CX Trends, 2015 Style

CX trends for 2015

In a recent webinar, MaritzCX took a stab at highlighting five key CX trends affecting the customer experience. The five forces changing the customer-experience world include:

  • “It’s about me”
  • “Desperately seeking human”
  • “I knew you wanted that”
  • “The clear blurred line”
  • “TechnoUbiquity”

The stage was set first by reviewing the two primary types of companies: those that are company-centric are primarily concerned about revenue and profits, at times to the detriment of the customer relationship. This makes it difficult for customer-facing employees to provide top-shelf service. On the other side of the camp are those companies who place their focus on meeting, or exceeding, the needs of their customers. Their approach aligns with Theodore Levitt’s perspective on the purpose of a business, which is to create and keep a customer. Profits are the reward for exceeding customer expectations. These companies tend to allow their employees a greater voice in how best to satisfy the customer. Now on to the trends.

Are customers narcissistic? From a customer perspective, we want personalization and relevancy. Amazon.com is keen on showing you those things that you didn’t know you needed. As masters of Big Data, they can provide extremely personalized recommendations. According to a recent Accenture survey, half of all consumers wouldn’t mind having their buying behavior tracked if it meant more relevant offers. Other key customer wants include speed and continuity. As consumers we want the same look and feel across all channels. Transparency is critical as can be seen by the rise in “order trackers” that allow us to keep tabs on our products at all stages.

imageEven the best technology cannot replace the human touch when it is genuine, honest and empathetic. Consumers feel that faceless “corporate” businesses have failed them. What we crave are brands that can deliver the human touch across channels. The benefits of the digital world can be overwhelming; this is a perfect example of how technology cannot replace the kindness found in a human voice. We are gravitating towards brands and companies that exhibit empathy, generosity, humility, honesty, flexibility, maturity and even humor.

Big Data has allowed marketers the opportunity to become more intelligent about their customers. However, we are not fully leveraging its predictive capabilities in ways that are helpful to the consumer. A few companies, such as Amazon.com and Netflix are doing it well, but most are not. When it comes to being able to say “I knew you wanted that,” it is about anticipating and fulfilling needs at the individual level. To do so, we must leverage all forms of available data including behavioral, emotional, and attitudinal with a focus on creating value in the eyes of the customer.

The clear blurred line relates to the concept that CX research can no longer just support improvement in company processes. It has to evolve into a series of two-way communications and interactions that inform business processes, but also support the customer during their entire relationship. Valid and reliable measures will still be important, but they must be accompanied by informative communications which the customer deems relevant.

Technology has changed the way we interact with customers and prospects. Technology is ubiquitous. This means there will be more data, more interactions and more opportunity to exceed the customer’s expectations. Customer-centric companies will embrace real-time analytics and advanced data collection tools in order to transform data into insight. Such actions will not only create value for the customer, they will be rewarded with loyalty and profits from those customers.

Key points to ponder and act on include the thought that companies of all sizes and from all industries face becoming irrelevant if they don’t shift their focus to the customer. Profits are the reward from doing right by the customer – they should not be the sole focus. How do we do right? We focus on what matters most to the customer – providing a consistent experience across channels, not losing sight of the need for a human touch, and leveraging data wherever possible to provide a personalized experience.

Greg Timpany directs the research efforts for Global Knowledge in Cary, North Carolina, and runs Anova Market Research. You can follow him on Twitter @DataDudeGreg.

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