Key Customer Experience Trends in 2018Steve Dudley
1. The continued rise of the Empowered Customer
This has been a trend which has been with us for a few years and will continue to accelerate in 2018. The development of technology and the growth of Social Media means that the customer has a voice, a very loud and influential voice. The smarter organisations are engaging their customers at a much earlier point and gaining their input and thoughts on their plans for the future. These are also the organisations which are leading the way in Customer Experience (CX) and, not surprisingly, seeing a faster growth in all business KPI’s, particularly sales revenue and profit.
The entire ethos of CX is around emotionally understanding and connecting with your customers. Personalisation is a core part of this and goes a long way to developing the overall experience the customer has. This is powerful in many, many ways. One such way is when things go wrong (as they inevitably do). If the emotional connection, through personalisation for example, is there, issues can be resolved much quicker and invariably at a much lower cost.
3. Self Service customer support
Customers love organisations which make doing business with them easy (may sound like a fairly obvious statement bit it is incredible how many organisations make it really hard for customers to a) get what they want and then b) give them their money. Customers also like to be able to resolve problems/queries themselves and the more avenues you can provide for doing so, the more people will respond positively.
4. Omni channel
Often when starting out, companies usually choose multi-channel over omnichannel because it is quickly setup and easier to manage. However, with the widespread adoption of modern technology by the average consumer, the demand for omnichannel customer experience is greater than ever in 2018. Disconnected systems and silos (different departments which don’t talk to one another / understand one another are the main obstacles here). With techno savvy customers having an increasing number of touch points with an organisation, they expect (indeed DEMAND) a seamless experience where ever and how ever they do business with your organisation.
5. Journey Mapping
One of the big trends towards the end of 2017 and which will grow even faster in 2018 is organisations recognising that they need to see, experience and understand their business from their customers’ perspective. This may sound very simple and very basic – it is not! It is amazing how many companies think they understand this, but in fact very few do. Journey Mapping allows you to break down your customer’s journey, analyse each and every touch point and really understand the experience you are currently delivering (versus what the customer actually wants) with a view to enhancing the end-to-end CX.
Lastly one to watch…
Whist not necessarily a key trend for 2018, but certainly coming up fast on the rails, is artificial intelligence (AI). The capabilities and power behind AI are growing at a rapid pace. Previously AI solutions have been very costly, but we are now seeing smaller companies being able to make use of AI solutions at an affordable price.
The other interesting development around AI has been the use of it to help not only the customer, but also support the employee. Call centres for example use AI to listen to conversations between their staff and customers and instantly give the employee the information needed to answer the customer’s questions.