Leading Customer Experience Trends for 2017
A modern consumer is highly educated, empowered by technology, and spoiled for choice. Hence, businesses are making an effort to align their marketing with customer wants and needs and become truly “customer-centric”. More than 82% of companies around the globe acknowledge that customer experience is a competitive differentiator, while 77% of them recognize it as a crucial strategic performance indicator. Enhancing the customer experience is an ongoing, but also a daunting task, since consumer expectations rise and behavior changes at a rapid pace.
The power of data
In order to get the customers, business organizations must first acquire the knowledge. Advanced data analytics pose an indispensable asset, enabling one to break new ground and personalize their services. The ultimate goal is to obtain actionable information and support the agent performance and decision-making across the board. The services are tailored and customized according to user profiles, still many organizations struggle to grasp the big picture and capture the entirety of customer experience. This problem often occurs due to the limited technical capacity, complex software tools, and the sheer amount of available data.
Virtual assistants are gaining traction across the online landscape. This trend has been established as a customer application and revolves around two-way communication with a personal device. As technology advances by leaps and bounds, we also witness the rise of intelligent virtual assistants, such as Alexa and Siri. By 2030, 30% of browsing could be conducted using a voice, which is to say that businesses will have to embrace speak recognition technologies. They are still faulty, and many customers still prefer to speak with a virtual receptionist and feel the human touch.
Along the similar lines, chatbots have joined the ranks of human agents. This development is the result of shifting consumer preferences and the roaring digital revolution. In this day and age, companies are expected to stay available and responsive around the clock. Chatbots are a way to deliver quick solutions, as they provide timely and consistent support. They are also one of the mainsprings of optimized customer engagement strategies. Again, there is much room for improvement, mainly in terms of AI and speech recognition, but it is clear that we are heading towards the predominantly virtual experience.
As mobile searches top the global browsing charts, desktop takes a backseat. Consumers are used to accessing information about the brands on the go. To adapt to these winds of change, businesses must develop in-line contextual knowledge, build mobile-friendly websites, and support mobile applications. This may be a time- and money-consuming endeavor, but bear in mind that a bad mobile experience lowers customer satisfaction. Besides, there are many cost-effective, cloud-based solutions that make things easier and connect customers to live agents within an app environment.
The world of advertising has endured some serious blows with the development of customer experience and trends, such as content marketing. In addition, ad blocking has evolved into a serious business and a favored strategy (around 68.8 million Americans use it!) to steer away from aggressive ads and pop-ups. To snatch the victory from the jaws of defeat, marketers are fine-tuning their tactics and coming up with customer-centric ads that are aligned with the user intent. This brings us back to the point of using first party data to nurture a better customer experience.
Voice of the Consumer
Marketers and businessmen that want to develop a deeper understanding of customers dig into “voice of the customer” (VoC research). Nowadays, it is the backbone of managing and measuring customer experience. Note that customer-centric datasets are most valuable when they are based on individual experience in real time. That is why many companies strive to go beyond small samples and merge VoC with machine learning. This synergy facilitates prediction and allows businesses to anticipate user’s intent, identify at-risk buyers, optimize remarketing, and achieve personalization of experience.
Factoring in emotions
Emotions are often a missing ingredient in a marketing and customer service mix. However, they are now making their way straight into the limelight of consumer experience. Companies must figure out how to blend cold facts and numerical values with the dynamic and vibrant world of emotions. But, how does one gauge something as fluffy and elusive as sentiments? Well, text analytics is one of the qualitative tools to pull this off. The online customer journey matters in this regard: So, it is time to step up the game and stay in tune with things that guide customers the most – emotions.
Customer is the king
In the today’s market, customers reign supreme. They are multi-faceted, complex, and demanding. As a result, businesses have to lean on the data and metrics to drive growth and harness the immense power of virtual tools. It has never been more important to stay on top of emerging trends and make your way to the forefront of the today’s customer experience world. There is certainly no other way to regain the competitive edge and attract consumers than to shape a stellar, personalized consumer experience. Thus, tell an engaging brand story, speak with a distinctive voice, and delight people on a regular basis.
Emma Miller is a Sydney based writer with a degree in marketing. Interested in digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends. She’s a contributor at BizzMark Blog.
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