Amazon, Spotify, Uber Eats, Netflix.
What do these brands have in common? In the simplest terms, they allow customers to engage in hyper-personalized experiences that focus on their unique wants and needs. Unsurprisingly, customers love these tailored experiences, so they reward the brands with their loyalty, consistently choosing them over competitors.
These brands are raising the bar for consumer engagement at-large – not just in B2C interactions, but B2B as well.
CX Day 2019: How far we’ve come
October 1st is CX Day 2019, which is an opportunity to celebrate the people and companies that make great customer experiences happen. In honor of the day, I’m reflecting on how customer experience has evolved over the past year or so, and also sharing some predictions for what might be coming next.
First and foremost, we’ve (finally) arrived at a place where all organizations fundamentally understand that they’re competing point-blank on the experience they deliver. Despite the consistent drumbeat of CX over the years, this is only a recent development, and it’s growing rapidly as brands attempt to keep up with the continuous improvements of the above-mentioned CX leaders.
Now that placing customer experience at the heart of business is a reality, we’re seeing brands step up their game when it comes to on-demand CX. Recent data found that live chat has the highest consumer satisfaction rate among all other channels, proving that brands are committed to using the advanced technology that customers love, like AI via chatbots, to respond to customers contextually and in the moment.
Brands have made real strides in delivering an omnichannel experience and making it valuable. As a NikePlus member, I feel this all the time. For example, when I’m in close proximity to a certain store, I automatically get updates on my phone about the layout of the store, making my shopping experience easier. I can also use my phone to scan barcodes and have specific items/ sizes delivered directly to me in the fitting room.
The future of customer experience: Where we’re going
Now that we’ve reached this point, where we’re celebrating CX Day, what comes next in this field?
Here are my predictions for the future of customer experience:
- Use of AR to create a deeper, immersive experience: AR allows brands an almost unlimited opportunity to interact three-dimensionally with consumers, something I think they’ll take advantage of in the coming year. The best use of AR will enrich the relationship between consumer and brand – before, during, and after a sale.
- ‘Instant’ becomes even faster: Let’s be honest: sometimes we want to order a product from our couch and have it delivered directly to us that day. It used to be that brands with even the tightest supply chain operations needed at least one day to deliver. In 2020, the combination of traditional retail locations as fulfillment centers, gig worker delivery options, and maybe even the use of drones will allow brands to close the delivery gap to a matter of hours. You’ll be able to order and receive a shirt from Everlane in the same amount of time it takes to order a pizza.
- Digital assistants will be a staple in brick-and-mortar stores: Some brands – like Walmart – have started to embrace using robots in their stores. I think we’ll see this everywhere in 2020. From the customer standpoint, robotic assistants cut down the amount of time a customer needs to spend in-store, personalizes their experience, and provides an outlet to share their opinion about their experience before they even leave the store.