Three Tech Trends That Will Impact Customer Experience in 2016

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By now, most business leaders are aware that customer experience matters, and that success will be defined by the ability to exceed customer expectations. In fact, Gartner reports that 89 percent of surveyed business leaders indicated customer experience was the “new battlefield” and that they intend to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience by 2016.

However, leveraging data insights to deliver better and more relevant customer experiences continues to be a major challenge for companies. As companies race to uncover actionable insights, here are three tech trends that will impact the customer experience next year and beyond.

Cross-device Recognition

Determining whether you’re engaging the same person across a PC, smartphone, or tablet is critical for closing the loop on a consistent and personalized customer experience. The challenge is finding the most effective cross-device recognition approach and then weighing the pros and cons of which approach works best to identify users across devices. Some companies choose to use deterministic approaches, which use structured data to identify customers, while others choose to use probabilistic approaches, which use unstructured data.

When deciding which approach to use, marketers should ask themselves, ‘What is the experience that I’m trying to deliver?’ We can expect to see multi-tiered approaches as companies become savvier in targeting users. For instance, marketers may start with a broad campaign that uses a probabilistic solution. While more uncertain, this unstructured approach allows companies to loosely segment customers and capture more data. For customers who create an online account or log-in through a social ID like Facebook, marketers can deliver more content that’s tailored to those individuals.

Fast Insights

The company that delivers the most relevant message, product, or service first wins. However, it’s difficult to gain deep customer insights at scale. Also, not every company has an in-house team of data scientists. Therefore, companies are increasingly looking to third parties to provide analytic capabilities and produce quick insights. Instead of solely devoting your resources to capturing data and running campaign tests, for instance, look for quick wins such as new features that can be easily added to an app or website.

If the new feature or layout doesn’t gain traction with customers, move on. The challenge is having a tolerance for risk and being able to learn from your mistakes. The companies that are budgeting for failures can learn and improve the next project.  

Advanced Outsource Solutions

Advances in real-time speech and text analytics are helping contact centers deliver more accurate and timely services. For instance, if an associate doesn’t mention that the call is being recorded or ask for an important piece of information, a reminder can pop up on the screen. Text conversations and post-call transcriptions are also being analyzed to identify patterns and opportunities to improve customer service.

Companies, though, need the right resources to reap these types of benefits. For instance, a company might have invested in a sentiment analysis tool, but without someone who is trained in statistical analysis, data interpretation, and visualization techniques, the data is useless. Similarly, if a company doesn’t have the right recording technology, it won’t be able to collect the data it needs for analysis.

At the same time, cloud-based outsourcing services are making it easier to acquire, interpret, and deploy data without having to acquire all of the necessary infrastructure yourself. Expect to see more companies supplementing their contact centers and other departments with outsourced solutions because an outsourced service can help manage the myriad of components and technical issues that may otherwise be overlooked.

As more companies focus on the customer experience, it’s important to remember that the definition of an excellent customer experience is constantly being redefined. However, companies that embrace insight-driven strategies and are willing to experiment are more likely to stay ahead of the competition. 

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