Customer Experience Trends for 2016Steve Dudley
2016 will be the year that Customer Experience moves higher on the agenda. It will no longer be the preserve of enlightened CEOs who adopted a customer centric approach and reaped the benefits while proving the business case for it. According to Forrester’s Customer Index these customer-centric companies gained 43% in performance compared to a 33.9% decrease for companies who have neglected Customer Experience.
Four key trends that will help drive the move to adopting a customer centric focus include:
1. Increasingly ‘Smart’ Customers
2016 will see the continued rise of the discerning, empowered customer who expect a convenient, seamless experience that is faster than ever before. And who are ready to take their business elsewhere if their needs are not met. Research by Accenture shows that this “Switching Economy” is up 29% since 2010 as companies struggle to keep up with their empowered, non-stop customers.
In response organisations will increasingly embrace Customer Experience making it a core element of their strategic plan as they seek to differentiate their offering by enhancing their Customer Experience and increasing customer loyalty, and thus move ahead of their competitors. As the Harvard Business Review noted: ‘Increased customer loyalty is the single most important driver of long-term financial performance’.
2. The Mobile-First Customer Experience
The statistics around the development of the mobile Customer Experience are, quite simply, staggering. With over 2 billion smartphones in use, mobile Customer Experience will soar in 2016. A recent study showed that 77% of those aged 18 to 24 use mobile devices at least once per month for customer support. 90% of consumers said they have had poor experiences seeking customer support on mobile, and, by the end of 2016, mobile search will generate 27.8 billion more queries than desktop searches.
This is a key area for Customer Experience with exciting developments in apps that serve as mobile shopping assistants in the customers’ palms. These apps will also interact with in-store beacons to support an augmented in-store experience, making it easy for customers to quickly access pricing and product information they want with minimal friction.
3. Quicker, easier ways to understand the Voice of your Customers
Technology in 2016 is increasingly useful to better understand what customers want. Mobile-focused, real-time, media-rich technology is now readily accessible to organisations wanting an objective understanding of their customers. However, the challenge remains in effectively embedding the programme processes and ensuring the employees are engaged in it.
Irrespective of whether it is qualitative or quantitative a successful Voice of your Customer programme must include:
- Gathering and listening to customer feedback
- Interpreting the resulting information
- Reacting and make the required changes to improve the experience
- Monitoring and measuring
- Repeating the above!
Organisations who really know and understand their customer’s needs, wishes, likes, dislikes and aspirations in 2016 by embedding an effective Voice of your Customer programme will be those who are best placed to deliver a great Customer Experience.
4. OMNI Channel Refinement
The trend to unite online and traditional brick-and-mortar channels and operations in 2016 continues, but with more focus on breaking down information silos to better meet the needs of ‘everywhere’ consumers whilst adding the human touch to technology touchpoints.
The continued lack of a joined up thinking creates considerable frustration for customers, leading to high churn rates. In particular:
- Having to repeat their story over and over again
- Inaccurate or out of date information being held
- Lack of personalisation
- Lack of consistency across channels
- Not being able to communicate using their preferred channel
The organisations which are able to address these issues will be the ones which will achieve significant differentiation, leading to higher sales and profit. This is a game changer in the world of Customer Experience.
2016 promises to be an exciting year for Customer Experience as technology advances and the business case for delivering a great Customer Experience reaches a broader audience. To discuss any of these trends and their impact on your organisation please call Steve Dudley on +44 (0)1604 805 753.