The customer experience is everything. Here’s what customers will be expecting and customer experience trends over the next few years.
It used to be said that “The customer is king” and that is truer now than it ever has been. Over and over again, businesses that have customer-focused strategies and superior customer service outperform other businesses. The legendary J.D. Power awards, known primarily in American commercials for cars, is actually a consumer-based ranking system of businesses and industries in the automotive, financial, utility, technology, healthcare, and even government sectors. The customer experience counts everywhere.
Some customer trends that businesses have seen over the last few years include streamlining contact, giving customers more contact options including chatbots, and a focus on involving other parts of the business in customer service, including marketing, for more cohesive branding and customer experiences.
How will the customer experience change between now and 2020?
Technology continues to change what customers are able to demand and expect from businesses, products, and services, and businesses will need to pay attention to what customer expectations are. What will the customer experience look like in 2020? Here are some customer experience trends to look out for.
Customer experiences absolutely happen in call centers and customer service departments, but the customer experience is truly shaped in every part of the business. When thinking of the customer experience over the coming years, it’s important to think about the role increased personalization will play, particularly in marketing to customers. Things like geolocation, AI, and predictive learning will help businesses reach customers based on hyper-specific and relevant information. We already see this in apps like Google Maps – when opened, it uses your location to suggest restaurants, stores, and events nearby based on both location and search history. Businesses everywhere will need to stay aware of this kind of personalization as they work on their marketing outreach and elevate the customer experience.
AI assistants are already helping individuals and businesses everywhere find help on demand. There is already quite a bit of customer engagement and upselling that happens through smart devices like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. As AI technology grows, these assistants will be able to gather context and go beyond just answering questions – they may be able to suggest events to attend or places to go or things to purchase based on integrated calendars and other information. One day, it may be possible to buy “first suggestion” on voice-AI the same way that many people buy Google Ads now. Businesses should pay attention to what is possible with AI assistants as the technology grows and becomes more accessible to people – it may prove to be an excellent way for your brand to stay connected with customers and provide them with an additional level of service.
Delivery and the gig economy:
More and more, “instant gratification” and “on demand” are becoming the norm for buyers. Free 2-day shipping and streaming services led the charge in providing these kinds of customer gratification experiences. One thing that has risen and will continue to impact businesses is the number of “on demand” services customers can now order. Delivery is now no longer limited to pizza and Chinese food, gas can come to you to fill up, dry cleaners will pick up and drop off at your work, and groceries can arrive to your door in just a few short hours, all with an easy to use app. It’s worth asking, “How can my businesses contribute to this trend? What service or product do I offer than someone may want on demand and how can I provide that to my customers?”
As customers are the lifeblood of any organization, their experience is paramount. No matter how great your product or service, if your customer engagement or experience is terrible, then you won’t be able to find success. Paying attention to your customer base and the trends from other industries can help you position yourself in a strong, customer-friendly position through the upcoming years.