Predictions on the future of Customer Experience – Are you ready?

Ensuring the right customer experience is how companies define their brand… and this is what keeps the CEO up at night.

On February 24, Forbes columnist and Customer Experience adviser Blake Morgan, will conduct a webinar to discuss her five predictions for 2016.

As Blake will point out, the past year was rampant with disruptive changes. And 2016 is bound to be a wild ride. Few industries have escaped this disruption in the past few years… today the leading taxi company (Uber) owns no taxis, the leading accommodation provider (Airbnb) owns no real estate, and leading movie house (Netflix) owns no cinemas. What disruption will impact customer experience in 2016?

As CEOs face this disruptive landscape, they realize that ensuring the right customer experience is how they define their brand in a world where many companies cannot effectively differentiate based on product functionality. And this is what keeps them up at night. Companies that treat customers “like guests in their home” rather than unwanted annoyances can set themselves apart from the competition. Those that don’t fall further behind.

So what will be the big trends in customer experience this year? Blake identified five. We’ll highlight three.

1. Cross-channel CRM on mobile

Omni-channel has been a buzzword in customer service for years now, and for good reason – customers are communicating via a plethora of channels, chat, text, web, social and mobile, in addition to the traditional phone. They demand that companies interact with them via the same channels. Within a company, digital and mobile channels are often the domain of separate organizations (marketing, web, etc.). Yet the contact center is still the focal point for that customer conversation and the place where the customer experience is defined (for better or worse). For a company to treat a customer like a guest, contact center professionals must be empowered to interact with customers via whatever channel they choose. This requires contact center applications that cross incompatible technologies and silos to facilitate that conversation via phone, digital and mobile, across the customer journey.

2. On-Demand Contact Centers

Traditional call centers require highly structured staffing, with inflexible shifts and staffing planned well in advance. But today’s world places a premium on flexibility. For example, an Uber driver can chose when to work or not based on his or her needs. The same can be true for contact center professionals. Customers expect 24/7 interaction, so contact centers must be flexible enough to staff whenever customers want to respond. In the future, contact center agents will be able to work on-demand and log onto the system whenever they want.

This requires an approach to contact center technology that is workflow-based. A workflow-based class of contact center applications manages a specific customer’s request as a “case” which is tracked from initiation to resolution, regardless of whether that customer interacts with one customer care agent or many, regardless of whether that “case” is resolved in one call or by many interactions over time.

3. Big Data is harnessed in useful ways

Data helps organizations identify service issues early on. And this early detection can turn a negative experience into a positive one. Also data provides feedback that is fed into product design and marketing. Smart companies are using data to execute in savvier, more customer-centric ways. Yet the difficulty of organizing and manipulating massive volumes of unstructured data means data analysis is often conducted in “batch mode” to provide insights to senior management. If leveraged effectively, predictive analytics and data can enable a company to deliver a stellar customer experience by anticipating rather than simply responding to customers’ needs. But to do this effectively, companies must deliver these predictive analytics directly to the customer service agent in real time, at the precise moment when they are interacting with the customer.

It’s clear that some companies understand the value of customer experience and others don't. Companies that “treat customers like a guest in their home” will remain competitive over those that don't. And companies that value customer experience need to tap into modern customer technologies to make life better and easier for their customers.

To hear Blake Morgan’s predictions in greater depth, join us for the webinar on February 24th at 11am ET/4pm GMT/5pm CET. Register now