Customer Think magazine recently published a useful list of their top 5 predictions for the customer experience in 2016. Summarised, their list includes:
1. The customer strategy is the business strategy; customer experience is now at the heart of business planning
2. Effort and responsiveness emerge as key metrics; Customer Effort Score (CES) will become the key metric measuring the customer experience
3. Shift to proactive and pre-emptive engagement; especially for chat, where agents can jump in and help
4. Contact centre is the customer retention centre; loyalty being driven by great service
5. Virtual and augmented reality coming of age; tech tools that have looked like gaming technologies are becoming a key part of the customer experience
This is not a bad list; it captures several key points that I strongly agree with. In particular I believe that the customer experience becoming a key part of business strategy will change how many decisions are made.
However, there are some critical trends that I believe will be shaping the customer experience in 2016 that are not even mentioned here. Let me add a few to the list and perhaps Customer Think can respond with their own thoughts:
Companies changing shape; the need to integrate the customer experience so deeply into the way companies operate will mean they fundamentally need to change structure. At the most simple this means marketing and customer service need to work together in a coordinated way, most likely as a single customer management function. However it will be more complex as all customer-facing functions need to coordinate and work together.
WebRTC goes mainstream; you don’t need to know the technical detail, but this is a freely available open source API definition that allows one browser to create a voice, chat, or file sharing connection with another without the need to use external apps. Just think of when you have been using a phone app, or a website, and you need help, but the help system requires you to go to a new website or to jump between apps? With this API it’s going to be easy to push a button to call up a video agent any time you need help.
Getting omnichannel right; it wasn’t mentioned at all in the article yet the concept of a single consistent view on the brand regardless of communication channel is still extremely important. It requires data analysis, and it shows customers that you understand their needs.
I believe that these omissions are extremely important. There is no point talking about augmented reality reshaping the customer experience when I can’t even get video call support from a popular app, so let’s redefine what will REALLY be important in 2016.
What do you think should be added to the list? Get in touch with me on LinkedIn to discuss.