CX is an early but ever-growing field, and definitely one that will be in the spotlight in 2023. The difficult business conditions this year will act as a sorting hat, distinguishing businesses that can keep up with growing customer needs, and those that cannot.
Reflecting on the Trends of 2022: What major changes have you witnessed in the CX industry?
Where to start?
In 2022, we saw CX proceed along the trend of post-pandemic digitalisation. This trend shows no sign of stopping in 2023. Providing a seamless experience across all channels (e.g. in-store, online, mobile) continues to be crucial. We will see an increase in contact centres to facilitate this.
As such, we’ll see more high-street retailers build out digital channels through their websites or partnership. We may see more eCommerce brands potentially move to sell Amazon first.
Additionally, the number of people working in CX has increased. Best practices were established and proven. Trust in CX insights is at an all-time high. CX has more cross-functional collaboration with other teams than ever before. It’s becoming more and more common to have those trusted CX insights spread across product, operations, marketing teams and more.
That being said, we’ve still got a ways to go. CX is still seen as experimental so budgets are cut more readily than other functions. This brings us to...
Thoughts on the current state of the Economy?
It’s no secret that the economic situation is terrible. Budgets are tight.
This means more scrutiny of CX budgets, impacting CX teams across all industries. It may be common to see CX on the budget chopping block (ironically). Despite this, these conditions provide a crucial opportunity to display the value and power of CX.
When consumers spend less, brands will try to make the most of their loyal customers. This results in a strategy change: brands will focus on retention and avenues to cross-sell and upsell, rather than on customer acquisition. At its core, this is a pure CX strategy.
CX teams must focus on fewer initiatives but hit back with higher impacts. Double down on achieving tangible outcomes and having quantitative intelligence.
Where does that come from? A solid, and unified, foundation of customer intelligence.
We’ve seen companies awaken to these customer intelligence data sources, with more and more CX teams accelerating towards data-driven approaches. Executives understand the value of mining data from new and varied channels, and we’ve seen this first-hand.
We processed a record number of requests for unifying these data sources here at Chattermill, for example.
What industry to look out for in 2023?
Think ridesharing (Uber, Lyft, Bolt…), or booking apps (Expedia, Skyscanner…).
They’re still rebounding from the pandemic. When travel restrictions and lockdowns were in place, many people had to cancel or postpone their travel plans.
As a result, the travel industry is now facing increased pressure to provide excellent customer service and support to ensure that customers are satisfied with their travel experiences and will continue to book travel in the future.
Additionally, the travel industry is increasingly turning to technology and digital platforms to enhance the customer experience, such as virtual tours and virtual customer service.
Companies trying to cross-sell will work even harder, and we’ll no doubt see new competitors enter the market.
What will be the most influential technologies in CX in 2023?
But not in the way you’re used to them, with static and impersonal responses to your queries.
We’re all used to clicking through such responses until you reach the well-hidden button to ‘Speak to a Real Person’. But what if the personal support your customers really desire can be outsourced to artificial intelligence (AI)?
Brands who care about CX will, rightfully, be wary of giving too much responsibility to customer service chatbots. But in 2023, a select few of those brands will nail their chatbot experience. They’ll have a breakthrough year, while enjoying the bountiful cost savings from automation.
Chatbots will go from being a stopgap to becoming the backbone for CX if, and when, done right. AI and automating data analytics will enable more personal automated experiences and streamline the information you need from those interactions, devoid of human bias.
This change will definitely go beyond 2023, and by 2025, when chatbot technology has matured, it will be an even bigger, more critical part of CX.
What key tools should CX specialists be equipped with?
It’s a digital era. Whether the experience was positive or negative, many customers use social media to express their feedback about products and services.
Had a bad experience at a store? You post a review online. Want to praise a business on the latest product they launched? You post a reel on Instagram.
Customers now have a world of possibilities at their fingertips, and the number of people using social media as a customer service and feedback channel has increased.
Only a holistic and consistent customer experience – both online and offline – can bring value, increase customer satisfaction, and build lasting relationships. Quantifying online feedback using sentiment analysis is a great way to get the valuable insights you need to match, or even exceed, customer expectations.
What is the biggest new CX trend?
I’m looking forward to seeing an increase in customer personalisation. That means using customer data to create personalised experiences and tailored messaging. Most companies still haven’t cracked it. This will be a worthwhile investment even in tough economic times.
Provide emotional impact by connecting with the customer. Show you care. Your customers are important. They should feel that way. Give them a more personalised experience.
Use data from multiple sources to gain a more complete understanding of customers. Small, thoughtful, and well-timed, bonuses, discounts, and treats will go a long way in improving their interactions with you.
In a downturn, potentially surprisingly, there are opportunities to stand out from your competitors. Here are some suggestions.
- Reshuffling entry-level packages
- Bringing up more budget-friendly options
- Waiving certain fees
- Introducing vouchers to increase revenue
Improving the customer journey in these ways is a strong step towards improving customer retention.
On the digital side, reduce customer wait times and frustration through automated customer service and digital uptake services to improve the customer experience (remember the chatbots?).
Looking towards 2023
As previously mentioned, CX in 2023 may be slightly held back by the economic crisis.
CX teams should be prepared to more quantitatively articulate the benefits of their CX activities, and lead their companies towards more certain and achievable outcomes.
To that end, firmer bridges should be built between CX metrics and a tangible outcome in the form of CLTV, conversions, and revenue. When prioritising initiatives, double down on those leading to these outcomes.
Now is the time to differentiate yourself from your competitors using CX, and ensure a high return on investment, even in challenging times.
May the best businesses win.