With so many companies making it a priority to transform their customer experience, any company not doing so will be left in the dust. Companies with a stellar digital customer experience can command premiums of up to 25% on their products.
On the other hand, a poor CX can lose company customers; over 33% of customers would consider switching to the competition after just one incident.
CX has become so important that researchers predict it will overtake price and product as the top competitive differentiator. With the stakes higher than ever, here are six customer experience trends to be aware of in order to beat your competition.
Customer Experience Trends Everyone Must Know About
1. Finding a balance between humanity and automation
Automation is a great way for a company to reduce costs associated with customer service as well as speed up resolution time for simple service requests. But, how do consumers feel about this?
Human customer service agents are still a MUST for businesses. Consumers in 2019 are still reluctant to trust chatbots; just 63% of consumers are satisfied with service from a chatbot, assuming they can request a human customer service rep if needed.
Humans are still crucial to the service aspect of digital CX, at this point in time. They should still be used in combination with chatbots to provide the best customer experience possible.
2. An increasing presence of bots in digital customer experience
These first two customer experience trends may seem contradictory at the surface, but they are not! Chatbots, such as Drift, are more than just customer service tools. Chatbots can be great for marketing and sales as well.
Also, chatbots are being integrated with social media channels (most notably Facebook Messenger) to automatically respond to direct messages from consumers.
Chatbots provide two main advantages over chatting with a human: speed and availability. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can handle more queries than humans, and do so at a near-instant speed.
These advantages hold especially important to baby boomers that may not be as tech-savvy as their younger counterparts.
Look for businesses to make better use of chatbots in the coming years to handle simple queries and support requests.
3. Customers expect hyper-personalized experiences
Consumers want hyper-personalized experiences more than ever, and big data analytics provides the findings to make this possible.
According to Accenture, 75% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that knows their name, their purchase history, and/or recommends items based on their purchase history.
Companies can achieve this by segmenting their marketing campaigns based on consumer characteristics. Most typically, this is seen in email marketing, or on e-commerce webpages.
For example, people who have previously purchased jeans from a clothing retailer may get recommendations for other pairs of pants, or perhaps other garments that can combine with the jeans to make a great outfit.
This is the type of personalization that is possible through refining the digital customer experience.
4. Consumers highly value transparency
Transparency in the digital age is one of the most important and pressing customer experience trends. Being highly transparent in terms of advertisement, pricing, business practices, etc. can help build and maintain trust with your consumers.
A top example of transparency is being transparent with consumer data collected and used by the company. GDPR is the data transparency laws in Europe and the de facto standard for the rest of the world! Note that your organization’s website must already be GDPR compliant if one of the following is true:
- Your firm is located within the EU,
- Your firm is NOT located within the EU, but offers goods & services to EU residents OR monitors the behavior of EU residents.
Transparency and honesty can also be shown through a company’s marketing efforts. Customers appreciate genuine messaging that coincides with a brand’s values.
Dishonesty in the digital age is often exposed anyways and may break consumer trust that took years to build.
Look for transparency practices to improve and perhaps go above & beyond the GDPR. This will especially be important since more consumer data is being collected digitally than ever before.
5. Data protection is crucial
While the collection of consumer data is one issue, the protection of data is a whole other world. A data breach can ruin digital customer experience and erode trust in the business.
There are many ways companies are improving data security company-wide in 2019. One such example is digital security awareness campaigns and making digital security a compulsory part of online training.
Given that 72% of data breaches are caused by fraudulent company emails, this can be an effective method. Other modern techniques include:
- Mandatory two-factor authentication for employees
- Higher encryption standards for consumer data
- Better management of employee permissions and access to sensitive data
- Consumer awareness campaigns to help protect against fraudulent emails targeting the consumer
6. The hype around AI is growing, not fading
AI may be one of the most disruptive technologies seen in a long time. It will aid in transforming the digital customer experience as we know it, and many customer experience trends are based off AI developments.
Two of the above-mentioned customer experience trends are backed by AI technology: chatbots and personalization. 38% of businesses are using some form of AI technology; it is projected that the number will grow to 62% by the end of 2019.
While companies are using AI to get ahead, there will soon be a time where an AI investment is needed just to get even!
Overall there is plenty of exciting new customer experience trends in the digital world. Many of these are based on disruptive new technologies such as AI. It’s important to stay up to date on these trends as the landscape is always changing. For now, customer experience trumps all!