In this guest post, Denise Miura (lead image), Geo VP APAC at CX platform Medallia, grabs the crystal ball and offers her four biggest customer experience predictions for 2023…
Rising inflation and emerging fears of a recession are beginning to be felt in Asia Pacific (APAC). Experts forecast that an economic slowdown is inevitable. For APAC firms, navigating the year could be challenging.
Customer experience (CX) matters even more in tough economic conditions, and remains a key differentiator for APAC organizations. In such unique situations, companies need to treat customers with the flexibility and empathy they expect. Customers value consistency and appreciate it when companies can offer great experiences that are comforting, satisfying and familiar – resulting in a win in customer’s trust and loyalty in the long term.
Fortunately, the importance of CX is well-known in the region. According to Adobe, APAC is set to lead global CX investment this year, with 59 per cent of businesses investing in digital CX and 60 per cent looking to invest in customer data technology in the near future. With CX now at the heart of every brand’s success, here’s our take on the four biggest predictions for this year.
From CX to connected experiences
Connecting experiences across teams, technology, and touchpoints will be key to creating an experience-centric organization that delivers on customer expectations and builds customer trust in 2023.
For a customer, the overall brand experience is made up of every interaction with the brand throughout their customer journey, whether it’s via the website, app, customer support chat or phone call, or in-person. Brands that successfully bring together their process, people and technology to orchestrate the full, end-to-end customer journey can deliver seamless experiences. This will help businesses drive revenue, reduce costs, and improve organizational cultures.
Most customers (85 per cent) expect consistent experiences when interacting with teams across departments, and 83 per cent of customers say that they are more loyal to businesses that offer consistent experiences across the organisation.
Personalisation at every touchpoint
Personalisation will continue to be an essential part of successful CX. Some 94 per cent of APAC consumers are willing to spend more with companies that personalise their experience.
While most companies recognise the value of CX, it is necessary to go beyond a one-size-fits-all approach and take steps to ensure a firm is meeting individual needs and expectations of every customer at every step of their customer journey.
Capturing signals across touchpoints will help businesses provide personalized, proactive, and eventually, predictive experiences. Acting in-the-moment, turning insight into real-time action, and orchestrating connected, relevant and personalized experiences drives customer-led growth. Companies that get this right gather smarter insights, allowing them to be more agile, driving over 60 per cent of customer loyalty, delivering greater sales at reduced cost and a five per cent to 15 per cent revenue growth.
Striking the right balance between humans and automation
Automation has become increasingly important in CX. With rising demand for self-service, consumers increasingly seek to address concerns quickly and conveniently, through a combination of online articles, social media, chatbots, and virtual agents. Automation thus enables companies to create automated customer journeys. However, companies should be wary of stripping a customer journey of its human elements, such as empathy and authenticity. Forrester reports that customers still look for the “human touch” amidst the digitalisation of interactions with brands.
Striking the right balance in automation calls for new investments in technology-enabled solutions and continued investment in people. People make the greatest difference between otherwise similar offerings, and play an important role in the recovery effort when things go wrong. About 50 per cent of hybrid shoppers in APAC today prefer cross-channel interaction across human-assisted and digital touchpoints.
Done right, automation minimises effort for the consumer, especially in high-frequency and repetitive interactions. However, investing in personalised and human interactions at different points of the customer journey (such as when customers are seeking advice or are experiencing strong emotions) is still what separates the best brands from the rest.
Measuring customer satisfaction
Metrics are essential for understanding and improving CX, with key examples being Net Promoter Score (NPS®) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT). While businesses are delivering great CX, many are not measuring its success and therefore, are failing to understand what is working or the cost to the business of poor CX. Brands like Four Seasons for instance, use NPS® – a metric reflecting how likely a customer is to recommend the brand, product, or service to someone else. By listening to their customers and changing their experience across the entire customer journey, Four Seasons managed to improve their NPS® by 7 points – an industry-leading level in the luxury hospitality sector.
However, experts have highlighted how the rise of new technology-enabled solutions will “usher in an era of new customer metrics.” Shifting trends will mean that customers will play an increasingly active role in defining and shaping CX.
Acting on customer feedback requires in-depth analysis (such as linkage or root cause) and synthesizing the analysis into a story that can be understood and translated into a better experience for the customer. By socializing and operationalizing these insights, firms can leverage the increasing volumes of customer signals to create effective change management.
The road ahead for CX in 2023
2023 will see organizations find new ways to keep pace with rising customer expectations around omnichannel experiences. According to Forrester, 80 per cent of new omnichannel experiences will fail due to the siloed nature of these efforts, or by failing to meet customer demand for real-time, connected and personalized services across channels.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Organisations can overcome these challenges by accelerating the adoption of tech-led solutions, and partnering with intelligent solution providers that enable them to capture customer signals across channels in real-time. By connecting experiences across the enterprise, organisations can turn insights into action, and drive results that matter — achieving revenue gains, generating cost savings, and building customer trust. In doing so, companies can meet the expectations of tomorrow’s consumers and build a great CX that delivers for customers.
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