Earlier this month, the world celebrated CX Day, the one day in the year set aside to celebrate the professionals and companies behind great customer experience around the world. In addition to the networking events, company celebrations, webinars, award shows, and other local events associated with CX Day, this day allows those in the profession to reflect on the journey that CX and customer service have come so far.
The field of CX has grown in leaps and bounds over the past couple of years. As a profession, it didn’t even officially exist about a decade ago, which is absurd considering the centuries of business and customer interactions.
Thankfully, more companies are slowly realizing the importance of CX. For instance, over 72% of business organizations in a Forrester survey said they plan to make CX their top priority. This only makes sense considering the billions of dollars lost each year due to lackluster customer service.
So, to help fix customer service and improve CX, many businesses have been making moves in 2017 to help gain competitive advantage in modern business environments. The following are some of the CX trends that have been fanning these moves.
1.) Big Data Analytics
It’s always been customary for businesses to collect and store customer data in one form or another – from names and addresses at checkouts to emails during surveys. For the most part, most businesses didn’t know how to use this data to improve CX, often ending up with large chunks of meaningless data.
In recent years, and more so in 2017, businesses have been employing cutting-edge tools to help crunch mounds of data and deliver personalized experiences for customers. A survey by Forbes Insights even found out that over 42 percent of executives trust in data analytics to help deliver superior CX.
Sometimes it’s the small things – like receiving a surprise upgrade to business class when flying with your favorite airline. Sometimes it’s more complicated, like receiving home security recommendations after buying a security camera from Amazon or eBay.
2.) Smarter Chatbots
A few years ago, customer reps used to run on-site customer support platforms exclusively. This often meant creating a balance between on-site support availability for customers and preventing employee burnout. For many businesses with a website, customers were either going to get grumpy and unhelpful customer reps or no on-site chat support at all.
But then AI-powered chatbots came in.
Artificial intelligence has played a huge role in transforming traditional chatbots into smart customer reps that can function almost as well as human reps. 2017 has seen smarter chatbots used to boost CX in cases where human customer service reps aren’t available. These bots use machine learning, natural language processing, and an ever-growing neural network to help mimic human responses as precisely as possible.
For instance, Salesforce uses its NeuraFlash platform to integrate chatbots with clients’ user portals, resulting in significant improvements in CX. Plus, because Salesforce deals with troves upon troves of customer data, these intelligent chatbots are able to feed on chunks of data to conduct intuitive conversations.
3.) Alternative Customer Support Platforms
In addition to chatbots, businesses are extending support into new platforms, including social media, mobile, and self-service in the form of comprehensive knowledgebase platforms. Billions of users flock different social media platforms to interact with each other and their favorite brands, which is why many businesses have strengthened their presence on social media.
So don’t be surprised when your Instagram or Facebook posts get comments and likes from Apple and Netflix.
Companies have also made heavy investments in FAQs and other on-site materials that can help visitors find answers without human involvement. When these are mixed with AI-powered chatbots, most users usually don’t need to contact human customer reps, even though some questions do require a human touch.
4.) Convenience is King
2017 has also seen the biggest shifts by businesses towards creating an easy and convenient environment to do business. Convenience is one of the most potent tools for promoting CX, something that Amazon seems to be getting better at by the day. Earlier in the year, Amazon premiered Amazon Go, an in-store platform that enables customer to “grab and go” without queuing or checking out.
And even though self-checkout stores and platforms have been around for a while, they have gotten smarter and more widely available – all in efforts to take CX to the next level.