Staying ahead of evolving customer expectations has always been a challenge for business leaders.
However, in a world of rapid digital transformation and accelerated innovation, brands are under more pressure than ever before. Investing in the latest CX technology isn’t just a way to gain a strategic advantage anymore; it’s a mandatory part of retaining customer loyalty.
In 2022, around 89% of tech executives said they were increasing their investment in CX tools and technology. What’s more, as we head into the future, the market for CX management tools is exploding, racing towards an expected value of $27.13 billion by 2026.
Unfortunately, with so many options now available for CX innovation, from conversational analytics to intelligent automation, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Based on what we’ve seen in 2022, here are some of the most valuable tech trends CX leaders should consider for the new year.
1. Aligning the Cloud Environment
Customer expectations are now evolving at a record rate, inspired by the consistent introduction of new technologies to enhance and optimise all kinds of buyer experiences. As a result, companies need to be able to rapidly pivot their CX strategies to suit their customer’s needs. The easiest way to do this is to invest in a cloud system for contact centre, customer relationship, and service management.
CCaaS (Contact Centre as a Service) solutions are growing in popularity, offering brands a convenient way to align employees wherever they are, even in the age of hybrid and remote work. These tools also make it easier to implement new tools and strategies on-demand, whether a new virtual agent to support team members, or an advanced self-service portal.
However, investing in CCaaS on its own may not be enough. As companies continue their transition into the cloud, the idea of a synergized and synchronised cloud environment for UCaaS, CCaaS, Workforce Management and engagement is becoming more appealing. Aligning various cloud tools into one unified space allows for better collaboration, deeper business insights and greater productivity throughout the workplace.
2. Optimizing Agent Experience
The more companies focus on CX as a way to differentiate themselves from other leading brands, the more they discover there’s more to the “experience economy” than meets the eye. In order to deliver phenomenal customer experience, companies must first ensure their employees are engaged and empowered with the right processes and tools.
Enlightened and supported team members can find answers to questions faster, deliver more meaningful interactions to customers, and generate better business outcomes. This is leading to an increased investment in tools designed to enhance and optimise the workforce. Workforce management and engagement tools are increasingly appearing alongside CCaaS systems as part of a future-focused CX stack.
We’re even seeing some innovative companies experiment with new “Employee Engagement” platforms, enhanced by gamification tools, performance reporting, customisable dashboards and more. Focusing more heavily on employee and agent experience in the new age of work will help companies to not only delight their customers, but also retain key talent in the age of the Great Resignation.
3. New Forms of Self-Service and AI
67% of customers now say they prefer self-service over speaking to a customer representative directly. According to the Harvard Business Review, a further 81% of customers attempt to address issues by themselves before they contact a company. In a world defined by savvy digital natives, companies need to ensure the right self-service initiatives are in place to automate the customer journey. This means exploring a range of new technologies.
CRM tools equipped with solutions for building intelligent FAQs and customer portals are likely to be a must-have for businesses in 2023. At the same time, more brands will be experimenting with intelligent chatbots and virtual assistants, capable of responding intuitively to customer intent. For companies investing in chatbots to enable self-service, the focus is likely to be on tools with machine learning and natural language processing capabilities.
These intelligent tools can use insightful conversational analytics to better understand the needs of each customer in the moment. The right solutions can even help with passing customers onto employees when clients need to escalate their request to an agent.
4. Digital Engagement and New Communication Channels
Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen consumers embracing a wider number of channels to connect with their preferred brands. While phone calls are still common for conversations which require human input and empathy, text, SMS, online chat, and even video channels are becoming more popular too. In fact, 85% of customers say video chat improves customer service.
Companies investing in CX trends for the future of customer service will need to think carefully about the channels they can offer their customers. For some brands, the ideal option will be to create an immersive application with access to various chat, messaging, video, and voice tools.
For others, it may be necessary to integrate CRM and CCaaS systems with existing apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. There’s even the potential for XR technologies like MR, AR, and VR to play a role in our future customer conversations.
Crucially, to deliver the best experiences, brands will need to ensure all of their digital channels are aligned, synchronised, and capable of sharing data throughout the customer journey. Information about a client’s experience should be passed seamlessly from one environment to the next, so customers don’t need to repeat themselves when switching between devices.
5. Analytics and Hyper Personalisation
Customers now expect service experiences to be not only convenient and straightforward, but also personalised to their specific needs. Personalisation in the CX landscape starts by ensuring the right channels are available for communication, based on consumer preferences. However, brands will need to go beyond an omnichannel experience if they really want to stand out.
Powerful AI tools capable of capturing conversational data and transforming it into actionable insights about intent and sentiment will become a must-have for modern companies. These tools should integrate with both the CCaaS and CRM system, to help businesses create comprehensive customer profiles for sales, marketing, and service.
Powerful analytical tools will allow companies to offer the kind of hyper-personalized experiences clients are looking for in the moment, by providing agents with information when they need it most. The right tools can even assess historical data and open the door for predictive analytics, so companies can provide their clients with proactive service.
6. Trust, Transparency, and Compliance
One of the most important things any business can do to ensure they’re delivering powerful experiences to their target audience, is make them feel safe. Increasingly regulatory guidelines are evolving to focus more heavily on the protection of customer privacy, and companies need to ensure their CX initiatives are keeping up with the latest standards.
Tools built into the contact centre, WFM, and CRM tools for business leaders should make it easier to track potential compliance and privacy issues throughout the workplace. This will become increasingly important as more employees continue to work in distributed, hybrid landscapes. Companies will need to ensure they have a clear view of where they’re storing the data they collect from their customers, and how they’re using it.
At the same time, there’s likely to be a growing demand for tools that can help to keep compliance issues to a minimum. Automated systems and intelligent bots capable of detecting risks before they damage company reputation will be essential.