Welcome back! With the holidays officially over and the new year in full swing, it’s time to think about 2018 and how customer experience expectations and innovations will evolve. CSP predicts four major advances in customer experience for 2018, including:
- Personalization of experiences
- Tactical data
- Unification of touchpoints and services
- Emotional expectations from customers
Let’s dive in!
Personalization of experiences
According to CNBC, and the business world as a whole, artificial intelligence will make a major impact in consumer interaction in 2018. Specifically, Amazon’s Alexa sets the tone for voice-controlled services and AI assistants. Consumers are becoming more familiar with AI assistants, whether through interactive voice response systems or online troubleshooters.
However, AI is one small element of a greater picture: Personalization of experiences will be a dominant force in 2018. For the past few years, companies have been revolutionizing customer experiences by tailoring services. Netflix recommends shows you might like, Starbucks offers customer-tailored email promotions, and the iPhone X recognizes your facial ID. More importantly, consumers now expect these customizations – it’s no longer novel.
In recent history, data has served major company decisions to help develop new products and provide rationale for major initiatives. In 2018, successful enterprises will think in terms of small, specific applications of data. Companies will leverage data to perfect and align their different customer touchpoints. Analytics will help companies measure customer success, and companies will openly solicit feedback to improve specific business interactions. This advancement is due to increased sophistication of data analysts and a more agile conversion of raw data to actionable insights. Expect 2018 to see increased interaction among product development, marketing and data – where silos begin to break down and marketing departments requests tactical data projects from their analytics teams.
Unification of touchpoints and services
CSP has written about the universal banker for a while, but the template the universal banker creates applies to most industries, especially in 2018. The universal banker is a jack-of-all-trades bank representative who can handle anything from traditional teller tasks to a small business loan. The benefit of the universal banker is having a single representative able to help a customer from the moment they walk in the door (or call, or communicate online), until their needs are met. The single-touchpoint solution creates a more satisfactory and comfortable customer experience, and other industries are catching on. Enterprises across a wide variety of industries are creating one-stop solutions and training broad employee capabilities to meet consumer needs. Call centers are working harder to avoid department transfers. Traditional clothing retailers are broadening their inventory to include grooming merchandise. Even workplaces are offering broader services, like advanced kitchens and fitness facilities, to attract employees. Expect 2018 to be a year of broadening offerings and reducing touchpoints – all to create a cohesive, one-stop experience designed to delight consumers.
Emotional expectations from customers
In 2018, brands will be more in-tune with their customers’ feelings than ever before. Specifically, they will navigate their strategy based on customer emotion. This is especially true for B2B enterprises. Professional services, marketing firms and analytics consulting companies will focus on delivering stress-free experiences for clients, and simplifying the business relationship to gain a competitive advantage in client satisfaction. Likewise, B2C enterprises will focus on short wait times, employee education and online clarity of communication to create an easy customer experience.
CSP would like to wish everyone an energizing and successful 2018. Thank you for working with us!