The future of customer experience
In recent years, customer experience evolved from being just another consideration in the business landscape to the only true differentiator for companies in a crowded scene. According to an Oracle study, 86% of buyers say that they’ll pay more for a better experience, yet only 1% feel that companies continuously deliver on those desired interactions.
Today, the CX environment is evolving thanks to the introduction of various new opportunities for companies to interact with and engage their target market. For instance, customer satisfaction ratings are generally higher for live chat than any other support channel, thanks to the speed and conversational nature of the platform. In the years ahead, emerging disruptive technologies like IoT, robotic automation, AI, and more will continue to change the way businesses, and consumers interact.
Here are just some of the trends we’re likely to see going forward.
Gartner has already declared that 85% of consumer interactions are likely to be handled by a “non-human” by 2020. Companies across the globe have done their part to make this statistic a reality, by investing in chatbots, machine learning solutions, and virtual agents. Indeed, intelligent bots are quickly eliminating the old-fashioned IVR in the contact centre and delivering more contextual experiences instead.
Countless solutions like Microsoft Cortana and Google Home now allow consumers to interact with bots, rather than human agents. As we continue to experiment with things like natural language understanding and sentiment analysis, these interactions will become even more immersive. The addition of predictive analytics into robotic interactions may also support companies in ensuring better business outcomes from day one, by helping businesses to predict a customer’s needs before contact. One study found that companies using predictive analytics are twice as likely to generate consistent year-over-year lifetime value!
AI and predictive analytics aren’t the only disruptive technologies changing the customer experience. The era of “connected things” is also arriving at a rapid pace. Today, countless objects are connected to the internet, including phones, watches, cars, televisions and more. As consumers become more capable in interacting with bots and machinery, companies have a fantastic opportunity to improve customer support.
Companies can use artificial intelligence in IoT devices to inform customers when they need to purchase something new – like a printer telling you you’re likely to require new ink soon. Then, those devices can automatically buy and arrange delivery of the item on behalf of the customer. Marketers can also use insights extracted from IoT devices to create more relevant real-time propositions for customers over time.
It may be a while before companies can connect with their customers through virtual reality and augmented reality daily. However, it’s fair to say that these new “mixed reality” solutions are opening new opportunities for the future of customer service. Countless companies, including Microsoft and Cisco, are experimenting with the possibilities of AR and VR.
In the future, we may see a world where an engineer can walk someone through the steps they need to take to fix a piece of equipment using augmented reality so that they don’t have to visit a site in person. Some companies are even beginning to experiment with advanced AR solutions like holographic calls. As 5G enters the marketplace, with the potential to handle larger packets of data at rapid speed, these futuristic concepts will become more of a reality. Vodafone recently completed the UK’s first holographic call with 5G in September 2018.
Finally, in the age of customer experience, consumers want interactions that are tailored to their needs. This means not having to repeat their needs to countless different agents just to get a resolution. Communications vendors have already begun to integrate Unified Communication and Contact Centre platforms to allow for faster, more contextual interactions between agents and their customers.
Today’s consumers know that you have access to their data, and they want you to use that information to give them relevant and timely responses to their questions. 71% of today’s customers say that they find impersonal experiences frustrating. As expectations continue to shift, companies should expect to have to customise interactions to suit the needs of their consumer. This may mean integrating your contact centre with your CRM system, embracing multi-channel interactions, or implementing advanced contextual systems into your communication environment.