As the years march on, customers are getting more and more used to the thought that they can interact with a brand whenever and in however many ways they want to. This, of course, pushes companies to try and do the very best they can to offer top-notch customer experience to everyone engaging with their products or services.
To this end, businesses nowadays tend to have a more customer-centric approach whenever they plan and implement their growth strategy. Having said this, let’s look at what changes 2018 brings forth, what the most influential customer experiences are and how they impact businesses everywhere:
AI Has the Power to Dramatically Improve Customer Satisfaction
You probably already know that, in recent years, AI has quickly gained a lot of ground in every aspect of business and it’s now also coming strong as an efficient tool to improve customer experience. There is one particular area in which AI delivers great results and that refers to the way in which customer feedback is analyzed.
It’s about that type of so-called ‘open-ended’ feedback, which is basically comprised of all unstructured feedback on the internet. Machine learning steps in and garners all this loose data, identifying any rising trends or extracting key information on the customers and what they want from a certain product or service.
Considering this, it’s clear to see that AI does not only improve customer experience by selecting the data that is most representative when it comes to customers’ feelings, but that it also helps businesses save valuable time and resources in their marketing endeavors.
However, companies also need to realize that AI does not only come as an opportunity to improve and grow, but also with a growing responsibility to use data in a smart and efficient way – the only way to meet increasing customer expectations.
The Internet of Things and the Revolution of Our Lives
From smart thermostats that we can control from far away with our smartphones to GPS vehicle tracking that goes beyond just location functions, IoT is an omnipresent technological advancement that undoubtedly changes our lives forever.
Years ago, customer experience was reduced to the point of sale only, after which there was no more interaction. However, this point is now only the beginning and this is a huge shift in the way we do things. Nowadays, the question to ask is whether the interaction that goes on beyond the point of sale – for example, when you get voice response from a device – is genuine and emotional enough to positively impact the customer’s experience.
The aim is now for these voice responders to be as emotionally intelligent as possible in order to better nurture customer relationships. As an added benefit, companies who employ IoT in their products or services, can still keep their workforce intact and preserve their other precious resources. It’s safe to say then that our future will look entirely different thanks to the challenges that IoT aims to address.
There Is Still No Clear Line Between In-Store and Digital Experiences
If some years ago, you could count on the digital shopping experience to be completely different and separated from the in-store one, the same cannot actually be said today.
Nowadays, customers are more likely than ever to go out for a session of window shopping, feel the fabric themselves or see how a gadget feels in their hands, after which they may return home and purchase that product from their PC. This plays right into the hands of e-commerce owners who can simply use market research or keyword tools for Amazon in order to find out what’s in high demand and then offer that at even better prices than their brick & mortar competition.
On the flipside, others may feel more at ease if they order from the comfort of their own home, but pick the item up from the store, if it’s in their vicinity or if it’s more convenient for them not to pay any shipping fees. This omni-channel shopping experience will blur the lines even more in 2018 between online and in-store experiences.
This trend will only force companies to see these experiences as one and make improvements for them, as a unit. By understanding this quicker, businesses stand a greater chance to sooner and better fulfill their customers’ expectations and desires and consequently drive more profit.
These are only three of the most important customer experience trends we are witnessing in 2018. Since customer expectations are constantly rising, companies need to permanently be on top of their game and work on improving the experience they offer.