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The Future of Customer Experience: 10 Predictions for 2016 and Beyond

| Jan 3, 2016 3,941 views No Comments

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CX 2016_McorpCX

It’s always interesting to hear predictions and trends for the coming year. For 2016, I’ve elected to share my views on the (fast approaching) future of customer experience through the lens of other experts as well.

As usual, this list isn’t comprehensive. Given the speed and pace of change in all things customer experience-related, it can’t be. It’s even hard to effectively define what customer experience is, when viewed through the eyes of the ecosystem involved with delivering it.

From the customer perspective however, it remains clear: Customer experience is the sum total of how customers feel as they engage with your company and brand over time, as a result of how well your interactions with them meet their expectations and fulfill their wants and needs.

In other words, if your customers like you and enjoy doing business with you, they’ll continue to do so. If they don’t, they won’t. And it continues to get easier for customers to vote against those they don’t enjoy with their feet, thumbs and mice.

Which makes it even more important that you take note of the predictions and trends I’ve shared below…

  • If customer experience isn’t your priority… you’ll lose. As commoditization across industries becomes even more prevalent, the importance of differentiated customer experiences continues to increase – evidenced by the fact that 89 percent of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of CX in 2016, versus 36 percent just five years ago. (Gartner).
  • If your customers don’t like the experience they have with you, they’ll leave. There are many studies supporting the notion that 80 to 90 percent of customers that have a bad experience will leave, with little chance of returning. You don’t need research to understand the logic of this. (But in case you do: SDL, Qmatic, Oracle, Forrester…)
  • Personalization and customization are CX table stakes. Offering an integrated, personalized customer experience across digital and analog channels is key to both understanding and meeting customers’ preferences. What’s more, customers expect it. (Accenture)
  • Customer self-service continues to be critical to a good experience. According to one study, nearly a third of consumers would rather clean a toilet than talk to customer service. What else can I possibly say to that? (Aspect)
  • Engaged customers are valuable customers. Yes, engagement is hard to measure and difficult to create. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. Engaged customers buy 50 percent more frequently, spend 200 percent more each year and are 5 times more likely to indicate it is the only brand they would purchase in the future. (Rosetta)
  • Millennials will matter more than ever. Now some 25 percent of the US population and commanding every greater purchase power, this highly influential cohort is influencing the buying decisions and customer experience expectations of everyone. And they’re less different than you might expect. (MeNG)
  • Customer experience is mobile. As important as “omnichannel” experiences are, they’re increasingly driven by one channel over others. And that channel is mobile. This means anytime, anywhere access for anyone–even if there’s a PC on the desk in from of them. (KPCB)
  • Your technology needs to work – seamlessly and flawlessly. Amazon, Google and others have radically reshaped what customers expect from your tech. Unsurprisingly, 93 percent of business leader’s worldwide said technology had changed customer expectations in the past five to 10 years. (EMC)
  • Non-human digital assistants (Artificial intelligence). Bringing many of the above trends together, they’re getting better every day. Providing seamless two-way engagement with customers that mimic human conversations via text or phone, listening and speaking, across multiple occasions and places over time isn’t just Sci-Fi. It’s becoming reality. (Gartner)
  • Customer experience leaders focus on employee and workplace experience. The correlation between happier, more productive employees and better customer experience is strong. This is one reason that EX (employee experience) and WX (Workplace experience) are among the fastest growing areas of experience design. (Fjord)
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