15 Trends in Customer Experience That You Need to Understand and Enjoy

3 de Fevereiro

Antonio Augusto Simão Neto

The Temkin Group, one of the leading international references in Customer Experience, has published the 15 trends in customer experience for the year of 2018. Keep up with my comments on each one of them and stay up to date with the subject.

Guys, in my first article this year, I dealt fairly with the trends in Customer Service and Customer Experience for the year of 2018. My reflections were based on Octadesk’s trend research and served as a north for many leaders and entrepreneurs.

The goal here today is to increase and bring an international view on what points you need to be aware of when it comes to customer experience. As the subjects and information are very complementary, we only have to gain from it. On the other hand, when it comes to Brazil, a large number of companies are still in the process of learning and discovering this fabulous and challenging world of Customer Experience. So, let’s go!

  1. Metrics review

We have learned that measuring the experience is one of the 6 disciplines of Customer Experience. Researches indicates that a large part of the companies still don’t use any indicator to measure customer satisfaction, which is still disturbing, especially in Brazil.

When we talk about metrics review, this trend draws attention to those companies that already use, for example, NPS or customer satisfaction as one of the main customer experience efforts, but haven’t created yet an effective program around these measures. The consultancy expects to see, in 2018, a lot of companies restructuring and reconfiguring their CX measurement programs.

Certainly, there are great opportunities for measuring results on employee engagement, net customer retention, base sales increase, churn decrease and, including, more concrete actions involving the classic NPS. The question that remains is: how are these metrics generating change throughout the organization?

  1. Feedback and Pullback

Many companies sometimes exaggerate their researches and want to ask something after any or all interactions with the customers. And that can generate feedback that pulls things back rather than boosting the business with data that are actually worth in effective action.

Instead of providing companies with useful information, this large amount of activity often generates many unused comments, which can also irritate customers along their journey. What is expected is that by 2018 companies will reduce the number of researches, concentrating their data collections only in areas where they are willing to take action.

  1. Brand Promise

The brand promise is the value offer that each brand wishes to deliver to its customer. Companies today face a problem of not realizing that they lack a clearer view of their brand to prioritize their efforts in Customer Experience projects. The need goes through a redefinition of the meaning of the brand.

This reminds us how important it is to have a correct brand positioning, which in other words means finding the right “chair” and make an offer of value that is consistent with your values. The expected trend is that many companies will explicitly articulate the promises they will provide to customers, combined with the values of their brands. So, it’s worth a revisit to your ideology to truly understand how important the consistency of discourse is to the market.

  1. Design experience and orientation

Counting on the arm of design is already a reality in the corporate world. Whether to rebuild a product or service from scratch or to solve a complex problem, the design has come to push the business and provoke the “new”. The experience design is an area that has grown steadily within companies, with the adoption of design thinking methodologies. And we talked about here that design is one of 6 disciplines of the Customer Experience, given its strategic importance.

As this discipline grows, more and more employees are getting exposed to their principles, which helps focus attention on critical issues such as empathy and customer emotions. The tendency is to see, in a significant way, more investments in design-oriented projects, as more companies seeks to internalize this competence.

  1. Expansion of the client’s journey

When we talk about mapping the client’s journey, we’re talking about applying one of the design tools. In fact, it’s a great way to know the details of the customer’s paths, touch points, goals, thoughts, pains and expectations, providing incredible insights to eliminate frictions and improve the experience.

And, of course, the mapping of the journey continues to offer value to CX professionals as it helps infuse the customer’s point of view into their activities. On the other hand, according to Temkin Group, the application of this tool tends to affect only a small part of the organization.

And to help companies incorporate customer journey information into day-to-day decisions, they’ve created a tool called Customer Journey Thinking. The trend is for more companies to realign their metrics, analysis, design expertise and innovation around customer journeys.

  1. Digital integration

The digital integration subject, although many companies have already invested significant amounts to become digital, is still a baby, according to the consultancy. These efforts still represent initial steps in the path of true digitalization. We’re only at the beginning and we know, especially in Brazil, that most companies, specifically medium and small ones, are far from this process.

What is expected is that, from now on, organizations take new steps, building and analyzing experiences that link the digital channels with the contact centers and physical locations where consumers are visiting. To learn more about the subject, read The Challenges of Customer Experience in the Digital Transformation Era.

  1. Rationalization of chatbot

Especially in the last three years, we have seen an unprecedented number of people and articles focused on chatbots. According to the consultancy, while these tools are undeniably valuable in certain situations, they aren’t important enough to justify the large amount of attention they received, including overshadowing other critical Customer Experience activities.

The trend is that, by 2018, more deployments of chatbots will occur, but with a decrease in this short-term hysteria. And based on learning from these implementations, a long-term wave of new applications based on artificial intelligence will emerge.

  1. The persona popularization

Revisiting an excellent eBook that I received from ACT Communication, we learned that the persona is “…a semifinal representation of your ideal client. Similar to the target audience, but in the shape of a character, with characteristics that will help you in the best relationship with them. This character must have characteristics based on real facts, have personality, history, goals, motivations, concerns etc.; all the characteristics, so you know who you’re talking to.”

In the design world, personas have been around for a while and are a great tool for communicating the behavioral attributes of the target customer segments. The use of personas has grown steadily, and what is perceived is that more companies employ them in a wider set of applications and share them more widely with employees. The trend is that, from now on, people will become an even more conventional tool.

  1. Shortage of expertise in analysis

More and more companies are recognizing the value of new procedures of analysis such as behavioral analysis, predictive analytics and speech analysis. They are more and more interested in the value of the analyzes and, therefore, looking for professionals with knowledge in the field.

The trend is that, from now on, companies will aggressively recruit analytical experts, albeit a very small group, also investing in the qualification of some internal employees to fill this important role.

  1. Solving prevention problems

More companies are actively seeking ways to solve customer problems before they take on larger proportions and generate huge losses. As an example, JetBlue offers credit for TV screens that don’t work on their flights; and the Safelite AutoGlass, which has a “Response Catastrophe” team in areas that can be hit by bad weather, that can help in the relief and repair of customer vehicles.

The trend is that, from now on, service organizations apply predictive analytics to find situations that can proactively identify, avoid and solve customer problems.

  1. Newly energized executives

For some time, we’re talking about that the topic Customer Experience is still relatively new in Brazil. Regardless of the great interest of many leaders in the subject, searching literature, training, summits etc., there’s always that gap on how to implement, how to execute and where to start the project.

From what the consulting firm presents, most of these leaders do not have a realistic sense of what it takes to drive the success of the customer experience. So, when it drives people to “improve the customer experience”, it often creates a flurry of activities and some chaos in the short run.

The trend is for more and more senior leaders to begin recognizing the need to advance the scale of the customer experience. And, from now on, it’s expected to see more new initiatives on Customer Experience, which previously didn’t have adequate plans or resources. Such a great news.

  1. Dispersal of the customer experience

The Economy of Experience term was created by the Americans Joseph Pine and James Gilmore, in 1999. But the customer experience movement, even considering the international market, is about a decade old and has become a key subject in many organizations. And as it evolves, people begin to use the term Customer Experience to describe a number of different activities, some of them have nothing to do with the customer experience.

In spite of the confusion of the concept exist for so many leaders, the tendency is that this dispersion still continues causing that the term becomes more and more diluted. To understand more about the topic, it’s worth to access the article The Power of the Customer Experience Concept.

  1. People and Culture

When you say “that’s the way we do things around here”, it’s a way of defining culture. And “culture is what people say when you leave the room.” When a company conquers a strong culture, it can almost automatically engage its employees a lot, set rules and standards in a much more assertive way and, of course, gain competitive advantage over its competitors.

Culture isn’t something that develops in the short term. It’s the result of long-term actions that crystallize to become a value that manages to transform people, overcome obstacles and give a North to the business strategy. Culture has been a subject that business often discusses but rarely focuses explicitly.

According to Temkin Group, we’re beginning to see this change as more companies begin to work on creating a customer-centric culture, which is resulting in an increase in the number of people with titles that include the words “people” and “culture”. What is expected, as of now, is a huge leap forward in efforts that are clearly focused on creating customer-focused culture.

  1. Dialogue of Empathy and Emotion

When we talk about customer experience, the reflection here is that, over many years, we have done a job connecting employees’ actions to customer loyalty. What is perceived is that leaders are much more comfortable discussing topics such as empathy and emotions.

In fact, they are hot spots that are part of the Customer Experience world. What is expected as a trend is that the words “emotion” and “empathy” are part of the executive agendas in what is the “Year of Humanity”, according to the consultancy.

  1. Voice Recognition

According to Tecmundo, although this is also an example of application for the field of pattern recognition technology that deals with sounds, there are forms of use that are closer to our daily life than you think. For example, have you ever received e-mail in which is asked you to “say the desired option”?

Electronic attendance programs are part of this technology. They hear the sound emitted by their voice, classify the syllables and a search method is applied to associate this information with word patterns in order to find similarities. As an example of a common mobile app, Shazam, by “listening” to a particular song, identifies its name and author in seconds.

From now on, text analysis tools will become a staple in customer insight toolkits, and as a trend, companies will focus much more on speech recognition for insights and interfaces.

The main source of research for the writing of this article was the report 15 Customer Experience Trends for 2018, by Temkin Group.

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