As January ends, our new year’s resolutions should shift from wishful thinking to taking action. I’m confident that companies want 2019 to be the year they redefine their customer experience (CX). But like quitting that bad habit, you need guidance and preparation.
That’s why we must pay attention to the CX and customer service trends that are already taking shape in 2019 so we can successfully navigate and succeed on every front. At TTEC we have outlined a number of trends to keep on your agenda in a marketplace ripe with disruption on both the human and technological level. Here are some highlights from our new strategy guide, European CX Trends: The 2019 Edition.
Trend 1: Omnichannel customer experience done right
We have refrigerators connected to phones, speaking devices connected to the lights, and every other combination you can think of. And years ago, the ability to unify our technology to various channels was truly innovative. But today having flashy digital capabilities for the sake of having them doesn’t cut it. Your omnichannel experience needs to have substance and take into account customer needs, and the journey customers take in their interactions with you across all channels. Omnichannel services need to be integrated and seamless to cater to customers’ specific needs and preferences to stand out.
People want their interactions with brands to be strictly digital. For example, in the retail space, consumers still view shopping as a tangible and interactive experience, and while online shopping is easier, it doesn’t quite capture the brick and mortar experience. In fact, a Big Commerce’s global survey, The Global Omni-Channel Consumer Shopping Research Report found that over a quarter of millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z consumers agreed that not being able to touch or try on a product is a top concern when online shopping.
That’s why your omnichannel business model needs to facilitate various methods of fulfillment—from buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS), buy-online-return-in-store (BORIS) and buy-online-ship-to-store (BOSS). The point of omnichannel customer experience is ease and connectivity, so interactions must continue once the customer moves from a digital interaction to a physical one.
Trend 2: A new era of voice assistance
Google Home and Alexa devices are increasingly finding their way into our homes and everyday interactions. In just 2018, YouGov reported that 10 per cent of UK households owned a smart speaker, up from 5 per cent in 2017. But the big question remains, who is this stranger in our homes, and have they earned our trust?
Consider this: In a study by Accenture, one fifth of UK adults said they will leave the room or lower their voice to ensure their device will not spy in on a conversation, and over a quarter do not trust it with paying bills. While it’s less than likely our engagement with voice assistance is going to decrease, we do need to acknowledge the trust gap going forward.
Brands need to consider their customers’ relationship with their devices. It’s a balancing act between being authentic and interactive without being too intrusive.
You need to demonstrate to your customers that you’re prioritising data privacy as part of the value delivered through voice interactions. “Now is the time for companies to set the record straight about what they actually listen to so customers can know who to trust” says Blake Morgan, a customer experience futurist and author. In the age of data scrutiny, GDPR, and scandal, companies need to be more transparent with how their devices are a part of their user’s life.
Trend 3: Humanity meets automation
AI and machine learning are far from perfect and is full of its own quirks and mishaps in the customer service arena. Just try a conversation with some chatbots and you’ll understand. Yet it’s a growing foundation of how companies are using digital channels to serve customers. But just as important, your company needs to consider how automation affects your own employees.
In an effort to speed up transactions and task handling, more companies are deploying AI to work alongside their human staff. Therefore, you need to understand what tasks are going to be handled by automation or people. The last thing your customer service needs is an underqualified bot handling a stressful return or an associate taking a call to give hours of operations.
Frictionless service will always remain a key differentiator, so combine humanity and technology to play to their strengths. As traditional roles become automated, consider the more complex and valuable roles your associates can handle for nuanced situations.
Don’t let CX trends pass you by
In 2019, technology will undoubtedly become smarter and more adaptable, and business leaders need to be the same. By paying attention to trends, you can proactively learn from mistakes and become truly innovative.
These are just three of the many trends we explore in TTEC’s strategy guide, European CX Trends: The 2019 Edition. Download it today for more information on CX movements that are shaping the new year.