As we enter a new decade, Customer Experience (CX) will continue to reign supreme. It has firmly entrenched itself as a source of competitive advantage that the majority of companies are prioritizing. Walker Information’s 2017 prediction that CX will overtake price and product as THE key brand differentiator is the reality for consumer-facing companies across all industries operate in.
Every interaction, process, and service that defines CX is being powered and supported by ever-evolving digital technology. The CX technology landscape is moving at such a rapid pace that what’s emerging and innovative today will be mainstream tomorrow. The change is so swift that companies are struggling to keep up. Research has shown that almost all CIOs feel under pressure to deliver on the expectations of their business and its customers when it comes to CX, with legacy technology, fragmentation of systems and lack of end-to-end automation being key challenges to overcome.
When a company does invest in new technology, they don’t always see the return they expect: Only 14% of CX practitioners report seeing a direct relationship between CX and business results. With hundreds of solution providers and technology vendors all vying for time and investment, what should those responsible for CX transformation prioritize in their budget for 2020?
To help answer this question and guide your technology choices in 2020, we interviewed our experts in digital technology. They are on the front-line of CX innovation helping enterprises use technology to deliver value for the customer and business. Here are their five predictions for CX technology in 2020:
Consumers will tap more and text less, as companies start to embrace conversational messaging and commerce
“2020 will be the year companies accelerate the adoption of conversational messaging channels such as WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat and RCS. The smartphone generation expects to be able to interact with companies in the same way they would with friends and family, and today, this is mainly done over new-generation mobile messaging channels.
“Mobile interactions will no longer be restricted by character limits and basic plain text – they will become richer, more immersive and conversational, presenting brands with an opportunity to increase their reach and raise the customer experience bar.
“As the traditional coexists with the new, companies will create interaction models and communication strategies that use the right channel and format at the right moment to deliver exceptional customer experiences,” said Siva Bandi, Senior Product Manager at IMImobile.
Companies will take a platform approach to roll out new customer communications channels
“As we move into 2020, there is simply no excuse for companies failing to adopt new customer communications channels, such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, RCS and Apple Business Chat. Proactive, two-way communication is the name of the game and the evolution of these channels is driving this change. Therefore, companies can no longer rely on traditional communications and development methods.
“They need to be able to roll out such services quickly and effectively, maximizing the interactive capabilities these channels bring, in a way that complements their existing customer communication channels. At the same time, they must be able to interact with customers across all these different channels so they can deliver channel-aware experiences that take advantage of the best capabilities that each channel offers while maintaining central control of contact and policies. By adopting a ‘platform approach’ companies will be able to configure customer interactions and the orchestration of those interactions with back-office systems, as opposed to coding each such journey as a separate application. This ‘no-code’ approach provides the much needed agility and flexibility that traditional programming-intensive approach lacks,” said Dan Garner, Senior Vice President, Solutions at IMImobile.
Chatbots will hit the mainstream
“To date, there has been a lot of trial and error when it comes to the deployment of chatbots. We have seen a lot of hype, but poorly designed chatbots risk damaging customer experience, especially if related processes and systems running in the background are siloed. However, in 2020, we will see chatbots hit the mainstream as a result of the technology maturing and companies understanding appropriate use cases where they can excel. This, coupled with improved integration with back office systems, means they can now deliver true value and improve customer experience.
While chatbots won’t outright replace human agents, they will play an increasingly important role in providing first-line customer service and support. The combination of rich, interactive channel capabilities and chatbot automation means they will be able to drive a far superior customer experience. The key to making it work in practice is getting the right blend of automated and human interactions in customer journeys, as people will still welcome the opportunity to chat with or speak to a human for more complicated requests,” added Dan Garner, Senior Vice President, Solutions at IMImobile.
Customer self-service will become much more intelligent
“Companies understand the significance of self-service when it comes to delivering a great customer experience, improving operational efficiency and reducing costs. In 2020, we will see further advances in AI and automation drive much more intelligent levels of customer self-service. This will empower customers to do a lot more themselves, at their convenience, without having to change communications channels mid-journey, interact with a different department, wait days or even weeks for a transaction or interaction to be completed,” concluded Dan Garner, Senior Vice President, Solutions at IMImobile.
Proactive communication will become integral to customer service operations
“New digital and mobile channels are enabling companies to take a more proactive approach to customer communications. Customers are now open to engaging with companies that leverage these channels for personalised updates, real-time support, and other convenience-enhancing interactions. This year, companies will take advantage of this by automating numerous customer journeys and their associated communication flows, which are triggered when a customer performs an action or when an event occurs that is of interest to a customer, such as approaching an overdraft limit or a flight delay. By delivering low-effort, high-impact proactive experiences businesses can eliminate the need for customer service calls before they happen and increase customer satisfaction.” said Sandra Schroeter, Vice President, Product Marketing at IMImobile.