2023 Crystal Ball for CX Leaders

Charlie Mitchell

Uncover the state of customer experience and consider where the space is heading

Insights
2023 Crystal Ball for CX Leaders

Customer experience analysts are often not shy to make bold predictions for the future. In recent years, one of the most eye-catching came from Forrester. It stated:

“CX becomes crucial for brands to survive, for them to avoid disintermediation, irrelevancy, blandness, and/or cluelessness about customer sentiment.”

While this rings true, many brands struggle in their survival bid, despite believing they are experience-driven. However, it is one thing to have designed a dusty customer journey map; it is another to make that operationally useful and actively engage in CX management.

Unfortunately, achieving this remains a struggle. The pandemic played its part, causing companies to rush transformation projects, leaving CX leaders languishing in a cycle of testing, learning, and embedding to enhance rushed implementations.

Yet, other longstanding issues persist. Perhaps the most prominent is silos. Indeed, a 2021 Dimension Data report revealed that 54 percent of organizations manage their customer experience operations in silos.

To sidestep “disintermediation, irrelevancy, blandness,” 2023 is the year to embrace cross-functional collaboration, connected goals, and an evolving c-suite mentality.

Fortunately, many emerging technologies can help here, unifying enterprises behind a customer experience strategy that is operationally useful to various functions.

Emerging CX Technologies to Prosper In 2023

In recent years, many emerging technologies have come to the fore with the advent of the cloud, easier API integrations, and deep marketplaces.

As this trend accelerates and cloud-native platforms become the norm, businesses will increase their interoperability efforts, allowing them to connect enterprise technologies.

In doing so, businesses can free up data, and its increased accessibility will allow departments to share insights and work towards the organization’s goal.

Such accessibility will also complement the growth of ERP, BI, and many AI technologies.

An excellent example of the latter is conversational AI. Gartner predicts that bots will automate six times more interactions than they currently do in 2026.

Indeed, as bots dip into more systems and piece together more information, they are beginning to automate much more than those simple, transactional customer queries.

As such, many CCaaS players are making conversational AI a core part of their contact center solutions, alongside robotic process automation (RPA) and conversational analytics.

Quanatiphi is one such solution provider, innovatively connecting the contact center to a conversational AI engine in an effort to drive “AI-first total experience transformation.”

This “total experience” concept will also gain momentum alongside the growth of AI as it takes away laborious, repetitive things away from employees’ workday and replace them with more meaningful, engaging work items.

As such, the agent experience requires much closer consideration, and productivity optimization technologies – including agent-assist – will likely surge.

A Futuristic Case Study

From the above, increased interoperability and conversational AI are two trends that will play a significant role in tomorrow’s contact center.

Yet, their rise is already proving promising, as evident in many recent successful CX transformation initiatives, including one from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

Like many organizations, it has struggled with surging contact volumes. However, in this case, the rise came from nowhere, with the pandemic pushing unemployment claims through the roof.

Luckily, the team at IDES responded quickly, working with Quantiphi to build a virtual agent – which leverages Google Dialogflow and integrates with a Cisco telephony system.

Moreover, the virtual agent learns from and uses data from various applications within the Google Cloud Platform and Google Sheets.

Within two weeks, it had supported 3.2 million customer queries, thanks to IDES and Quantiphi working together to train the Virtual Agent on 100+ custom intents.

The state of Illinois anticipates an estimated annual savings of $100M based on an initial analysis of the IDES’s virtual agent data.

Finally, 75 percent of claimants received their first payment within two weeks, highlighting how convenient virtual agent-driven service also delivers on critical customer needs.

More Critical Trends for CX Leaders In 2023

The rise of total experience, virtual agents, and interoperability are critical trends CX leaders must keep tabs on as they engage in customer experience management. Yet, there are others also causing quite a stir across the space.

Hyper-personalization is an excellent example, using data to customize experiences for the individual, enabling relevant recommendations, pre-populated form-filling, and personalized pricing.

It also paves the way for advanced proactive support, another prominent CX trend. For instance, perhaps the data suggests that a customer isn’t happy. The business may trigger a proactive discount to the customer to increase the possibility of retention.

Monitoring customer emotion in such a way is also an art form gaining momentum. Indeed, some brands aim to inspire particular emotions during moments that matter, which – as their research suggests – should increase customer value.

Conversational analytics allows such research – which is yet another contact center AI tool.

The proliferation of these AI technologies will continue to grow, seeping further into operational technologies, including routing, quality assurance, and workforce management software.

Finally, leaders must keep tabs on the change in the customer engagement channel mix, with TikTok, Google Business Messages, and MMS all gaining momentum.

Yet, perhaps the most intriguing channel is WhatsApp, as Meta recently announced its intention to bring the entire shopping experience to the messaging app.

Other exciting trends include the rise of immersive experiences, the convergence of UCaaS and CCaaS platforms, and the growth of CPaaS as a tool to build differentiated experiences.

Valuable Statistics for CX Leaders In 2023

Research is what illuminates the crystal ball, surfacing industry trends and best practices for building toward the contact center of tomorrow.

Moreover, trusty reports often spotlight some surprising findings, which open up blind spots in CX thinking and add some often much-needed food for thought into CX management initiatives.

Here are five of the most eye-catching examples from market-leading research firms and vendors.

53 Percent of Organizations Don’t Believe They Make It Easy for Customers to Handle Their Issues/Requests. (Source: Gartner)

Lowering customer effort is not a new concept, yet many businesses struggle to streamline service experiences. Indeed, limited self-service options, long wait times, and primitive agent support systems are significant hurdles to overcome.

Two-Thirds of Customers Contact Customer Service After Receiving Proactive Notifications from a Brand. (Source: Gartner)

Proactive customer outreach can confuse customers and leave unanswered questions. So, while it can help streamline journeys, it is often best left for the most urgent use cases.

54 Percent of Customers Believe First Contact Resolution Is the Most Significant Element of the Contact Centre Experience. (Source: ContactBabel)

Despite this, only seven percent of senior executives consider FCR their most critical CX metric, highlighting that solving queries at the first attempt is somewhat of an underappreciated art.

Companies with the Strongest Omnichannel Customer Engagement Strategies Enjoy a Ten Percent Y-O-Y Growth. (Source: Adobe)

These companies enjoyed a ten percent increase in average order value and a 25 percent increase in close rates, as per Adobe. Indeed, an omnichannel customer experience enables better data flow, channel shift, and contact handling as agents enjoy more customer context.

60 Percent of Customers Face Frequent Disappointment In Their Chatbot Experiences (Source: Zendesk)

While the potential of conversational AI is immense, there are still many poor models out there, running off scripts and containing little AI. Such statistics perhaps confirm this and underline how CX leaders must work with a reliable vendor/partner.

Conclusion

Enterprise collaboration around a CX strategy that the business makes operationally useful to each department will enable the customer experiences of the future. As the conversation around CX expands, we’ll witness new themes emerge with respect to Total Experience, AI-led automation and new Customer Data Platforms that enable a seamless customer experience.

For CX leaders, it’s important to comprehend these new trends in the market and pivot early for keeping their organization ahead of the curve. This article has touched base on several emerging technologies in the CX space that will likely gain momentum in 2023.

 

 


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