There are a two key concepts that factor into current trends in customer experience: adaptation to the rise of consumer electronics and mobile devices, the growth of social media as a positive communication tool for companies. Providing a better customer experience will not only take a smart, predictive look into future trends, but also the adoption of current and future technologies.
Here are 10 customer experience trends to look for in 2015.
1. Social media will be embraced to connect with customers
Surveys, while effective in gathering data, is quickly becoming antiquated compared to other forms of communication. The main problem with surveys is that they are a slow, bureaucratic-like process.
Gartner writes that: The current generation of customer service and support software for the contact center that is, where contact with a human is required — is inadequate to support customers on social media.
Social media will be leveraged to connect with customers to build brand loyalty and get real-time feedback.
2. A greater emphasis on providing outbound notifications
Outbound notifications are notifications that companies can send to their customers’ mobile device via interactive voice response (IVR) and short message service (SMS). A safe prediction will be that organizations will look to use more outbound notifications for fast, personalized, and proactive connections.
According to a survey by Forrester’s Forrsights Networks And Telecommunications, 29% of enterprises are planning to invest in proactive outbound communications in the near future.
3. More proactive, anticipatory services will be offered
Using behavioural research and analytics is becoming the norm for companies focused on customer experience. A new trend is looking towards more personalized customer experiences and anticipating individual needs, rather than just analyzing bulk data from surveys. I expect more companies will be training employees with more predictive capabilities.
4. Customer experience is being integrated into product development
Usability test standards are the barometer of a product’s effectiveness. Organizations are taking a step back and examining products from the customer’s perspective. They will interact more with customers through social media, and incorporate feedback into their product’s lifecycle.
5. Mobile markets are being tapped into
With the number of mobile devices in use growing steadily, expect more companies to focus exclusively on the mobile market.
Even right now, savvy companies are working with a mobile-first mindset. We are going to see more and more websites that are designed from a mobile perspective and then scaled up to work with desktop computers.
6. Software-as-a-Service will continue to grow
Apps and software directly affect how customers interact with and perceive organizations. Analysts will use apps and software as a way to measure customer satisfaction. Along with social media, focused-testing will be used to reveal valuable customer feedback.
7. Contact centers will be transformed into relationship hubs
Traditional contact centers handle customer interactions, such as technical support. Due to shifts in technological advancements, contact centers are becoming more customer centric. Relationship hubs build customer loyalty in a more broad sense, instead of just being a single stop for solutions. Companies are pushing for more open, accessible hubs for customers that rely on two-way communication.
8. Positive employee engagement will lead to better customer experiences
A study by the Temkin Group found that “nearly twice as many employees at companies with subpar customer experience are looking for a job compared with employees at companies with good customer experience”.
Companies in 2015 will double down on engaging their employees more effectively because they understand how important customer experience is. Engaged employees are more likely to provide a better customer experience.
9. Customer satisfaction will be reinforced as a core value
As companies grow, they tend to lose focus on what drives their success – customers. Customer satisfaction will be at the forefront of businesses. Many companies will explicitly re-articulate customer satisfaction as a core value for the benefit of their employees and customers.
10. We Will see More Websites and Softwares Offering Online Guidance
Online services, like WalkMe, that help guide customers are becoming increasingly important. Tools such as real-time guidance tools, analytics and monitoring will help broaden customer experience.
Many of the trends in 2015 are logical continuations of trends we have seen in recent years, from simple usability to broader customer experience analysis. The main difference is in the magnitude and velocity that these changes will occur.