It’s a topic that runs and runs with service providers of all kinds. When we consider some of the trends that have taken hold in customer experience in 2018, we can predict what will continue to dominate CX discussions in 2019.

Rising customer expectations

Brilliant companies keep making our lives harder.

They raise expectations and set a new standard for customer experience. We can either race to keep up, or fall behind, and watch the gap grow.

Customers increasingly expect an experience that is seamless, effortless and remarkable.

The challenge for brands in the coming year is how to deliver an experience that stands up to heavyweight brands like Netflix and Google – while doing it all with a flyweight budget.

The answer may lie in technology, because this is usually the most affordable way to achieve a transformative effect. The clever application of technology can allow startups and SMEs to rival their corporate competitors.

Cross-functional CX teams

As we discussed in our post about who owns CX, most companies need to think about customer experience holistically, and embed cross-functional teams that can drive CX from every function: sales, marketing, communications, operations and customer support.

If you don’t have a dedicated CX team, could you assign a CX champion, who could then work across functions to harmonise CX? Whatever your approach for 2019, it’s vital that your CX is optimised for consistent across all touchpoints.

Using data and analytics to enhance experiences

The unprecedented quantities of data gathered by technology is now being put to work by CX teams. Analytics data can be combined with survey data, customer communications results and contact centre reporting to create a complete picture of customer behaviour, attitudes and actions.

This enables companies to understand the thinking behind the actions, and also identify discrepancies between what customers say and what they do.

Omni-channel

Rather than forcing customers to use a limited number of channels, or to hedge customers within particular channels, there is a move towards an omni-channel approach, meaning that customers can swap between channels mid-conversation, with no disconnect. 2019 could be the year in which this becomes a gold standard rather than a ‘nice to have’.

Emotional experiences

Life is emotional. We can’t disregard the emotional component of life moments, big decisions and difficult choices.

This is something that big brands are recognising: the experiences we create have emotional weight. By harmonising the experience to the moment, we can create experiences that feel right, that mean something, and that resonate with what our customers are feeling.

A good place to start with this work is to map the customer journey. From there, you can explore the possible emotional states of your customers. For some industries, such as insurance, this journey may be more emotionally charged. On the other hand, a retailer may find that customer emotions are broadly more positive and less substantive – unless the customer is complaining.

Which CX trends stand out for you?

Are you excited about AI? Or bored of blockchain? Has voice got a future in customer communications? Or are you intrigued by robotic process automation (RPA)? 

Let us know your thoughts

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Leif Kendall