2018 is just round the corner. By 2018, more than 50% of organizations will implement significant business model changes in their efforts to improve customer experience.” – Gartner. We have garnered influencers’ top predictions about the shape of Cx and its determinants in 2018.
So, what’s in store for Cx in 2018?
Cx and AI- an unusual union
“While AI can complement many aspects of the customer experience, there will be times when the technology alone simply can’t satisfy a customer.”
–Ana Pallas, PR and Media Relations Expert, Beyond the Arc. Inc (Interview by team Enhancier Cx).
“AI technology will enable deeper connections with customers, helping businesses to respond to customer needs with greater accuracy. However, if AI is inaccurate in interpreting what a customer needs, it may be more of a turnoff than a help. “
– Christine Matteo, Customer Experience Strategist, Beyond the Arc (Beyond the Arc).
“AI-and-Human OR AI-vs-Human? — Puzzle will be solved With AI gaining dominance, companies would find answer to the ‘scariest question of 2017’ ”
–Chandan Chhabra, Director, Customer Experience, OLX India Pvt Ltd (Interview by team Enhancier Cx).
“A number of technology trends will significantly impact the customer experience in 2018, such as the use of augmented reality, wireless beacons, intelligent virtual assistants, chatbots, interactive e-mail, and artificial intelligence.” – Kent Huffman, CMO, Growth driver (Interview by team Enhancier Cx)
“A large number of organisations who have huge consumer data are most likely to switch over to AI to process & analyse this data to optimise productivity. Humans cannot match the speed at which technology & customer demands are moving.Organisations will have to adopt AI & Virtual assistants as a way forward to manage day to day flow of work.”
– K.C.Jacob, Entrepreneur, Evangelist(Interview by team Enhancier Cx).
“The one other thing that’s going to get bigger in the coming years is the usage of AI.”
– Raju Nanjudan, Manager Consumer solutions at LinkedIn(Interview by team Enhancier Cx).
“I believe self-help using artificial intelligence especially using Google OK and Alexa will drive lot of interest amongst the latest innovations in the market” – Sandeep Padhye, Sr Business Director and Head Oracle CX/CRM North America at Tata Consultancy Services, ( Interview by team Enhancier Cx )
Emotional nuances, linguistic gap, psychological needs are misnomers for AI or machine intelligence applications. Humanizing AI will be the greatest challenge. By the end of 2018, “customer digital assistants” will recognize customers by face and voice across channels and partners (Gartner)
Data is the deity
“2018 will be the year of servicing consumer needs before they even arise. Brands leveraging the right data and analytics to deliver impactful customer experiences will rise to the top.”
—Andy Yost, CMO, Gannett (CMO)
“This new era of CX intelligence will reshape the marketing landscape by finally, unifying all the disciplines and practices through data.”
– Dennis Wakabayashi,Vice President, Digital Marketing and Commerce Integration. at The Integer Group (Brand watch)
Data centralization is the need of the hour. Disparate data existing in multiple channels is worse to having no data about customer.
“The trick will be to know when it’s better –or even preferred– to address a customer need with a live person”
– Christine Matteo (Beyond the Arc).
“More businesses will embrace conversational commerce through the right mix of automated messaging and human interaction. Organizations will more closely integrate Messenger with their website and entire shopping experience to allow their customers more streamlined and personalized interactions.”
– Mari Smith, Premier (Brand Watch)
“…organisations will have to strike a balance between AI and CX.”
– Narendra Mansukhani, Head of Guest Experience, Jet Airways ( Interview by team Enhancier Cx ) .
“…The companies that best balance between technology and the human factor will win the hearts (and dollars) of their customers.”- Shep Hyken ( Interview by team Enhancier Cx).
AI-Human interface may reach right proportion when interaction turns to conversation and machine presence is never felt.
Ought to be Omnichannel
“The basics of Customer Experience has and will never change with time. Omni channel will be a game changer for sure”
– Raju Nanjundan, Manager Consumer solutions at LinkedIn ( Interview by team Enhancier Cx).
A consumer may order through one channel, pick up through another and return via yet another. To be noted: Consumers prefer assistance over the following channels: Phone (61%), email (60%), Live Chat (57%), online knowledge base (51%), “click-to-call” support automation (34%)” (eConsultancy). Businesses must be able to connect to customer through these touch points whenever needed.
‘Social’ is in vogue
“Retailers must speak the language of the millennials. Cool, uberized and instagramable are the new lingo that retailers must understand”–Hesham Almekkawi, Founder and President, AHRAMIZ FZ LLC ( Interview by team Enhancier Cx ).
Although going omnichannel is necessary for brands, going social media is indispensable. 47% of millennials say their purchase decisions are influenced by social media (Forbes).
Customer Loyalty is an Accumulating Asset
“2018 will be the year that gaining emotional loyalty from consumers becomes the cornerstone for customer experience programs,” says Emilie Kroner, North American Solutions Director, Merchants at Mastercard (SurveyGizmo).
For example, Estimates put Amazon Prime members are more than 80 million this year, who are willing to pay their annual Prime fee in exchange for “free” shipping, streaming media, photo storage, and far more (Customer Think) .
Go ‘Mobile’ or go home
“…The move toward mobile will continue to expand.”– Kent Huffman, CMO, Growth driver (Enhancier Cx Solutions)
“The sheer compute power of mobile devices will start to eat into laptop sales and many will choose to become true “mobile road warriors”– Mike Kail, CTO, CYBRIC (Dzone)
Users spend on average 69% of their media time on smartphones. 69% of consumers worldwide between the ages of 18 and 39 use mobile devices to research products before they buy. 92% of those who searched on their phone made a related purchase (Thinkgoogle). These signposts direct the mammoth entry of smartphone applications in the customer experience sphere.
Real time snapshot of complete customer information
“Centralized dashboards will increasingly be able to consolidate data from all of these customer touch points to provide a comprehensive view of the customer that helps businesses determine actionable steps to improve the customer’s experience.”–Peter Yang, Co-Founder of ResumeGo (Bitly).
It is important for businesses to have a comprehensive picture of customer information across multiple channel in real time to offer most effective customer support at all times, even before problems arise.
Employees: the engine of growth
“Employee empathy will become critical than ever before to bring about the cultural transformations. It’s happy employees that make your customers happy to have them come over again and again.” – Narendra Mansukhani, Head of Guest Experience, Jet Airways. ( Interview by team Enhancier Cx )
Employees must be oriented to customer centric culture to translate the vision as they deal with customer through multiple touch points on a daily basis.
A related point to business operation was raised by Jeanne Bliss, Founder and CEO, Customer Bliss. In her view, “So far, it is an imperative with many potential silver bullets people are going after: AI, chat, bots, VOC, etc. For CX to stick as a valuable way for companies to grow, 2018 must be a year when it becomes embedded in how a company does annual planning, goes to market, and runs their operation.”( Interview by team Enhancier Cx )
Seamless customer journey is here to rule
“…more CEOs and CMOs will get involved in developing CX strategies that enable management of the complete customer lifecycle, including personalized brand interactions and automation of the customer experience function.” –Kent Huffman, CMO, Growth driver ( Interview by team Enhancier Cx )
“Eventually, it (customer experience)will be invisible—so immersive and attuned to your preferences and in-the-moment existence that you won’t even notice it’s happening. It will just feel like you”– David Redhill, Partner, Global CMO, Deloitte Consulting (CMO)
“consumer will search for who is providing total experience rather than one dimension factor with a good value proposition.”– Hesham Almekkawi, Founder and President, AHRAMIZ FZ LLC ( Interview by team Enhancier Cx )
Seamless customer journey necessitates listening to your clients through the entire lifecycle. A 360 degree view of customer is indispensable to achieve signature Cx which feels at one with the customer.
Artificial Intelligence, Customer Loyalty, Omnichannel, 360 degree view of customer and Employee Empathy have become the buzzwords in the Cx vocabulary of 2018. Software solutions have to enhance its capabilities to adapt itself to the new demands of Cx market. It may be safely concluded that 2018 is set to stir up Cx landscape and there are no two ways about it!