13 CX Technology Trends to Watch Out For
By Sam Frampton
CX is a constantly evolving landscape. As companies get closer to perfecting their strategies, it becomes more difficult to keep up as customers have higher and higher expectations for brands to fulfill. This has become especially true throughout the pandemic as communication has shifted even more online, and customers expect a seamless digital experience. To make sure you stay ahead of the curve, here are 13 CX technology trends to watch out for in 2020 and beyond.
13 CX Tech Trends Shaping the Industry
From even more advanced AI capabilities to the growing AR/VR market, here are a dozen CX tech trends that you’ll likely be seeing more of next year.
1. AI is Here to Stay
AI-powered tools are leading the way in building robust customer experience programs, and these aren’t going away anytime soon. AI is essential in helping companies scale their CX initiatives by handling time-consuming processes more efficiently than humans. Some examples of these capabilities include:
- Analyzing the sentiment behind customer feedback and tagging these comments accordingly for more accurate data
- Categorizing customer support conversations to identify the topic and routing the issue to the correct team member for faster conflict resolution
- Pinpointing language used in customer feedback and providing granular analytics in order to understand key drivers behind negative and positive experiences
All this and more helps companies better understand the hard-to-reach parts of the customer experience.
2. Top-Down CX Leadership
The most successful companies have executives that are engaged in CX initiatives and make sure they actually happen. No longer is it enough to rely on a small customer service team doubling as a CX department along with a hundred other roles. This new mindset can best be seen in the rise of the CCO position or Chief Customer Officer.
According to the latest Chief Customer Officer Council report several years ago, 10% of Fortune 500 companies employed a CCO and this number has likely only increased in recent years. The role of a CCO comprises overseeing everything CX, from training customer service reps to implementing a customer loyalty program to designing customer journey maps. This type of executive focus is what’s needed to really prioritize CX technology and programs to become a customer-centric business.
3. Play Nice with Alexa
Especially with so many people confined to their homes during the pandemic, the smart home trend is continuing to grow. In fact, according to estimates from Statista, the smart home market is predicted to approach $40 billion in the U.S. by the end of 2020.
CX tech initiatives should already be focusing on how they can integrate with these IoT devices, the most relevant right now being smart speakers like Alexa and Google Home. Whether it’s working with Amazon to get your products recommended by Alexa or designing ways to gather customer purchase data from these sources, AI-powered IoT devices are changing the CX landscape.
4. Create Content People Care to Read
CX is a data-driven industry, and there is a place for whitepapers, proprietary reports, and other thought leadership pieces within CX circles. However, in order to draw in and appeal to new users, CX companies should be focusing on a broader content strategy that captures top-funnel leads instead of focusing only on the bottom funnel.
Engaging, informative, and most importantly, relevant content on your website and on social is the key to getting your company in front of a broader audience. Think about it, a new CMO of a mid-size company isn’t going to be very interested in your spreadsheets, even if the results are impressive. However, they will be interested in an article that breaks down confusing facets of CX technology and shows how these programs can address specific pain points.
5. Focus on Assuring Security
With the threat of cyberattacks constantly on the horizon, part of ongoing messaging to customers should be the ways companies are working to keep them safe. In fact, 68% of business leaders feel their cybersecurity risks are increasing. The connection between cybersecurity and CX technology may not be immediately clear, but these teams should actually be working closely to ensure both customer data, and correspondingly, the brand’s customer loyalty and reputation, are being protected.
6. Customizable Service Options
B2B and SAAS-rooted companies are increasingly employing flexible, sliding service scales for their clients. This type of customization allows companies to appeal to a much wider range of potential customers than a fixed model does.
Offering lower-cost SAAS packages is more attractive to smaller companies and startups who likely don’t have a large marketing budget and may not need the managed support features. On the other hand, bigger companies may still want hands-on help in addition to just the software to save them time and resources. Having flexible options allows companies to better cater to different customer needs.
7. Interest in AR/VR is Growing
Compounded by the months of near solitude that many went through during the pandemic, consumer interest in AR and VR experiences is growing. Though we often think of AR and VR in terms of video games, it’s actually becoming a potent CX technology channel as well. Brands are using remote technology for everything from virtual car tours, online lab simulations for remote learning, to trying on makeup before you buy. This trend is likely to grow, especially for e-commerce brands, as many areas continue to restrict in-person interaction.
8. Stronger Partnership Between AI and Non-Technical CX Pros
With new tools, more data, and better platforms, non-technical CX pros will be able to add prescriptive analytics to their arsenal to improve CX without being reliant on a full-time data scientists. Advanced AI programs can incorporate trends in customer data from the past and use it to predict what may happen in the future. Using prescriptive analytics, these tools can even provide recommendations for what actions to take to reach specified CX outcomes.
9. Emphasis on UX and DX
Speaking of high customer expectations, having a pretty and functional site just isn’t going to cut it anymore. The most cutting edge sites today are placing an emphasis on UX over simple content management, or the even newer field of “DX” or digital experience. The true digital experience works to customize and optimize touchpoints across channels, from the website to the app to social media to actually using the product, all for a unified, seamless customer experience.
10. Mobile is Where It’s At
It should come as no surprise that mobile is a primary customer engagement channel, and will likely become the primary customer engagement channel in the years ahead. There are a plethora of stats out there on the popularity of mobile, especially when it comes to e-commerce. For example, Statista shows that 82% of internet users in the U.S. have used a mobile device to shop online, and that of these mobile purchasing opportunities, consumers are three times more likely to purchase from an app than a mobile site. If your business isn’t focusing on mobile-first initiatives like website and app optimization, now is definitely the time.
11. Shorter Surveys and Workflow Triggers
Surveys will get shorter because AI can extract themes and sentiment from short, open-ended questions instead of researchers having to pre-empt every possible scenario. Long surveys with 50+ close-ended questions will be replaced by real-time, event-driven systems that trigger workflows to address CX issues. For example, if a company’s NPS score drops by 10 points, someone on the CX team would be alerted via Slack. Or, if a user visits a certain webpage they would be prompted to visit a help doc for more information.
12. Better Data Integration for a Better VoC
CX technology will allow companies to better integrate the types of data they have available for a more holistic voice of the customer understanding. By combining explicit customer feedback like survey responses and customer service interactions with implicit feedback like website behavior, companies can create more actionable VoC programs that address harder to reach areas that may be negatively affecting the customer experience.
13. The Rise of the Experience Economy
How we interact with and support customers has fundamentally changed. In the experience economy of today’s world, every customer interaction matters. Because of the rapid pace of technology, business processes have been outstripped and customers are being pushed toward a world of instant, real-time connectivity. Customers are no longer willing to send in a request to a business and hope they get an answer eventually. Instead they want an instant, effortless experience based on personalized real conversations with real people.
A new, preeminent way of interacting with customers means a new, vast data type to grapple with: conversational data. However, conversational data is long, text-heavy, and impossible to understand at scale. No one human being can read all of the contact requests a company receives.
On top of this, proxy metrics like response times and CSAT traditionally used by CX leadership to understand performance are becoming outdated, incomplete, and opaque. They simply don’t show why customers actually get in touch or what kind of experience they had. Only through sentiment analysis will CX professionals be able to truly understand the customer experience at scale.
CX Technology FAQ’s
Now that you have a better understanding of CX technology trends and future predictions, below are a few FAQ’s for those who may not be as familiar with this industry.
1. What is CX Technology?
CX technology is any type of tool that can be used to shape the customer experience. All CX initiatives are based on data, so CX technology is usually a software or program that helps you to more seamlessly gather, analyze, and integrate customer feedback data so that you can improve the way your customers interact with your business.
2. What Does CX Mean in Business?
In business, CX means “customer experience.” Customer experience encompasses all the interactions between a company and a customer throughout their relationship. In business, the goal is to create a good customer experience, where each interaction that a customer has with your business either meets or exceeds their expectations.
3. What Does CX Stand for in Marketing?
In marketing, CX stands for “customer experience.” Customer experience is typically one part of a company’s marketing strategy. It measures the relationship between a company and a customer with the goal of exciting and delighting the customer at every step.
4. What is CX vs UX?
CX is “customer experience” vs UX is “user experience.” You can think of UX as one part of CX. UX deals with how customers interact with your actual product or service, and if their experience was positive or negative. CX encompasses UX, along with a multitude of other factors such as customer service, website experience, how easy it is to return a product, seasonal needs, etc. to measure how satisfied customers are with their interactions with a brand overall.
5. What is Good CX?
Good CX is using all the resources available to you to create an interaction that satisfies, excites, and exceeds the customer’s expectations. By collecting and analyzing actual customer data, you can move forward with CX initiatives that will really affect your customers or potential customers in a positive way. Good CX places customers at the center of all efforts to meet their needs with empathy.
We hope you found these CX technology trends and FAQ’s informative and thought-provoking. It’s clear that the industry will continue to head toward more sophisticated, AI-backed solutions for companies of any size.