and ensure that you have taken the time to understand how they translate into the current marketplace. These fundamental elements remain relevant, but not fixed. They rhyme more than they repeat."

That is what brought me to the 4xi team – there is so much opportunity out there as boundless change impacts businesses, employees, and customers. As I founded my company Ignite Your Service, I also wanted to ensure that I was able to help unite collaboration and complementary services to benefit organizations in powerful ways. That is why joining 4xi as a consulting customer experience strategist and CXO seemed like a logical extension of my purpose.

These fundamentals have fueled my CX strategy creation and deployment for many years – and they have been proven to bring results.

Journey is the Key

Customer journey is the linchpin of delivering value for customers. When you take the time to understand your customers’ needs and create solutions, you are positioned well for long term partnership. This requires that you listen, observe, and collaborate from the point of view of your clients, customers, and consumers to plot their journey in real time. From there moving to eliminate hassles, snags, and obstacles will make it easy to do business with you, building trust and loyalty.

Empathy is the Catalyst

Empathy has always been important to great customer experiences, but Covid-19 has made it imperative. Customers, guests, clients, and consumers have come to need understanding and patience more than ever before.

Empathy is about understanding the point of view of the person across from you. However, it does not mean that you have to agree with it. The understanding that comes from empathy will help you drive anticipatory service and the occasional pieces of surprise and delight.

Organizations can exemplify this most readily when serving customers. That said, you can deliver organizational empathy by looking at the marketplace and business model of a company or client and then delivering the solutions they need to be successful. This will mean a hiring and selection strategy that prioritizes skills such as listening, emotional intelligence, and positivity.

Leadership is the Fuel

Operationalizing customer experience is often where businesses find themselves flat-footed. There is no lack of leaders who can create strategies and vision statements that embody the perceived values of an organization. But without training, leadership, and follow up, these will remain laminated pages on a breakroom wall with little relation to the true company culture.

What has become clear during the Coronavirus pandemic is that training has not been a priority. Often the training budget is slashed early on when the balance sheet is off kilter, and this has been the reality of our current economic downturn.

Friction is the Obstacle

The natural output of a journey mapping strategy is the identification of friction points in the customer experience. Often these take the form of ridiculous fees, silly policies, and rules that simplify life for the company at the expense of the customer.

In today’s climate, customers have become more accustomed to individualized attention fueled by personalization and flexibility. These are not new customer demands, but much like remote work and video conferencing, the expectations have been accelerated by the pandemic.

Just watch the hotel and airline industries for examples here – they have all but done away with cancellation penalties and change fees. This trend will continue, and this is a chance for all of us to evaluate our policies for reasonability.

Growth is the Output

Now the natural question from all of this is “so what?” Customer experience is a business strategy that unites safety, quality, hospitality, and simplicity in ways that drive trust and loyalty with a business or brand. The output of quality customer experience is ultimately business growth and market share.

According to American Express - "90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company."

That is a staggering, but not surprising number when you think about the value add that customer experience brings to the lives of customers.

The simple truth is that many organizations have been cutting their way to profitability and stock price during this economic downturn. The tradeoff in this mindset is value versus commodity. Businesses that do not bring more than just a product or service will be 100% dependent on price to build their customer base.

This is less sustainable in the long term than bringing experience and value, as this lowers price sensitivity and also creates relationships that are more durable over time and likely to survive the occasional hiccup in service.

"There has never been a more important time to invest in your Customer Experience. Now, more than ever, customers and consumers have the ability to make alternative choices and to find those products and services that not only meet their needs of today but more importantly satisfy their needs for tomorrow."

Tony Johnson, Founder of Ignite Your Service Training and 4xi Customer Experience Consultant and strategist, lives in Central Florida, the hospitality capital of North America. He can help your organization create customer experience strategies and training with a future looking mindset.

Tony has extensive experience in higher education, healthcare, business and industry, restaurants, sports and entertainment, and leisure, helping organizations:

  • Map their customer journey and identify improvements

  • Create, implement, and sustain their customer experience strategies and programs

  • Create leadership development and workplace culture initiatives

  • Implement Voice of the Customer (VOC) programs

  • Create front line employee and leadership training programs

  • Connect their brand vision into operational behaviors and tactics

Come join the conversation! Investing in Your Customers for Your Future Success.

Tony Johnson has a background in hospitality and retail management – leading large and diverse teams to grow sales and delight customers over 2 decades. He served as Customer Experience Officer for 4 years with Aramark Corporation, leading their global CX strategy and deployment for their food and facilities businesses. Tony is now the owner of Ignite Your Service Training and Strategy, where he is proud to partner with 4xi Global Consulting as CXO and CX strategist. The power of the 4xi collective allows Tony’s customer centric approach to seamlessly integrate and complement the host of other experts available to help your business thrive and inspire the future of work, together.

To learn more about how Tony and 4xi can help you build your Customer Experience Journey for the future, contact Tony at


4xi Global Workplace Consulting & Solutions provides a range of services to support Corporations, Service Providers, Innovators, and Accelerators to navigate the world of work. Inspiring the future of work, together.

4xi is proud to be Chair of WORKTECH Academy for North America and a member of its Leadership Advisory Board. 4xi is a Global Ambassador for WORKTECH Academy.

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