Customer experience (CX) is the lifeblood of most forward-thinking businesses in 2020. With a focus on CX now overtaking pricing and product for businesses and consumers alike, customers now say that they’re willing to pay up to 13%-18% more for a premium customer experience.
If you’re wondering how to improve CX, take a look below at some of the upcoming trends in CX as we review what it will look like in 2025.
A focus on digital
One of the big shifts (that’s arguably been accelerated due to the 2020 pandemic) is a focus on digital for businesses. Consumers in general are increasing their reliance on digital and tech – from wearable devices to smart homes and voice assistants, digital is becoming an even more integral part of consumers’ home and work lives.
In the same vein, the continued reliance on a digital experience goes well beyond a good website. Going forward, we expect to see more omnichannel and multichannel approaches that involve household tech such as Alexa, Google Home and Siri-enabled devices as part of the customer journey and decision-making process.
The important thing to think about here is to prioritise your online experience, and for physical stores, enhance the digital experience to match the in-store experience wherever possible. In retail for example, shoppers are now being given the options to virtually try on clothes, or book a digital skincare consultation.
In the finance sector, banks are embracing digital to offer more in-branch services online, such as giving customers the option to cash cheques remotely or book a virtual mortgage or loan assessment.
Automation & Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Something that we’ve seen in previous years that’s expected to increase further in CX is the rise of automation. The most familiar form of this is the rise of chatbots. As a result, chatbots are using AI and ‘big data’ to learn and improve over time, and we can only anticipate that this will increase in the coming months and years.
Data from Servion Global Solutions suggests that 95% of customer interactions will be powered by AI by 2025, and Juniper Research stats show that chatbot customer service methods will be responsible for savings of $8 billion a year by 2022.
The next big step for AI is understanding semantics, natural language and sentiment, creating the ability to deliver a positive customer support experience. This means a shift from using keywords to match customer queries with automated responses or FAQ answers, and would allow chatbots to provide an experience unique to each customer. By 2025, we are likely to see the use of customer data such as purchase history, lifetime values and preferences shaping the AI-powered customer service journey.
With world-leading companies such as Baidu already investing in ‘Deep Voice’ technology, customer service chatbots will sound more human, creating an unmatched personalised customer experience.
Meeting ever-evolving customer expectations
With businesses shifting to a more digital approach, the bar has been set very high by the leaders in e-commerce in particular, with smaller brands and those who are traditionally store-focused playing catch-up. Examples of customer expectations include:
- Familiarity with up-to-date online technologies; customers won’t settle for poor processes, communications or old-school technology
- A mobile experience that meets or exceeds desktop
- Self-service customer service options including FAQs, knowledge bases and how-to videos
- Fast customer service response times, available on all devices and platforms, 24/7
- Access to customer data, regardless of the channel of contact
- A range of accessible payment providers and plans
These are all examples of expectations that have been set by the biggest online brands over recent years. They have been driven by a combination of innovations in technology, coupled with a necessity to meet the ever-evolving requirements of search-engine algorithms.
With Google, in particular, prioritising the mobile experience and customer journey when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Google Ads, staying up to date with the latest technology is no longer optional – it’s essential.
It’s important to remember that it’s now easier than ever for customers to find your competitors online if they’re not happy, so continually meeting the customer expectations for your industry and for the wider market as a whole, is crucial.
Overall, the trends we’ve seen over the past few years with CX are expected to grow further. Accelerated by the global Coronavirus pandemic, CX in 2025 will embrace technology to an even larger extent than now.
Artificial intelligence and automation technologies will continue to rise in usage and acceptance, with two significant key benefits for companies: a marked increase in customer satisfaction, and a reduction in the costs and resources required to run a business.