Customer experience management has undergone significant changes over the past few decades. In the past, customer experience was generally confined to brick and mortar store where customers only had access to the products and brands that these stores stocked. Now, a lot of people do their shopping from their computer. As a result, customers often have an abundance of choice, especially on online ecommerce stores like Amazon. Because of this choice, customer experience has changed to accommodate this shift. With that in mind, here are few trends that could change customer experience by 2017.
Automation has been changing the face of customer experience for the past several decades. And 2017 is going to be no different. There are still dozens of industries where automation is yet to fully kick in. Much of this automation will likely occur in the backend processes of B2B businesses, where office workers are still manually inputting inventory, claims and expenses. Automation of processes like claims could easily bring down the time to process data which helps customers resolve their issues faster. This has a direct impact on customer experience by making the customer service process much more efficient.
Automation is not always good though. When self-checkouts were first introduced at retail outlets, they were expected to completely change the way customers shop. But the process here has remained unchanged for more than a decade now. Not only that, a majority of customers do not really like the process either. And according to the latest reports, self-checkout kiosks could in fact be on the way out. According to an NPR report, retail outlets in future could let you to automatically checkout products the moment they are picked from the shelf. Will 2017 be the year we see this in our stores?
‘Touch And Feel’ Goes Social
Customers like to touch and feel the products they buy. As commerce becomes increasingly digitized, the traditional ‘touch and feel’ has been replaced in part by experiential marketing. This is a marketing strategy where customers identify a brand through an associated experience. The most popular example of such a campaign from recent times is the ‘Shot on an iPhone’ commercial from Apple. This campaign showed the power of an iPhone camera to potential buyers, and this experience alone motivates these viewers to own an iPhone themselves.
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‘Touch and feel’ and experiential marketing could go social in 2017. No longer do you have to experience the product in silo and make a decision on whether you like the product. It is going to become common for businesses to let visitors take a picture or capture a video of a product on the store, share them with their friends on social media and get feedback from their network before they buy them. As customers increasingly rely on peer feedback for their purchase, 2017 could be the year when experiential campaigns go social.
Machine Learning Goes Mainstream
Remember the story about Target getting its prediction right about a teenage customer being pregnant just using her transaction history? Such eerily accurate predictions about customers could soon become mainstream. Machine learning is already being adopted by a number of large retail enterprises. It’s not long before machine learning SaaS tools become available for small business retailers as well. Imagine your neighborhood mom and pop store being able to accurately predict the number of milk cartons they will need to stock any given day; or, the local florist being able to correctly predict the demand for daffodils. Machine learning can help with precise demand prediction which can in turn cause a huge uptick in customer experience.
What other trends do you think are going to be common in 2017? Share your predictions in the comments below.