Customer journey will be reborn and start breaking down silos
By now, the concept of customer journey has been known for a quite some time. But what we are seeing based on thousands and thousands of customer interactions is that this ideology is re-emerging. Companies will also be reeling their KPIs and metrics to service customer journeys but also use the same ideology for innovations and service improvements as well as improving their internal well being! That being said, I believe 2019 will be the year that companies really start breaking their data silos and stop using separate systems to collect the data. The single touchpoint approach had a long run – but it’s time for change. The realm of customer experience that focuses on the customer journey and sentiment as they traverse through the product/service is helping define the lifetime value of a customer. There are tremendous opportunities with the emergence of customer data platforms that go beyond the 360-degree view of a customer to enable cohorts and clusters to better target for up-sell/cross-sell.
The second coming of the employee experience
Many times in the hassle of trying to improve customer experiences, we tend to forget that it is our own people that create those experiences. Happy employees create happy customers. And it is crucial that your employees as well as your customers feel that their voice is being heard and their needs are being attended to. This seems to be catching on! For the first time in 10 years, we are seeing lots of investments in measuring and improving employee experience and companies are taking this matter more seriously.
Digital integration continues
Companies will continue to take the next steps in using integrations and automating their processes to improve their customer experience. This is a global phenomenon and cannot be neglected in the CX world. Better data will allow for a more frictionless system to system experience and better tracking throughout the customer journey. Managing the entire process automatically is becoming an everyday event for marketers and CX professionals.
New CX leaders will emerge
To see that someone is a “Chief Customer Experience Officer” is still quite rare and it will likely continue to be for some time. Mainly because there are very few people on the market that actually understand that better customer experiences lead to overall company growth. Now, this is of course controversial because companies are racing to make CX their main strategy for competitiveness. That being said, there will be more and more incompetent CX managers on the market and it will still take more time for them to gain experience. But also it warms my soul to say that there are more and more very high-level professionals that are moving to senior positions faster than ever!
Connecting CX to business objectives
This might sound a bit obvious but during my career I have seen countless companies and leaders who do CX “just because you need to” or “because it’s trendy right now”. From my perspective, I see that this fad is finally declining and companies are trying to understand how to connect CX with their other business objectives. It might be as simple as bringing together simple sales data to see some correlation or something a bit more complex depending on the industry.
One of the best ways to harness CX data is to link it to increased sales (NPS trend x sales trend), exposure (How many reviews are we creating?), and loyalty as a predictor of future consumer behavior. This becomes increasingly important because promoters are extremely likely to recommend the company to others. In contrast, detractors are extremely unlikely to make recommendations and are responsible for 80% to 90% of a company’s negative word of mouth. I can also add that about 73% of the promoters spread positive word of mouth! So in the end, the most important thing is that you ask yourself “How does this support my business goals?” and act accordingly.
The next generation of AI
With the help of new technologies and AI, businesses are going to be able to take more action on their data – real actionable insights. Machine learning, AI, and heuristic neural networks are giving this technology the ability to combine scenarios, increase understanding, and make real-time predictive decisions. When natural language processing and intelligence categorization are combined to help data analytics, we will see a huge leap in intelligence. This development is still baby steps but crucial to get it right at first. If intelligent categorization does not work, it is merely impossible to move to the next step of predictive analytics.
With these, it is good to jump to 2019 and rock your customers’ world even bigger and better!
Jaakko is an award-winning CX professional and entrepreneur at Feedbackly, founder and community professional at the biggest entrepreneurial digital community in Finland – Yrittäjä.io. He is a notorious keynote speaker from entrepreneurial stories to day to day human communications and customer experiences.