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Phase 5 Readers' Top Insights Articles of 2023

As the year draws to a close, it seems like a great opportunity to reflect on all of the topics we’ve explored, the insights we’ve shared, and the new ways that we’ve shared them. Highlights from 2023 certainly include the launches of our Smarter Together Podcast, and our Phase 5 Webinar Series, two new options we developed for our clients, subscribers, and followers to stay informed about our latest findings. And speaking of findings, we’re very proud of our ground-breaking work this year, especially our 2023 Financial Services for Small Businesses (F2SB) Study, and our popular white paper, The Impact of AI on CX in FIs.

We’d be remiss if we’d didn’t mention some of the recognition and acknowledgements we were proud to receive this year, including:

Turning the focus back to our clients, subscribers, followers, and partners however, we want to dive deeper into the subject matter that resonated most with YOU. And so below is a summary of our Top 5 Insights blog articles from 2023, based on the number of page views this year to date (as of mid-December, 2023). Read through to refresh your memory on the key topics from the year, and/or to ensure you haven’t missed anything!

Top 5 Insights Blog Articles of 2023:

#5 Don’t Forget the Qualitative Research – a CX Case Study

Written by Qualitative Research and CX expert Suzie Goan, this article discusses how organizations can sometimes mistakenly rely too heavily on surveys alone, and miss out on the rich insights accessible through qualitative methods such as one-to-one interviews, focus groups, or in-situation observations. These techniques “provide an invaluable context for understanding the functional needs of customers as well as the more hidden, but equally important emotional needs.” In other words, without qualitative input, your strategic decision-making won’t be nearly as impactful as it could be.

Suzie backs up her hypothesis with a CX case study from the Healthcare Insurance industry which she personally worked on. Her story clearly illustrates the power of qualitative insights to effect meaningful change when they are applied to business strategy and put into action by an organization. Read the complete article for more details.

#4 Spotlight on Rachel Abugov – One of the Reasons We’re Smarter Together

One of Phase 5’s strengths is definitely its people. We are extremely proud of the variety of backgrounds and talents our employees have to offer, as well as the breadth of work experiences and specialized knowledge they bring to the table.

In January, 2023, as we were working hard to launch the Smarter Together podcast, we saw an opportunity to better introduce its host, Phase 5 Account Manager, Rachel Abugov. And so in this Insights article, we share excerpts from a conversation with Rachel, in which we got to dig deeper into her graduate work in sociology, her specialization in the impact of technology on society, and how all of that has applied to her career at Phase 5, specifically as part of the UX team, but also more broadly as an advocate of customer-centric strategy and design. Learn more about Rachel Abugov and get inspired!

#3 Payment Trends Expected to Disrupt the Banking Industry by 2025

Several factors can change the way consumers pay for goods and services. For example, the continuing digital transformation and evolution of technology have made contactless payments pervasive while making cash payments a rarity. As well, the ups and downs of the economy have an impact on how people choose to manage their payments. And of course, innovations that save time and add convenience always seem to be welcome.

As we entered 2023, accustomed to pandemic protocols and bracing for an uncertain economic year, we at Phase 5 wanted to gain insight into how the world of payments might continue to change over the course of the next 2 years. This article compiles some of our most pertinent findings based on the studies and research we’ve completed on this topic. Read the complete article.

#2 Customer Centricity to Grow Your Business, Even (Especially!) During Uncertain Times

2023 was shaping up to be bumpy year early on, with continuing inflation and political upheaval contributing to the situation. We heard from various organizations that they were feeling uncertain about the economy, and how best to navigate their business through it. With that, we decided to write a series of articles about how businesses can become more future-proof and resilient by becoming more customer-centric. The first of those articles was this one: Customer Centricity to Grow Your Business, Even (Especially) During Uncertain Times.

Over our 33 years helping clients at Phase 5, we’ve observed that the better an organization understand its customers and their changing needs in a time of uncertainty, the more effective it is at knowing what and how to change to meet those needs. We’ve seen how customer-centric insights have helped mitigate the impact of down times by sharpening Innovation and Customer Experience Management strategies. Whether through segment definition and prioritization, new product/service development, or through the elimination of pain points in digital interfaces (for example), a better understanding of customers reduces business risk and improves effectiveness. Learn more.

#1 Gen Z – The Power of Enhanced Surveys

This article was only published in late October, 2023, but it easily made the #1 spot in terms of page views. It addresses a burning question that many organizations are dealing with right now: how do we engage Generation Z? The digital landscape is continuously evolving, with Gen Z at the forefront. For brands and marketers researching Gen Z, keeping them engaged has become a challenge, especially in online surveys where attention spans are known to be short.

In response, Phase 5 conducted an experiment in July, 2023. It was an online survey of 952 Gen Z consumers (aged 18-29) in the US and Canada, and its goal was to determine if survey experience could impact engagement and data quality. The study yielded results that were both eye-opening and very actionable, with Phase 5 VP Schumaila Kumar breaking it down into key findings and more specifically, what this means for brands. Don’t miss out on this fantastic article that will change the way you design for and work with this important segment.

Honorable Mention: AI Enables Improved Customer Experience Through Personalization

It wouldn’t be a 2023 review if we didn’t mention AI. In May, 2023, Phase 5 Partner Arnie Guha released his paper, “The Impact of AI on Customer Experience in Financial Institutions” which generated lots of discussion, and also earned Arnie an interview with DM magazine. With the Insights blog, we were inspired to dive deeper into the topic of AI & CX, and apply it across sectors beyond financial services. And so this article shares examples of how advanced technology is creating opportunities for CX across industries, including retail and manufacturing. Read the complete article here.


2023 was an exciting year for Phase 5, with new challenges, new studies, new communications channels, and new topics to explore. We sincerely appreciate the support and continued readership of all of our clients, partners, subscribers, and followers. If you have any topics you would like us to explore now, or in the coming months, please contact us. We look forward to continuing to share timely, relevant, and ground-breaking insights with you in 2024.

Written by Stephan Sigaud

Stephan Sigaud, MBA, is Phase 5’s EVP of Marketing. Stephan is passionate about partnering with clients to address their challenges and opportunities around customer centricity. Stephan has more than 25 years’ experience in Market Research and Customer Loyalty and Experience and is a Board Director of the Insights Association. He has also been volunteering with the Customer Experience Professionals Association (as past Chair of the CXPA Toronto Network) and the Canadian Marketing Association (as member of the Leaders Network and past co-Chair of the CMA CX Council).