The top six CX trends to watch in 2018
It’s the start of the year and I have been browsing the business journals and blogs exploring the key customer experience (CX) trends that most companies seem to be focused on. As we are still in January there are dozens of articles suggesting the key CX trends for 2018, but based on my own experience and research I believe these are going to be the top 6 areas worth focusing on this year.
- Greater support for voice-enabled systems; Apple Siri, Google Home, Amazon Echo - we are getting used to voice being used for search and shopping. These devices are also being used to deal with customer service questions. Brands need to think about how they blend traditional voice support (with agents) with intelligent devices that may be able to answer a range of questions without ever needing to connect to an agent.
- Mobile; more customers will utilise apps and in many industries - such as retail - there will be a blending effect. Apps can be used to improve the in-store experience at the same time as being used in new ways at home. Customers who feel that the usual in-store experience is impersonal can be more engaged by shopping in-store AND using the app to enhance the experience.
- Omnichannel; the blending of channels is more complex than just supporting customer communication on multiple channels. I believe we will see a much stronger focus on how customers want to use different channels at different times of the day and at different times - for instance using chat when commuting on a train and voice from the office, but expecting the support process to be connected so one support enquiry can flow into the other. This is another area where customer expectations are going to drive a step forward in how brands manage their communication channels.
- Emotional personalisation; customers know how much data you have about their spending preferences. They see brands such as Facebook and Amazon offering highly personalised information and expect other brands to offer personalised services, recommendations, and deals. To just send the same offer to every customer looks insulting and lazy to many customers today.
- Revising your metrics; many organisations have moved to CX-focused metrics, such as NPS, but many contact centres are still focused on metrics designed for voice-based contact centres. It’s time to redesign metrics so that they can be applied to all the channels you are supporting in a way that recognises that each channel has different measurement requirements - you can’t measure and report on Twitter in the same way as a voice call.
- Augmented Reality (AR); The huge popularity of the Pokémon GO game showed how people would embrace AR once they understood how real images could be blended with information. Now car manufacturers are already creating Head-Up-Displays projecting information onto windscreens and retailers such as Ikea allow customers to see how furniture will look in their home just by using an AR app.
Leading on from several of these, but especially the points on metrics and omnichannel, will be the need to revise how agents are supported. Agents need the freedom to help customers, but ensuring they have all the answers and can hop channels as and when customers expect means that many contact centres will need to also revise their systems and processes.
Agents need help navigating this more complex customer journey because when the customer experience is focused on the relationship between brand and customer the customer can be in contact at any stage in their journey - thinking of a purchase, just asking a question, or asking for help after a purchase. This is a complex mix of sales, marketing, and support so I believe this improvement in agent support is another important area where we will see developments in 2018.
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