11 Tech Trends You Can Bet Your Customer Experience Budgets On, Today through 2020…


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11 Tech Trends

Today, nearly every customer experience in nearly every industry is driven or supported by ever-more-quickly-evolving digital technology. The landscape is changing so rapidly that customer experiences are already being radically reshaped by technologies that are cutting edge today—but will be mainstream tomorrow.

In our work as a customer experience and digital experience strategy firm, we’ve long enjoyed a multi-industry, cross-border view of the issues executives are fascinated with or scared by—and have a front-row seat to where they are placing technology bets in 2017 and beyond.

And while there are hundreds of technology solutions clamoring for executive attention (and investment dollars), only some will dominate the budget cycles between now and 2020. Curious? Here’s a peek—our summary of the top 11 technologies customer experience leaders are considering or deploying now, to deliver (in some cases radical) competitive advantage tomorrow.

Their goals? Likely similar to yours—to help drive delivery of the “digital first but not digital only,” multichannel experiences their (and your) customers are demanding.

  1. Mobile is Becoming (Already Is?) The Primary Channel for Customer Engagement
    According to a recent Adobe survey report, ninety-two percent of respondents said their smartphone is their primary device. Smartphones have also overtaken computers as the top e-commerce source. The reality is, if you’re not considering your ability to deliver great mobile experiences at least equal to (but better yet, ahead of) all other digital devices, then you’re already in trouble.
  2. Good-bye Content Management Platforms: Hello Digital Experience Management Platforms
    The content management systems of today are light years ahead of early efforts. But they’re falling behind already, as experience leaders to look to next-gen “DX platforms” that manage, deliver, and optimize experiences consistently across all digital touchpoints. Among other things, they coordinate content, customer data and core services, and unify marketing, commerce and service processes.
  3. Descriptive, Predictive, and Prescriptive Analytics Drive Better Customer Experience Design and Delivery
    All that “Big Data” hype? Here’s where it’s heading. Emerging analytics tools make it easier than ever to mine the flood of available data to provide customer experience leaders insights into the past to learn “what happened?”, a look into the future to understand “what could happen?” and link these and other data sources together to help understand and prioritize “what should we do?”
  4. Say Hello to Multi-Channel, Multi-Party, Continuous Improvement “Voice-of-X” Programs
    Voice-of-the-Customer (VoC) programs have long been the critical “listening” component of CX management. But as CX matures, so too does the need to understand (not just listen to) customers and their actions, spanning channels (call center, physical, digital, social, etc.), data sources (reactive, proactive, operational and more) and audiences (workforce, partners, distributors, etc.)
  5. “AI” is Already Both More Intelligent and Less Artificial Than You May Think
    Thankfully, there is no match for the human brain—yet. But AI will continue to accelerate, as its already impressive ability to do things like access and apply data, streamline processes, focus actions and model future scenarios gets ever better. A “CX enabler,” AI increases the ability to personalize and customize interactions by making them more “human,” and in many cases, without humans at all.
  6. It’s Time for Company to Learn to Talk—and Listen. (Thank you, Alexa…)
    Yup. Very soon, a digital, computerized persona will speak on behalf of your firm. It will take orders, provide support and answer questions. It will upsell, and issue refunds. All of this, and more, in response to verbal requests by customers and employees. But the toughest part isn’t technical (Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and the like aren’t perfect, but they’re continuously learning and getting better by the day), it’s operational and political.
  7. Customer-Centric Virtual and Augmented Reality Add (Yet Another) Channel
    With AR/VR revenue set to top $160B by 2020, the rich, immersive and deeply personalized experiences they unlock moves the technology well beyond gaming—reimagining things like ecommerce (think high-end retail, or auto buying), education (from higher education to workplace safety and employee training), and healthcare (physical therapy, surgical simulation), among others.
  8. It’s Time to Understand the Impact of IoT on Customer Experience
    Made up of billions of smart, connected devices, the IoT gives any “thing” a voice through the data it gathers, produces and distributes.  With around 26 “smart objects” for every human being on Earth predicted by 2020, the ability to leverage connected products and other sensor-generated data to enhance the customer experience is unprecedented, and a growing opportunity no CXO can ignore.
  9. Cybersecurity Now Impacts Customer Loyalty (Not to Mention Your Electability…)
    Recent election results aside, fraud is a top customer and executive concern for e-commerce, banking and other online activities. Adding this to customers’ digital-first preferences and the real threat of fraud (nearly 40% of consumers have fallen victim) makes cybersecurity critical in no small part because breaches cause customers to run and brand loyalty and confidence to erode.
  10. Why You Must Understand—and Embrace—The API Economy
    API’s can give your organization the ability to respond more profitably and intelligently to customer interactions, by becoming more responsive, flexible and efficient. They can create new, more personalized and richer experiences, for example sending one customer to video or text chat, and another to a special offer or “help” article in part by making it easier to integrate and connect people, places, data and more, delivering agile, reactive content from legacy and cloud systems.
  11. The Robots Are Coming, and They’re Here to Help. No, Really…
    In 2014, Starwood introduced their newest staff member at an Aloft hotel in Cupertino, a robot named “Botlr,” who checks in guests and delivers amenities. Banks are adding “robot bank tellers” and Pepper the android is selling Nespresso at retail for Nestlé. A gimmick? Maybe. Unless you’re a customer wanting an answer or a delivery and “real” people are too busy or scarce to help. Or, an executive looking for a way to scale and reliably deliver low-cost, consistent service.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. Great article Michael!

    I work on the call centre agent side of the equation, and can attest to the importance of AI-based predictive analytics. We see a lot of our own customers coming to us with an increasing desire to leverage that aspect of our solutions, whereas before it was considered a more distant, future concern.
    I believe that combined with manager intuition, it adds a whole new set of tools for scheduling and HR efficiency. All of this has a positive effect on customer service levels.

  2. Hi Michael, a great article and very informative, thanks. I’m amazed at the way mobile has infiltrated our daily lives. A quick scan of google analytics clearly demonstrates the swing that is taking place. I think this is tightly bound with item 6 as well. Being on the move with mobile often requires a hands-free interface. The technology is so good now that questions are being interpreted correctly and answered intelligently. With the ability to buy things through devices like Alexa Echo this is going to have a massive impact a lot earlier than we think.


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