Positive customer experiences are the backbone of any successful business. Business leaders across all industries are constantly working to improve consumer interactions and looking ahead at how they can continue to advance, and for good reason. As business titan Mark Hurd has stated, consumers are willing to pay up to 25 percent more in return for a great experience. Each year brings new technologies and trends that can help businesses reach their goal of providing impressive consumer experiences. As we approach the new year, we thought we’d take a look back at the leading customer experience trends of 2018.
Interactive Customer Support
Customer support is a key factor in good customer experiences. Technical support issues have traditionally been handled over the phone, with one party trying to explain an issue to the other without the ability to provide a visual of the problem. Smartphone video cameras have revolutionized this process for the better. By texting customers a unique link, brands have the ability to activate the video camera on a customers mobile device to see for themselves what the customer is looking at. This, in combination with messaging or voice support, simplifies and accelerates the resolution process while in turn boosting customer satisfaction.
Depending on the size of a company and the amount of customer service inquiries or issues that may come in, businesses may require more support beyond their service teams. Intelligent chatbots have proven to be a revolutionary resource when it comes to handling customer inquiries and improving communication. By growing in their intelligence with each conversation they have, Chatbots’ ability to help with commonly asked questions, recommendations and brand awareness is constantly improving. Adidas, for example, utilizes an AI-powered chatbot to boost engagement by offering a series of free weekly fitness sessions which requires users to register through the bot.
Customers today expect brands to always be one step ahead by anticipating their needs and desires. A whopping 87 percent of consumers want to be contacted proactively by a company for customer service-related matters, so providing individualized experiences is essential. Predictive analytics are fulfilling this need by informing brands on not only what customers need today but also what they’ll want tomorrow. Brands can use predictive analytics to get a headstart on analyzing possible what-if scenarios before deciding on the best customer experience initiatives. These insights can also help prioritize engagement behavior to improve loyalty and retention and produce data-driven decisions to proactively serve individual customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The IoT is a rapidly growing trend across multiple industries, with a projection of 125 billion connected devices by 2030. In terms of customer experience, the IoT can provide improved brand engagement and insight into the status of customer orders. By placing intelligent sensors on products, customers can receive accurate, real-time updates regarding the whereabouts of their products and updates on orders or delivery status.
Communication with customers can also be improved with the IoT. Sensors that collect data on customer usage patterns can be leveraged to suggest other products and services that match their interests. This sort of personalized engagement connects with the predictive analytics trend to make customers feel that a brand genuinely cares about their wants and needs.
Augmented reality (AR) is an emerging technology we can expect to see a lot more of in coming years. Transforming the way brands engage with customers, AR offers immersive experiences to consumers by providing simulated experiences with products before any actual physical interaction takes place. For example, IKEA created an iOS app called IKEA Place that allows users to browse the store’s offerings and preview how items would look in their individual homes. Tools like this provide more engaging interactions and a sense of confidence in purchases.
This year has been a monumental one for technology, and that’s certainly been demonstrated in the business world. Customer satisfaction will continue to be of the utmost importance, so we can expect even greater developments for creating the best possible customer experiences in the future. We hope this rundown gets you excited for what’s next to come as we hurtle toward 2019!