We are at a pivotal moment for customer experience, with the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and a very clear shift in relations between customer and company making it harder than ever to stay up to date with ever-evolving customer expectations.
Customer service has changed faster in the last ten years than arguably within the last 100 years, with Salesforce naming the current ‘fourth generation’, where the physical, digital and biological worlds are increasingly becoming blurred. Fundamentally, what customers expect from brands has transformed, so it’s no surprise that 80% of customers consider a company’s service wrap to be as important as the products they sell.
Despite these changes occurring right under our noses, Forrester found (Customer Experience Predictions for 2020) that only 49% of US consumers say they’re getting good customer experience. The unfortunate truth is that “consumers continue to move faster than businesses”, so it’s vital to consider how to keep up with your customers. Here’s some of our predictions for this year to help you in your quest.
1. Consumer participation
Forrester’s report explains this well:
“Consumers will evolve from recipients of a brand experience to participants in it.”
Consumers are intelligent and strong-minded, so – especially to those brands they view themselves as being loyal – they want to be involved in the process. Business is political, and customers want to see that brands are using their status and power to participate in world causes, with the unspoken reality being that the brand speaks on behalf of the customer.
Forbes’ exemplified this with the recent Apple Watch Series 5 strategy, where customers are able to volunteer their health data to support medical research, making the customer’s relationship with Apple a much more meaningful one, which works both ways. Businesses should factor consumer beliefs into their CX strategy if they are to truly connect and maintain loyalty.
2. The influence of AI
AI is already beginning to change day-to-day life, but none of us are sure how this might develop in future. There are many, many kinks to iron before AI becomes totally intrinsic in our lives, and we’re already able to spot where it needs some improvement in business. Customers will take time to accept AI in their interactions with brands, and it’s not surprising with the stories surrounding this buzzword.
Stories like election manipulation, foreign state hacking, social engineering attacks and even the more mundane side – scarily realistic phishing emails have left most with a bad taste in their mouth. Because of these fears, online businesses, retailers and media outlets have had to fortify their online security, encrypting with PINs, confirmation codes, two-factor authentication and captcha boxes to check you’re a real human being.
These hurdles are an issue for those of us who want to improve our customer experience offering, with customers and prospects not wanting to go through a rigmarole every time they interact with a brand. This year is likely to see us finding the balance between safety and simplicity.
3. Customer feedback retrieval
Gathering feedback on customer service and experience is key for success, so it’s great to see that there’s huge scope for improvement this year in CSAT and NPS feedback solutions. Microsoft found in their 2018 State of Global Customer Service Report that 90% of customers viewed the opportunity to provide feedback as a more favourable trait of a brand. Despite this, less than a quarter of customers are actually given this opportunity on a regular basis, so there’s definitely room to grow.
Furthermore, long-format surveys are clearly dying a death. Even more so than last year, 2020 will find that customers just will not take the time to fill out a lengthy, laborious survey that often doesn’t clearly amount to any change. We’ve heard from one major retailer just recently who said they had sent out 3,000 surveys and had just two responses back, and it’s a similar issue that causes a lot of our customers to sign up to Customer Thermometer. Response rates to a 1-click survey are astronomically better than a boring ‘click here to fill out a survey’ links because customers are genuinely engaged and happy to respond.
Social media will continue to be an essential method of feedback retrieval from a customer base, but it’s a very narrow segment of an audience. For brands to truly relate to their customers, they will need to embrace reactions with an emoji, a gif or any other 1-click way to seamlessly integrate feedback options into their day-to-day customer interactions.
4. Net Promoter Score® customization
NPS has been a forerunner in customer feedback metrics for years now, so why is it still exactly the same as it once was, when all other CSAT tools have transformed with CX? It’s essential to keep engaging your customers with your feedback solution if you are to have significant response rates, so in 2020 why not think about customizing your NPS icons?
Our full NPS functionality allows you to create your own branded, customized 0-10 icons so that you can embed feedback seamlessly and effectively. Alternatively, if you’re not interested in customizing your own icons, you could always use a set from our shiny selection!
5. Re-evaluating customer loyalty
“Got to have this” type outbound and social marketing has led to a purchase frenzy especially amongst beauty and fashion and lifestyle brands, but many consumers do not feel that their loyalty is valued.
Saturated markets and savvy consumers increasingly mean that customer loyalty is harder than ever to achieve. Genuine rewards for staying loyal will be essential moving forward, in order for customers to feel authentically valued. Personal service, delighting and rewarding each customer – much like the old-fashioned free item given by a local shop – will ensure genuine brand loyalty and reduce customer retention.
2020 will be the biggest year yet for customer experience, with personalization, interactivity and genuine feedback being at the forefront of customer expectations; make sure you plan ahead.
Give Customer Thermometer a trial and find out how your customers feel! You will quickly see how easily implemented, simple surveys deliver great response rates that will improve your customer service.