Customer Experience Trends 2017 are being increasingly influenced by advances in technology.
From AI to chatbots, these technologies are creating new methods of interaction and greater personalisation.
Power has shifted away from companies and towards digitally savvy, technology-empowered customers who now decide winners and losers.
The result is that now organisations have to compete for the customer experience.
But what are the trends that are influencing the customer experience 2017?
In a hyper-competitive Experience Economy where consumers are digitally empowered, yet feel forever time-starved, there’s a fundamental choice to make with your Customer Experience strategy.
At any particular moment, you must decide if your brand’s offering is a stepping stone on the way to experiences or if you are providing the experience itself. At every interaction or encounter, you must ask: is your brand saving the customer?s attention or seizing it?
According to Deloitte, 62% of companies view customer experience delivered by the contact centers as a competitive differentiator.?Therefore, if you want your customers to stay loyal, you have to invest in the experience. As a result, Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 50% of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations.
The key to crafting a positive customer experience is not just having a superb customer support team; it’s ensuring that at every single touchpoint the customer has a positive, seamless experience.
Customer Experience is the proactive and deliberate orchestrating of an end-to-end journey between a customer and a company.
Each stage of the journey is architected to understand the emotions and needs of the customer, and what he or she is trying to achieve.
The work then is to unite the organisational silos to deliver a one-company experience to deliver value at each stage, and across the journey.
#1 – Customer Success
Customer Success is just one facet of Customer Experience. That said, though, it is the end factor, the part of the process that determines whether or not you will have a user/customer.
That’s why it’s that part providing a good experience, is setting the customer up for success. Building a strategy with an emphasis on solving problems as well as around emotions is critical.
#2 – Voice Interactions
Voice interactions are noticeable customer experience trend 2017. They are gaining a foothold in eCommerce and a physical presence in the home.
You don’t need to navigate a website or search for information by keying in text anymore. You can simply ask a question using your voice. The voice assistant will,?within seconds, provide you with the information.
Technology companies, like Google and Amazon, provide voice assistants and become the go-to device at home.
Voice assistants will help customers find what they need instantly, without the need to spend time looking for products or navigate the retail store website.
When voice assistants meet with customer needs using the natural language interaction method through voice interactions, it will create a positive, satisfying customer experience.
#3 – Artificial Intelligence AI
There?s no doubt that customer experience is absolutely essential for brand survival. AI and analytics will increasingly be deployed to support the customer experience, as well as being the principal means to deliver it.
Personalisation is one key element. But there?s been a tendency to see personalisation in terms of the value and advantage brands accrue from exploiting ever-more granular customer data in real-time.
Instead, the focus needs to be on the delivery of personalisation and what that means for the consumer. AI will not only be a customer experience trend 2017 but for many years to come.
#4 – Self Service
Customers are no longer passive consumers of services and commodities. Organisations now use self-service to help the customer throughout the entire consumer journey.
By making self-service options available, companies can take some of the workloads off of customer service teams, save money, and improve the customer experience.
However, if customers don’t feel as if self-service options are adding value, they simply won’t use them. The following tips can help you to improve your self-service options.
Many organisations though implement self-service options based upon assumptions about the customer journey.
This is because people who design systems and processes often lack the perspective of the customer or simply do no or little research.
As a result, organisations miss opportunities to add self-service options where they might really be helpful. Often they use them where they simply are not needed.
By creating customer journey maps using customer feedback, analytics, and social research companies can improve their self-service options as well as their other customer service policies and procedures.
Microsoft’s 2016 State of Global Customer Service Report found that an average of 90% of consumers surveyed in Brazil, Germany, Japan, the UK and the USA expect brands to have an online customer self-service portal.
#5 – Virtual Reality
Virtual reality immerses the consumer in a simulated world, and augmented reality overlays virtual elements in the real world; both technologies have the potential to revolutionize the retail industry.
Many brands are looking to leverage the technologies? immersive power to create new customer experiences. However, while there is a consensus regarding the potential of these technologies, no brand truly understands how to harness them.
They are never truly integrated into the customer experience, but rather simply added on. Thus, potentially becoming useless technology gimmicks that will slowly disappear, similar to the fate of 3D televisions.
Outside the retail industry, however, researchers utilize virtual reality in a myriad of different ways to simulate environments and study behavioural patterns.
For instance, Hershfield et al. (2011) studied the change in individuals? saving patterns using virtual reality.
When shown an age-rendered image of themselves, individuals identified with their future self. They then chose to postpone monetary rewards for a more comfortable retirement, therefore indicating that emotional connections can be created through virtual reality.
#6 – Smarter Self Serving Capabilities
Consumers expect companies to keep improving their level of service. They want their questions answered and problems solved in a timely, friendly, and efficient manner.
Consumers have a strong aversion to having to contact a company several times or sharing the same information more than once.
The days are long gone when it was okay to answer an e-mail inside 24 hours. Some 39% of modern consumers expect a reply within four hours. Twitter and Facebook users have even less patience: 55% of social media users want an answer in less than four hours.
Self-service is the only long-term solution to meeting customer expectations.
Already, 70% of consumers expect a self-service option for handling commercial questions and complaints. Still, this doesn’t preclude the need for a personal solution: If self-service falls short, personal contact as a safety net is an absolute necessity.
#7 – Behavioural Data and Predictive Analytics
According to sas.com, predictive analytics is the use of data, statistical algorithms, and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data.
Predictive analytics is used to determine optimal methods of reaching individual customers at various stages of the sales funnel to increase the probability of conversion and retention (and to reduce churn).
Predictive analytics to strategically implement upselling and cross-selling tactics, you can make informed suggestions to individual customers that they are more likely to find value in.
Predictive analytics considers a specific buyer’s browsing and purchase history and makes an educated guess as to the value they’re looking to buy.
In other words, predictive analytics doesn’t just allow you to sell more products – it allows you to sell a better experience.
8 – Mobile Customer Experience Trends 2017
The Aberdeen Group Inc. claims that companies with the strongest omni-channel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for companies with weak omni-channel strategies.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, by 2020 the demand for an omni-channel customer experience will be amplified by the need for near perfect execution.
When providing experience across different channels, it seems that mobile customer service is expected to soar. Why?
Well, because a bad mobile experience can do serious damage to your brand and end up in losses in business. According to WOW Local Marketing, 52% of customers are less likely to engage with the company because of bad mobile experience.
It’s no longer the question of whether the mobile experience is important or not. We already know it is! By 2017 mobile search will generate 27.8 billion more queries than desktop search.
Customer Experience Trends 2017 Infographic
This infographic illustrates the top 8 customer experience trends 2017.