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Topic(s): Hello Customer Customer Engagement Customer Experience CX & Business Strategy

Creating a strong value proposition in challenging times

The past two years, global trends (health, inflation) have led to significant changes in customer expectations and consumer behavior. To overcome these challenges, it's crucial for organizations to understand what their customers truly need and identify gaps in their service or product offering to adapt their strategy. Shortly put: especially in challenging times, organizations have to create a strong value proposition that shows they understand their customers' needs.

For this blog post, we consulted CX thought leader Steven Van Belleghem to share his insights on four challenges companies face today:

  1. How can you stay customer-centric in increasingly digital times?
  2. How can you involve your entire organization in customer experience?
  3. How can you know that you're driving value for your customers with your products and services?
  4. How do you prioritize CX initiatives in challenging times?


Challenge I: “During the pandemic, the world has become increasingly digital. That evolution is here to stay. How do you stay customer-centric and how can you keep that human touch in digital interactions?”

"An increase in digital doesn’t necessarily mean that business becomes less human. That is if you keep the person behind the customer in mind. As a brand, you need to be a partner-in-life to your customer, and digital opens up a whole new way for organizations to do this. It all starts with understanding the hopes, fears, dreams, and ambitions of the customer. What do they want to get out of their lives? Once you know, you need to think about how your organization can help the customer achieve this."

"A great example here is Lumi by Pampers. The first time I became a parent, I was super insecure. I had spreadsheets to track my kid’s sleeping, eating, and toilet behavior. Pampers understands the stress and fear a newborn baby can bring for parents, so they came up with Lumi. Lumi contains a range of products: smart diapers, smart mattresses, and smart cameras... It also checks if your child is still breathing while it sleeps. The goal here wasn’t just to sell pampers. They understood the worries that new parents have, and created products that can proactively take some of their worries away. It’s digital, it’s human, and customer-centric all at once."


Challenge II: “Customer experience is a company-wide responsibility. How can you involve different departments of the organization to make sure that complex internal processes don't harm CX?"

"The best way to involve different departments is to show them what their impact is on the customer. This all starts with receiving customer feedback, as it makes the customer more tangible in the organization." To explain this, Steven used a football metaphor. "During the pandemic, football players had to play their matches without a live audience. The teams really missed that interaction. Why? Because they are used to getting instant, real-time feedback from ‘their customers’, the crowd. Even the management of a football team gets feedback on their decisions: they hear the ‘boo’s’, the ‘ooh’s’ and the ‘aah’s’ and the cheering every week. If you are so close to receiving feedback, you start to think about the implications of every decision you take."

"To this day, this is still an issue in many organizations. You need to have sufficient internal buy-in, and there has to be strong leadership that keeps CX alive. However, too often the customer is a theoretical concept, a statistic in a PowerPoint presentation. If you want to create a culture where every decision is made with the customer in mind, make sure that everyone can hear the ‘boo’s’ and the ‘aah’s’ directly from their customer. Let them understand what the implications are of specific actions on the customer. Explain to them in great detail how they add value or create frustrations. And confront them with the ‘boo’s’ and the ‘aah’s’ every week."


Challenge III: “How do we know if we are driving value for customers with our products and/or services?”

"If you want to know whether you’re creating value for the customer, you need to ask them. So the first thing organizations should do, if it’s not yet the case, is to develop listening skills. Many companies put products and services in the market because they believe they will create value. But your customers don’t necessarily always agree."

According to Steven, there are some CX steps companies need to go through if they want to become frontrunners. "First, they need a good product. Secondly, they need well-developed digital interfaces. Thirdly, they need to become a partner-in-life, and lastly, they have to create value for society. This model only works if you start from the ground up. If you create value for society, but your product isn’t good or your digital interfaces are not convenient, it won’t work. The key to all four steps is to listen to your customers and to understand how you can live up to their expectations in each of these four stages."


Challenge IV: “How do you get started and how do you prioritize CX initiatives, especially in these challenging times?”

In a lot of companies, CX doesn’t really lift off because it’s seen as a project that costs money, without knowing the exact ROI upfront. So, Steven’s advice is to look at CX from a pragmatic point of view. A good way to get started with customer experience is to play the “zero budget impact list”. The first step is to create two lists:

  1. What is frustrating to your customers?
  2. What is exciting for your customers?

"Once you have these lists, you gather more insights on the topics that are either frustrating or exciting (capture feedback!). Next, you start with quick wins. On the one hand, look at the frustrations that are easy to solve, and remove them. On the other hand, double down on the elements that make customers happy."

"Speaking of zero budget, “the cheapest CX investments are free”. If there isn’t any budget available, ask yourself where you can add value that doesn’t cost anything: being proactive, being friendly... These are small improvements that don’t cost you anything, except for energy. Of course, energy is a scarce resource too. But if you don’t have money to make your customers happier, just remember that the CX efforts with the biggest impact are completely free."



Many organizations have overcome big challenges in the past two years, and it seems like we have another challenging year ahead. Understanding your customers is crucial to make sure your value proposition remains aligned with what your customer needs and expects from your brand. When everything else seems unsure, your customers are your sure go-to, your compass to navigate future decisions and adapt your strategy accordingly. 


Curious to know how Hello Customer can help you achieve this? Reach out to us or watch this short two-minute demo video