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The future Customer Experience has sustainability at its core. Can this be the new win-win Strategy for Businesses?

The future Customer Experience has sustainability at its core. Can this be the new win-win Strategy for Businesses?

What makes some companies more successful than others? The top S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 business performance data shows a clear correlation: those companies listen to their customers - and act on it.

In today's increasingly conscious and informed society, integrating sustainability as part of customer practices and touchpoints is vital for strategic growth.

Modern consumers favour brands committed to sustainability, making their integration a must. Aligning values, embracing transparency, leveraging technology, and nurturing a culture of care for customers and the environment, is crucial.

Are you ready to dive into the convergence of sustainability and customer experience? In this article, I’ll provide key insights into how businesses can leverage this approach for growth.

Consumer Preferences for Sustainable Brands

Research shows that consumers are increasingly environmentally aware and their brand loyalty is given to brands prioritising sustainability. According to a Nielsen report, 73% of global consumers are willing to modify their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact. This shift in consumer behaviour profoundly affects their overall relationship with a brand.

When consumers align with a brand's sustainability efforts, it creates a sense of shared values, creating a stronger emotional connection. This connection leads to increased loyalty and advocacy, attracting and retaining more customers. Businesses that prioritise sustainability, and meet consumer expectations gain a more favourable perception and a stronger brand value.

Look at it as a chain reaction: Customer Experience (CX) is about emotions (i.e. feeling identified with a brand or feeling you trust a brand); emotions drive behaviours (like purchase decisions); and repeated behaviours become habits (your brand becomes the ‘go-to’ of customers…). Once the purchase habit is formed, there is a lower chance of losing your customer. Hence, getting your CX right and brand personality defined, is the first step for repeat customers.

Ask yourself: Are you implementing sustainable practices? Are those oriented to improve customer experience? Are you communicating such practices through customer interactions?

Value-Alignment: Sustainability to create an Emotional bond

The emotional connection between a brand and its consumers is crucial in establishing lasting and meaningful relationships. It is even more powerful than a loyalty programme. Aligning the brand's values and priorities/strategies with consumer’s values, especially in terms of sustainability, cultivates a deeper emotional bond. When customers perceive that a brand genuinely cares about environmental or societal issues, it triggers a sense of shared purpose and responsibility. Consumers are more likely to engage with and remain loyal to brands that echo their values and beliefs. This emotional connection transcends a mere transactional relationship. If you have a transactional relationship with your customer, you are easily replaceable. Hence, having sustainability at the core of a brand’s identity is becoming a potent strategy to create and grow a loyal customer base.

Ask yourself: Do you know what are the values of your customers? Do you know their priorities and behaviours? Do you have strategies that align with those values?

Operational Benefits: The unsung hero of CX

Behind every CX issue is an operational inefficiency driven either by people, processes or technology.

Did you know that sustainability initiatives often result in operational efficiencies? Reducing waste (and by waste, I mean any type of inefficiencies), contributes to a healthier planet and leads to cost savings for the business. Such savings can be redirected towards improving product quality, lowering prices, or investing in further sustainability efforts. This all translates into an enhanced customer experience, as customers receive more value for money while benefiting the environment.

Ask yourself: Are you aware of the operational blocking points when delivering experience to your customers? Are there sustainable solutions that can tackle those blocking points?

Transparency and Trust

Edelman Trust Barometer highlights trust as a critical factor affecting customer loyalty and, consequently, increasing revenue. Transparency builds customer trust. Transparency about emissions and ESG initiatives demonstrates a company’s commitment to being responsible and accountable towards the world’s pressing issues.

Ask yourself: Do you have a clear ESG strategy? Have you made your staff part of your ESG and CSR efforts?

Building Culture

Creating a customer-centric culture is critical to ensuring an exceptional customer experience. It involves instilling customer-caring behaviours within employees and creating a work environment where meeting customer needs and expectations is a top priority. Incorporating environment-caring behaviours into this cultural shift is equally essential.

As Steve Jobs said, you need to start by defining what is important for your customer, and then work backwards from that – your company values and culture should be aligned with your customer’s priorities and values.

By encouraging employees to adopt sustainable practices and demonstrating how these align with the organisation's values, businesses can create a culture that prioritises both customer satisfaction and sustainability.

This dual focus leads to an integrated approach where employees understand the impact of their actions on both customers and the environment, ultimately contributing to a holistic and improved customer experience.

Ask yourself: Have you trained your staff on sustainable behaviours? Have you trained your staff on behaviours that will build customer trust?

Technology's Role

Advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) offer innovative solutions to make sustainability efforts more transparent and efficient.

AI can be employed to implement chatbots or digital twins and optimise interactions between departments (we have seen at least a 20% productivity increase), hence reducing scope 1 emissions and improving customer experience. AI can also analyse vast amounts of data related to sustainability and CX initiatives, enabling businesses to make informed decisions and optimise their strategies based on evolving customer needs. Consider also Blockchain as a reliable way to keep records of a company's sustainability efforts, enhancing credibility and driving customer trust.

Ask yourself: Have you explored how digital twins can help your CX and ESG efforts? How can AI help you elevate your brand and accelerate your ESG journey?

Case Study Examples

1. Patagonia: The renowned outdoor apparel brand sets the benchmark for sustainability-driven customer experience. Their dedication to eco-friendly practices, like using recycled materials, strikes a chord with environmentally conscious customers, building a loyal following.

2. Tesla: The electric vehicle and clean energy giant epitomises the fusion of sustainability and CX. Tesla's promise of sustainability in its electric cars and renewable solutions, attracts loyal customers aligned with environmental values, driving solid business growth. Tesla doesn’t necessarily have the best cars, but why are their cars so desirable?

3. Unilever: A global consumer goods powerhouse, Unilever pioneers sustainability integration. Their Sustainable Living Plan reduces environmental impact while strengthening customer relationships. Unilever's commitment to eco-friendliness enhances customer experiences, driving enduring loyalty.

Brands like Patagonia, Tesla, and Unilever prove that the blend of customer-centric sustainability works. It creates a win-win for the environment and business revenue.

Axis Partners: Enabling Sustainable Transformations

Does this article ring a bell? Get in touch with us if you want to know how to put the wheels in motion or register your interest for a call back here.

We help organisations optimise performance through the eyes of the customer. Our CX, Strategy and Innovation projects, tackle pressing subjects like ESG; transforming culture while delivering results.

Explore our proprietary framework “CultuVAte – The Experience LoopTM” that creates a “Purpose-to-Perception Value Chain”. Our approach starts by understanding the customer to drive culture, behaviours, mechanisms, organisational purpose, values, and strategies. This proven framework drives sustainable CX excellence. Every organisation that has adopted this model has experienced success.

Unlock Sustainable Success with Axis Partners

At Axis Partners, we're committed to propelling businesses towards sustainable progress through customer experience and culture. Our comprehensive services are the key to achieving this dual goal:

1. Strategic Direction – creating a Purpose-to-Perception value chain: “CultuVAte – The Experience LoopTM”, our proprietary approach, merges CX and sustainability in strategic planning, from purpose definition to nurturing a culture that resonates with customers, employees, and the environment.

2. Customer Experience Excellence: We pinpoint CX issues through data-driven insights, enabling organisations to fine-tune strategies and deliver exceptional experiences.

3. Data-Driven Performance: Our AI-powered solutions measure and interpret CX, employee engagement, and sustainability metrics, providing actionable insights for improvement.

4. Culture and Change: We guide seamless transitions and align stakeholders with strategies through targeted change management.

5. Innovation and Transformation: Axis Partners leads digital and innovative projects, fostering sustainable growth.

6. Training and Development: Customized programs sharpen employee skills, aligning them with customer-centric and ESG values, creating the workforce of the future.

Collaborate with Axis Partners to build a sustainable, customer-centric future. For a pathway to lasting success, connect with us at

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