CX in 2018: Top Customer Experience Predictions


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Customer expectations are rapidly evolving. The pace of technology innovation is relentless. How will your business need to adapt or rethink the way you deliver customer experiences to stay competitive in the year ahead?

Check out these CX predictions from our Beyond the Arc team on what we expect to see in 2018…

Companies will have to effectively balance AI and CX

Everyone’s talking about AI (artificial intelligence) and how it will transform customer experiences. But companies will need to balance digital convenience with the personal touch. One of our customer experience strategists, Christine Matteo, predicts that:

“AI technology will enable deeper connections with customers, helping businesses to respond to customer needs with greater accuracy. However, if AI is inaccurate in interpreting what a customer needs, it may be more of a turnoff than a help. The trick will be to know when it’s better –or even preferred– to address a customer need with a live person.”

Employee empathy will be critical for culture transformation

Two big waves are converging… the power of empathy in customer experience, and the importance of building a customer-centric company culture. The result is a need for greater focus on empathy in the employee experience. These are the people who are expected to bring a company’s CX vision to life. Our communications and culture transformation leader, Gavin James, sees it like this:

“Employees are the lifeblood of the customer experience. If they feel heard, valued, and satisfied, it’s a good bet that spirit will be reflected outwardly to customers. If employees are indifferent or just filling a role, customers will notice that too. Winning companies will be those that ensure internal leaders and teams get supportive communications, training and tools that help them feel empowered and motivated to live the company’s CX vision every day.”

It is time to retool your social media strategy

If your business focuses heavily on Facebook, it may be time to cross-engage customers on Twitter. According to our data science guru, Bruce Johnson, user interest in Facebook is waning and companies will need other social avenues to stay connected and relevant. Bruce sees an opportunity with Twitter and here’s why:

“Twitter is losing active participation from thought leaders and everyday users. But with less noise on the channel due to lower usage, it may become easier for businesses to stand out and generate buzz. Plus, when customers complain on Twitter, they’re often pleasantly surprised by rapid positive response from companies. Prompt, personal attention often helps improve customer retention and can even become a loyalty moment.”

Government will become more responsive to consumers

What? You heard us. Public sector organizations are waking up to the fact that consumer expectations are changing dramatically. To keep adding value, government services will need to connect more with what people really want. Here’s what our communications and training expert, Nina Katz, expects we’ll see:

“Now that consumers are used to the kind of choice and convenience they get with brands like Amazon and Apple, they’ll expect more from government offices and public services. To improve satisfaction ratings, the public sector will use surveys, secret shoppers, and Voice of the Citizen programs to gather much-needed feedback. Forward-thinking and successful public organizations will gain visibility and set the tone.”

Online advertising will need to be more creative to win customers

The highly targeted nature of online ads is becoming counter-productive. Pop-ups reflect our recent searches, site visits, purchases, even online conversations to the point of creepy, rather than engaging. As a result, our PR and media relations expert, Ana Pallas, predicts we’ll see more disruption in digital advertising in 2018:

“Do marketers really think annoying hyperlinks and pop-up videos will get people to click? To attract customers, successful businesses will move away from aggressive online advertising and clickbait. Instead they’ll create smarter content, with more relevant sentiment that genuinely draws consumers in.”

In 2017, our team at Beyond the Arc had the incredible privilege to work with market leaders in Internet of Things(IoT), advanced cellular networks and 5G, streaming pay TV (aka, over-the-top service, or OTT), artificial intelligence (AI), smart grid, and fintech and payments. As entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley ecosystem, we know the thin line that often separates failing fast from the hockey-stick growth curve of success. From my vantage point as CEO, I couldn’t limit myself to just one prediction. Here are my top 3:

We will be sharing the road with self-driving cars

With advances in machine learning, fast cellular networks, and computing power, the technology is in place for our AI chauffeur. We’re just waiting for our legal system and government regulators to catch up. Autonomous vehicles may not hit the roads en masse until 2019, but in 2018 you’ll glance over and notice that no one is behind the wheel.

Chinese ecommerce players will become name brands in the U.S.

Digital and ecommerce giants from China will make significant inroads in the U.S., raising the stakes for Amazon and WalMart. Chinese companies like Alibaba and Tencent are worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and have already succeeded in highly competitive markets. Consumers will benefit from new digital-enabled experiences, simplified payment options, and heightened competition.

Blockchain will protect you from identity theft

It’s only a matter of time until there’s a massive data breach involving the U.S. government that impacts millions of citizens (think Social Security Administration or the IRS). The fallout will create the momentum to move away from using PINs and passwords, and shift to blockchain encryption to protect our most sensitive data. Blockchain requires both a public key and a private key protect your digital identity. You can share your public key, but never have to reveal your private key (as you do with your SSN today.)

We’re excited to tackle these opportunities and challenges in 2018. Hope you’ve had a wonderful 2017 and we wish you a successful year ahead!

Steven Ramirez
CEO of Beyond the Arc, Inc. leaders in Customer Experience and Voice of the Customer. We work in financial services, media, technology, utilities, and other industries.


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