Five trends that will shape customer experience in 2020
The adage ‘customer is king’ is widely recognised in the business world. In 2020, international efforts to make this a reality will grow even stronger, according to Audrey William and Tim Sheedy.
Amid sluggish economic conditions and increasing competition, businesses are constantly on the hunt for better ways to attract and retain customers. One of the key ways of achieving this is through delivering them the best possible experience.
From its research into customer trends for the year ahead, Ecosystm looks at the five key customer experience (CX) trends that will drive business efforts in this area. Together, these trends will serve to shape the way businesses interact with their customers and make their offerings more compelling.
1. CX syncs with core systems
As organisations aim to become fast and innovative, they are modernising their core systems. In 2020, they will begin to reap the benefits of these investments. Customer applications will leverage the data and analytics from these broader digital initiatives to drive down costs and increase personalisation and customisation.
In addition, 2020 will see the delivery of value shift from the back-end to the front-end. CX decision makers will have similar objectives as overall digital initiatives – mostly cloud migration for more agility, AI and machine learning solutions for better intelligence and cybersecurity investments for better compliance and data protection.
2. Hyper-personalised CX
The concept of providing a unique experience for every customer has been a discussion topic for years, however very few businesses have succeeded in following through. In 2020, many more businesses outside the top 5% will experiment with and deploy hyper-personalised CX. It will move from something only done by top web brands to a mass market strategy as a growing number of businesses invest in the automation, predictive analytics and AI needed to make it a reality.
Achieving this will also require businesses to be able to understand the end-to-end journey of each customer and the best way to personalise it. Brands now need to understand and personalise the experience before and after a customer interacts with the brand – prompting investments in customer journey analytics. Hyper-personalisation also means allowing for customers to interact with the brand through the application of their choice and in their chosen manner.
3. Increasing focus on compliance and security
After the recent Banking Royal Commission hearings in Australia and GDPR regulations in Europe, there is more pressure than ever to ensure customer data is handled properly at all times. This includes making sure that all forms of voice and non-voice interactions are monitored and properly managed. At the moment, very few customer teams achieve this and are at risk of non-compliance.
During 2020, there will be increasing investment in analytics and AI tools to help with this compliance and monitoring challenge. The recording of customer calls means highly sensitive information might be stored for years and so the risk of contact centre breaching regulatory compliance requirements is high. Tools available today offer various ways to block the recording of key phrases or sections and some solutions apply APIs to the flow of the recording. In this way, sensitive details are not recorded, helping to reduce the chance of a breach taking place.
4. Measuring and evaluating CX with AI
The drive by businesses to improve their CX offerings means they will look to measure the experience and its impact whenever possible. This in itself is a significant challenge when you consider the ways in which the data is collected.
For example, a one-minute transaction in a store can prompt a five-minute survey asking for customer feedback. As a result, an increasing number of customers are experiencing survey fatigue.
Surveys are also not the best way to measure how customers feel after they have interacted with a brand. Already, many will not participate unless there is a discount or incentive, which bites into future margins. Smart businesses instead turn to AI to detect emotions and mood, and analytics to measure experiences.
5. Asia catches up with US and ANZ in customer obsession
Until now, many countries in Asia have not needed to focus too much attention on CX. Most businesses have found it relatively easy to grow and had no incentive to invest in the area. This is now changing and the proportion of businesses starting to map customer journeys is rising.
Evidence of this trend can be seen in the growing usage of cloud contact centres. Organisations with a clear focus on CX transformation are increasingly keen to upgrade or replace the core systems that support customer interactions, often moving to cloud contact centres as a result.
Also, organisations are applying agile methodologies to further accelerate their CX innovation. This is hard to achieve in a legacy environment and hence the move to the cloud will be inevitable.
It’s clear that CX initiatives will continue to gather pace in 2020. By focusing on how they serve their customers, and taking advantage of new tools such as AI, analytics and the cloud, businesses can be sure they’ll be well placed to deliver the type of CX that their customers are expecting.
Audrey William and Tim Sheedy are principal advisors at Ecosystm
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Image credit: Tom Parkes