How Is That New Year's Resolution Going?

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Have you stuck to your New Year's resolution? If not, you're not alone. U.S. News states that 80 percent of Americans abandon their resolutions by February.

One resolution that is worth keeping is the one companies have made to simplify customer engagement. But, like going to the gym every morning or declining dessert, actually doing it is much harder than talking about it.

To ring in the New Year, our editorial team tracked customer engagement trends for 2018. Not surprisingly, the clear standout trend is that consumers want more simplified experiences. The concept comes to life with the growth of personal and voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home to help consumers manage their daily lives. What's great about these tools is that they seamlessly integrate with daily activity, adding value and helpfulness with minimal customer effort. It's no wonder more than 36 million Americans use voice assistants at least once a week.

In addition, consumers want more automation and don't want to make a call if there's a simpler way to resolve issues. AI customer service is on the upswing, and sales and service chatbot adoption is expected to skyrocket, with 80 percent of businesses planning to deploy them by 2020. At the same time, consumers want personalized interactions, and don't mind sharing data needed to reach the ease of service that comes with personalization.

For these reasons, many companies decided that this was the year they were going to re-commit to customer centricity. Yet they've got a tough hill to climb. The other megatrend we discovered was that companies must work harder than ever before to meet customer needs.

For all their resolutions to focus more on customer engagement, many obstacles stand in the way of firms' ability to provide simplified experiences. The trail to CX success has yet to be blazed, and only 20 percent of executives are willing to take a risk to improve digital operations. Without a proven path, companies instead focus on short-term activities that may not truly move the needle.

Analysis paralysis strikes many companies, and as customer journeys get more complicated through mobile apps and voice assistants, some firms just don't bother trying to understand the customer point of view. By this time of year, even companies with the best customer intentions may now be the business equivalent of a couch potato eating a pint of ice cream, wondering how to cancel their gym membership.

It's not too late. How can companies stick to their customer resolutions all year long? Our latest eBook, "CX Trends to Watch in 2018," outlines what customer experience success looks like this year and beyond. Check it out, and get your behind off the proverbial couch!