2019 is here and the topic on everyone’s mind is which business trends will shape the new year. No matter what publication or author you consult, customer experience is featured on every list. Why? Because the importance of CX for both B2C and B2B organizations has been rising steadily. Just consider these stats:
- 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience
- 73% of buyers name customer experience as an important factor in purchasing decisions
- 65% of buyers find a positive experience to be more influential than great advertising
It’s no wonder that businesses are zeroing in on this phenomenon. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2019, more than 50% of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations. In response, we’ve compiled our own short list of CX trends to watch:
You may have heard this term and wondered what it meant. “Omni-channel” is a way of saying that a conversation between brand and customer can continue seamlessly, regardless of the chosen communication mediums.
For example, a customer may start chatting with a bot online, then request and access additional documents while on social media, and finally have a more detailed conversation with a sales rep through a video call. Aberdeen Group claims that companies with the strongest omni-channel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for companies with weak omni-channel strategies.
The most important part of this business offering is the continuity. Brands who get this right achieve impressive results: for example, 10% spend increases are attributed to online customers who receive omni-channel marketing.
Focus on Current Customers
Businesses exist only due to the goodwill of their customers, so why is it that so many companies ignore customers after acquiring them? Now that customers can very easily air their grievances online and social media is so keen to broadcast corporate blunders, the conventional definition of customer experience has expanded. CX is not just about delighting your audience in order to win them over in the first place but continuing to maintain good relationships. It’s important to understand that this new CX, the one organizations will encounter in 2019, is an intensive, ongoing process.
Here’s a tip you can start from: if providing good CX is about engaging with customers in the way they prefer, reaching them on mobile is more important than ever. Did you know that in 2017, mobile search had already reached 63% of all web traffic in the US?
This trend isn’t new, so organizations who continue to ignore it in the upcoming twelve months are setting themselves up for disappointment. More than 65% of customers aged 18-44 already use mobile to seek service at least once a month. Your resolution should be not to leave these existing patrons waiting.
AI is a hot business topic in its own right, but even more so in the context of CX. Gartner predicts that in the next few years, 47% of organizations will use chatbots for customer care and 40% will deploy virtual assistants. The companies who will differentiate themselves in 2019 can successfully implement these automated technologies while keeping their brand voice intact.
Gartner further predicts that by 2020, a customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. This tells us that customer experience is changing: the big new challenge is going to be establishing strong connections with customers even though most communication will no longer be human to human.
Offline Meets Online Experiences
We already knew that in an age where nearly all companies collect and analyze vast amounts of data, the winners are simply those who use it quickly and correctly. Consider that 70% of companies that deliver exceptional customer experience use customer feedback.
However, a new layer of complication has arrived. Acting correctly on your customer insights is a must both offline and online, and when the two collide. Confused?
This is the new generation of customer experience, where customers visiting your business location in person are enjoying their experience with help from contextual notifications and location-aware technology such as indoor maps. On the other hand, customers checking out the company from the comfort of home have access to a wealth of information (some of it live video) from an online brand community.
The bottom line is that this interconnectivity is here to stay, and a misstep in one area creates a domino effect soon to be felt everywhere else. Make investing in good data a priority in order to meet online/offline expectations.
We’ll leave you with this last stat: in their future of CX report, PwC surveyed 15,000 consumers and found that 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience. It’s 2019 and the future has arrived: customer experience is the one thing you can’t ignore.