By: Errol S. van Engelen
Business Partner | Management Consultant at The Brown Paper Company
It’s always interesting to hear predictions and trends for 2016 and beyond. I’ve elected to share my views on the future of Customer Experience through the lens of other experts as well. Customer Experience is the sum total of how customers feel as they engage with your company and brand over time, as a result of how well your interactions with them meet their expectations and fulfill their wants and needs.
In other words, if your customers like you and enjoy doing business with you, they’ll continue to do so. If they don’t, they won’t. Which makes it even more important that you take note of the predictions and trends I’ve shared below:
If Customer Experience isn’t your priority, you’ll lose – As commoditization across industries becomes even more prevalent, the importance of differentiated Customer Experiences continues to increase–as evidenced by the fact that 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of Customer Experience in 2016, versus 36% just five years ago. (Gartner)
If your customers don’t like the experience they have with you, they’ll leave –There are many studies supporting the notion that 80% to 90% of customers that have a bad experience will leave, with little chance of returning. You don’t need research to understand the logic of this. (Forrester)
Personalization and customization are Customer Experience table stakes –Offering an integrated, personalized Customer Experience across digital and analog channels is key to both understanding and meeting customers’ preferences. What’s more, customers expect it. (Accenture)
Customer self-service continues to be critical to a good experience –According to one study, nearly a third of customers would rather clean a toilet than talk to customer service. (Aspect)
Engaged customers are valuable customers – Indeed, engagement is hard to measure and difficult to create. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. Engaged customers buy 50% more frequently, spend 200% more each year, and are five times more likely to indicate that your brand is the only one they would purchase in the future. (Rosetta)
Millennials will matter more than ever – Now some 25% of the population and commanding ever greater purchase power, this highly influential cohort is influencing the buying decisions and Customer Experience expectations of everyone. And they’re less different than you might expect. (MeNG)
Customer Experience is mobile – As important as omnichannel experiences are, they’re increasingly driven by one channel over others. And that channel is mobile. This means anytime, anywhere access for anyone. (KPCB)
Your technology needs to work seamlessly and flawlessly – Amazon, Google, and others have radically reshaped what customers expect from your tech. Not surprisingly, 93% of business leaders worldwide said technology had changed customer expectations in the past five to 10 years. (EMC)
Non-human digital assistants (artificial intelligence) will increase –Bringing many of the above trends together, they’re getting better every day. Providing seamless two-way engagement with customers that mimic human conversations via text or phone, listening and speaking, across multiple occasions and places over time isn’t just science fiction. It’s becoming reality. (Gartner)
Customer Experience leaders focus on employee and workplace experience – The correlation between happier, more productive employees and better Customer Experience is strong. This is one reason that EX (employee experience) and WX (workplace experience) are among the fastest growing areas of experience design. (Fjord)
The Customer Experience is the key to success for businesses in 2016. Businesses now have access to rich data and powerful tools that can reveal so much about existing and potential customers. And brands now have more opportunities than ever to attract potential customers through content which supports an inbound sales process. Smart companies are restructuring their organization to use Social Media as a platform for their Customer Experience and make data the lifeblood of their business. Are you one of these companies?
Gordon Conner is a Branding Consultant/Coach and Copywriter who helps build killer brands for small local businesses. He has been providing advertising, marketing, branding and copywriting services for 39 years and lives in Midlothian, Virginia. He can be reached at Gordon@BranWorks.com, or www.BranWorks.com.