It’s time to put sustainability at the heart of customer experience transformation
Raymond Manookian of agency Zone says that technological advancement and sustainability can go hand-in-hand, and brands can build meaningful relationships with consumers while building a better future.
Sustainable CX transformation: both possible and essential, says Raymond Manookian of Zone / Melanfolia via Unsplash
The 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, better known as Cop28, finished last month. It was a melting pot of ideas. Among them were unique insights and inspirations from the intersection of innovation and sustainability, which are particularly pertinent to those of us in the customer experience (CX) and digital transformation sectors.
It was clear at this meeting of global minds and ideas that environmental sustainability must be central to our future digital transformation endeavors. The conference crystallized the role of (and responsibilities within) the CX industry, providing fresh clarity on how we can move forward responsibly and sustainably.
Stakeholder and partner engagement are imperative in driving any such transformation. Inspiring a fundamental shift in mindset, where ecological sustainability is seen as just as crucial as economic growth, is critical.
Cop28 underscored that sustainability strategies must be implemented in context-specific ways, taking into consideration local cultural and environmental specifics. Companies need to adopt a flexible, adaptable approach, recognizing that solutions that work in one region may not be effective in another. To successfully navigate this variability, they should seek out diverse perspectives, engage local stakeholders, and strive to create inclusive, equitable solutions. By embracing a dynamic and context-sensitive approach, companies can develop compelling, relatable sustainability initiatives that are effective across global contexts.
Patagonia, a company renowned for its commitment to sustainability, is a prime example of how integrating sustainability into a brand can enhance its value and deepen customer loyalty. Patagonia and its peers have shown how embracing sustainability can enhance brand value and deepen customer loyalty, but this move towards sustainability is about more than just meeting consumer demand. It’s also about creating a more environmentally responsible and resilient future for all stakeholders – and a better world for future generations.
Technological advancements that benefit the environment
Better data analytics and insights have a crucial role to play in helping us to understand consumer behavior and to measure the impact of sustainability initiatives. Data is the foundation on which companies can build strategies to balance profitability with positive environmental impact. By using data to inform decision-making, companies can align their business objectives with environmental goals, creating a win-win situation for both the planet and their bottom line.
Artificial Intelligence is transitioning, too – from a mere business efficiency tool to an aid for sustainable development. While there may be concerns about the environmental costs of running AI, it’s also important to recognize its potential benefits to the environment. For example, IBM’s AI-driven weather technology assists farmers in making environmentally conscious decisions, while AI broadly has vast potential for resource management and environmental care. By leveraging AI’s capabilities responsibly and sustainably, we can harness its power to create a better future for businesses and the planet.
Building better business and a brighter future
The shift toward sustainability presents companies with an opportunity to drive positive change with CX. By embracing sustainable practices and integrating them into customer engagement strategies, companies can differentiate themselves in the marketplace and cultivate loyalty that extends beyond traditional marketing approaches.
Consumers increasingly seek brands that reflect their values. Sustainability can play a crucial role here. By demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and actively engaging customers in this journey, companies can build trust, foster a community of like-minded people, and drive long-term loyalty.
In CX and digital transformation, we’re continually evolving to reflect a deeper purpose. We’re not just creating and implementing digital solutions; we have an integral role to play in making sure technology and sustainability can harmoniously coexist. Each strategy we develop and every experience we design provides an opportunity to blend technical expertise with environmental commitment.
The insights from Cop28 underscore the importance of integrating sustainability into the foundations of our industry. We must incorporate sustainable solutions into existing practices while building a future where business success and environmental responsibility are inseparable. This requires a delicate balance between strategic foresight and practical action, with the decisions and innovations we make today laying the groundwork for a harmonious and sustainable future.
By treating sustainability as a value rather than a trend, and incorporating it into our decision-making processes and actions, the industry can demonstrate our commitment to responsible and forward-looking practices. However, the need for sustainable transformation is urgent, and the window of opportunity is narrowing. Businesses must embrace sustainability as a core value and work with stakeholders and partners to drive positive change. The time is now.
Suggested newsletters for you
Content by The Drum Network member:
Zone is the customer experience agency inside Cognizant. We generate value for businesses by creating transformative customer experiences.
Zone does this for some of the world’s biggest brands at every stage of their transformation journey – whether that’s by deeply understanding customers to reimagine the journey, rapidly creating new products and services that deliver value, or by scaling innovation across large-scale enterprises.
Zone’s belief is that it’s not innovation until it’s in the hands of customers. And the agency’s team of 300 practitioners work in multi-disciplinary pods to create award-winning customer experiences for brands such as adidas, Aviva, BMW, Centrica, Electrolux, the FA and the John Lewis Partnership.
Zone is number 5 in eConsultancy’s Top 100 UK Digital Agencies Report.