Most of the changes in customer experience are driven by consumer demand. Customers crave personalized, smooth experiences, and businesses are racing to deliver them. However, the idea of continuous transformation can present a difficult challenge for companies that are struggling in today’s complex business environment.
The customer experience is at a tipping point for many transformation triggers, including premium apps, virtual assistants, AI, visitor management apps and omnichannel approach. Each of these things has the strength to dramatically impact customers and change how they interact with brands.
Premium apps based on brand enthusiasm
Enterprises are always interested in increasing customer lifetime value. However, this is often hard to accomplish with the most loyal clients. These customers have a high value for the business, but finding innovative, cost-efficient methods to improve their customer experience is difficult at best since they have already maxed out the company’s perks.
Big enterprises like Adidas and Nike developed a resolution for this issue in the form of premium apps that are utilized by the brand’s most enthusiastic fans. These apps are specific to a part of the enterprise’s target audience and intended for improving the customer experience for a particular group of users. For instance, Adidas’ new app Tango builds an Adidas soccer community where brand fans can develop and share soccer challenges for other users on the app.
Visitor management applications
Visitor management app trend will impact a couple of different businesses, including event management niche where people can even sign in offline, or theme parks that can now gather data and reward visitors for returning to the park. Another benefit of these apps for companies is the improved feedback which involves customized questions and ratings of a visit.
AI inside the customer service space
Besides improving business intelligence, machine learning will have a major impact on the future of customer service. The advent of IoT (Internet of Things), with its smart appliances and houses, has brought a hyper-connected world of real-time experiences and immediate responsive feedback. Moreover, with 5G on the way, it is likely that consumers will expect things to even faster before the end of 2019.
We will witness more brands that use social messaging alongside chatbots and AI in 2019 for a faster response. Social messaging, like Instagram and Facebook Messenger, is fostering a new generation of consumers who expect more and want it now. Additionally, social messaging integrates all the best qualities of traditional digital customer service channels including:
- Persistent customer identity
- Mobile notifications
- Full chat functionality
Combining both machine learning and chatbot tech with social messaging will let brand to automate and personalize their responses.
Expansion of e-commerce
In the past, there was a limited number of item types that you could order online, however, the list keeps on and on expanding. You see, e-commerce is, nowadays, so present on the largest of scales, that even some of the major companies order some of the most expensive equipment without a direct interaction with the sales representative from the other company. To show just how deep the rabbit hole goes, it’s worth mentioning that even companies in the oil and gas industry order oilfield equipment from online retailers.
This provides for a faster interaction, greater option for shopping around and really automates the process as a whole. Sure, the design of the page may be quite impactful on one’s decision-making process. Other than this, the fact that you get to explore and compare your options this way increases the chance that you will make a decision based on features and not on how much you like the salesperson. In other words, this is one of these notions that may help make B2B interactions in a lot of industries into what they were supposed to be from the very start.
Virtual assistants will be used more
For growing businesses, one of the largest issues for their customer service is handling the increase in customer support emails and calls. It can be hard for this department to expand its bandwidth without hiring additional employees to operate its support channels. Virtual assistant software lessens that pressure by providing in-app interactive support for struggling customers. Although VA won’t replace the job of a human rep, they can provide instant answers to simple questions that save time for both the company and the customer.
Gartner expects that by 2020, 25 percent of customer service operations will integrate virtual customer assistants or chatbot technology. Comparing that with less than 2% of companies that reported using this type of technology in 2017 show us a significant spike in expected usage.
The omnichannel customer journey
Customers aren’t interested in understanding what omnichannel means – all they care about is being able to connect with the brand however they want to. Consumers just want the most convenient way to connect with the company and get what they desire – instantly and easily.
From the product research phase to the moment a company needs product support, customers will most likely switch from channel to channel if it provides a comfortable, more convenient customer experience. Every individual has their preferences for how they want to move along their customer journey, which translates to potentially millions of different consumer journeys that companies will have to consider.
Businesses will become more attuned to their customers’ multi-channel and multi-device behavior and increasingly realize the need to develop a seamless, omnichannel experience. One of the keys to designing such experience includes knowing precisely what consumers need, expect and prefer at each stage of the customer journey.
Trends come and go, but it is important to see which of them is useful and beneficial to a particular type of business. As technology encompasses the business world more and more, apps, machine learning, and virtual customer assistants will be just some of many trends influencing the customer experience world.
AUTHOR BIOJacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.