Customer experience is transforming before our eyes. Fuelled by globalisation and the digitisation, customers have gained enormous power in controlling where, when, what, and how they buy.
At the same time, consumers want an authentic human connection. So what comes next?
Salmat asked customer experience professionals in Australia for their predictions on what the customer experience will look like in 2020.
Here are their top five observations:
1. We will have a deeper understanding of customers
Savvy companies now realise raw data – customer data, transactional data, sales and performance data – is their most strategic asset and the best way to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.
In our survey, 27 per cent of customer experience professionals predicted interactions would become more personal by 2020, with the experience tailored to individual customers.
Data must become the backbone of the customer experience. See how Google and Amazon have put data integration and management at the core of their business – and this is before we bring the Internet of Things (IoT) into the mix.
Intel predicts by 2020 every human will own at least twenty connected devices. Tapping this data will give organisations the insights they need to take the customer experience to the next level.
2. Customers will take charge
Like it or not, consumers are already in the driving seat. So how should your organisation respond? The answer, according customer experience professionals, is self-service.
Expect a quantum shift in the proportion of customer interactions that are self-service in the next five years – from 37 per cent in 2015 to 61 per cent in 2020. By using self-service, customers will travel further along the customer journey without any human engagement – and on their own terms.
There is already a raft of self-service tools available to organisations today; think smartphone apps, web self-service, automated email, voice biometrics and online virtual assistants.
3. Seamless transactions through every touch point
Consumers no longer think about “touch points” or “channels” – they simply engage with an organisation.
While this presents a challenge for many organisations, customer experience professionals predict that by 2020 organisations will be using real-time data insights to create the all-important “frictionless experience”.
4. Speed is the new black
How long does it take your company to respond to a customer email or update their account details? Chances are you’re not quick enough.
What your customers expect in speed and accessibility is accelerating with the pace of technological development. One in five CX professionals predict by 2020 consumers will expect answers within the hour and everything to be a click away.
While some blame millennials for this trend, this expectation for speed and convenience is growing across all ages.
5. What’s next?
As Nobel Prize winning physicist Dennis Gabor said, “We cannot predict the future, but we can invent it”.
The best, perhaps only, way for organisations to deliver the experience consumers expect is to listen to what customers are telling them – and use those insights to steer the customer experience.