2017 has drawn to a close, a brand new year is upon us and so it’s about time we started to look forward to the exciting new possibilities for Customer Experience trends for 2018. We will take a look at what is most likely to happen with CX measurement over the coming months and give some insights into how they will shape the world of customer experience.
Firstly, lets start by saying that there will likely not be any HUGE changes to last year’s trends but rather we will see old trends becoming even stronger. 2018 will see the overall rise in popularity of customer experience, with a particular focus on personalization, multichannel and the customer journey. The growth of customer experience globally this year will be heavily reliant on C-level awareness, which means that top-level executives and company leaders will be placing a much stronger focus on increasing the customer experience and monetizing their customer journey.
Here are the customer experience trends for 2018!
Customer Journey Will Be Faster And More Personalized
Multichannel customer experience management is the norm these days in all businesses. Customers are used to interacting with your company in many different channels, both physically and digitally. The grocery store cashier or the ticket booth operator is no longer the only contact point for the customer. Expectations of a seamless experience, regardless of the channel, are growing rapidly. If a customer gets exceptionally good service today, he will almost certainly expect it the next time as well.
Because of this customers expect to receive a personal, consistent service and experience across all channels, which will naturally raise expectations even further. In order for a company to be able to offer this seamless experience at all touchpoints fluidly, they need to be able to picture the customer’s entire journey and measure each point separately. It is equally important to understand the personal nature of each journey and the fact that a customer cannot be forced onto a specific path. Instead the company should strive to create a path that is as natural as possible for the customer to walk through and to return to the next time.
It All Depends On The Weather
As many of us know, the shopping behavior of your customer depends on a multitude of issues; most obviously, the weather. More ice cream and cold drinks will be sold on a sunny summer day than when it rains. More online shopping in winter than summer. Simple, right? The connection is stronger than you might imagine, especially with respect to customer feedback.
The point is not so much how the weather relates to the customer experience, although that is important to remember. It is more so that the connection between different data sources, both public and external, to shopping behavior and customer feedback is extremely strong and will be a major focus for companies over the next 12 months. Companies are striving to attach measured data automatically to the likes of weather, purchase information and marketing data, so as to better predict how customer experience strategies need to adapt due to external factors.
Companies have talked about measuring and optimizing customer satisfaction for a long time already, so moving to a profitable customer experience measurement strategy is often challenging. The norm as of late has been to implement an obligatory satisfaction survey conducted once or twice a year. However, with the ever changing landscape of customer touchpoints within a company this periodic and sporadic approach to feedback just won’t cut it any longer. This year will see more of a focus on smarter, more continuous measurements in the areas where problems actually lie. When a new problem area is found, the system will automatically start to look for more information to better understand the customer’s problems. Therefore the systems will be permanent, but will also be able to cater for the ever-changing circumstances.
Measuring multichannel and omnichannel experience will get a whole new meaning as a result. Phones, e-mail, social media, chat tools, store solutions, websites and many other channels are now where you can listen to your customers. The question is, how easy is it to manage all of this? Fortunately, technology will help you solve this problem and in 2018 more and more companies will move to omnichannel measurement tools like Feedbackly to improve their customer experience.
The Customer Experience Cloud Is Coming
Cloud computing has completely taken over the world, with huge databases now at our fingertips at the click of a mouse. Big data has brought a huge amount of power to consumers as a result, which of course means that it was only a matter of time before customer experience started to leverage this power. In 2018 the Customer Experience cloud will revolutionize the world of CX by integrating with marketing, sales and other big databases to create a complete, all-round experience database. This will bring together things like customer data, digital experience and personalization to create an efficient, modern way to manage interactions with customers.
Marketers used to have to juggle numerous tools to stay on top of customer trends, to keep up with how they were communicating with the brand, and to discover which products they were interested in the most. Without integration, so much time has been lost to inefficiency, and up until recently brands never truly had a full picture of their customers. Customers don’t care if the person they are talking to works in marketing, sales, or IT – they just want to have a personalized interaction with the brand and that’s what Customer Experience Cloud will bring to the table this year.
What Will AI, VR and AR Bring To CX?
Buzz word after buzz word, right? Well not really anymore.
Until recently these terms represented something intangible and futuristic, and were often seen as areas that have very little effect on customer experience and the customer experience market. But during 2018 we are almost certainly going to see a huge increase in the use of AI, in particular in the world of CX. Artificial intelligence is going to break through in a major way and we at Feedbackly are making certain of that with our intelligent analytics tools.
Virtual reality and augmented reality however, with all of their potential, are still not quite at the forefront of CX strategies. It is very unclear as to when we will start to really see what kind of an effect they will have on the market, but until then we can still dream.
The End Game – Customer Experience Is Turning Into Sales. Finally!
Yes – of course there are blogs, research papers and books saying that “you will sell more and have a better customer experience!” but in reality, none of these authors know your business specifically and business owners are skeptical about the connection between theory and reality.
Fortunately, it seems that there is now going to be a big change in that area. One thing that will most certainly happen in 2018 is that we are going to finally see how customer experience and customer experience data is actually turning into sales! But how?
Well for the first time we can now measure the whole journey and we have started to actually do something with the data. Customer experience data collected on Feedbackly can actually be used to create more efficient re-marketing (pure money), create better converting and automated upsell opportunities based on data (even more money!). And finally the possibility of knowingly improving conversions and creating strong customer loyalty using CX measurement tools is a reality.
So here at Feedbackly we are excited for what 2018 will bring to the world of CX. It is going to be an exceptionally exciting year for customer experience and Feedbackly intends on being the pioneers of many of these opportunities. With the rise of AI, big data, multichannel measurement and C-Level customer experience strategies, the world is yet to see what CX has to offer.
Jaakko Männistö – CEO, Feedbackly
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.