Brands can leverage customer experience (CX) to differentiate themselves from competitors. Because it’s difficult to create a completely unique product in today’s overcrowded market, more and more businesses are turning to improving the customer experience they provide in order to stand out.
The CX industry has grown significantly in recent years: Over half of B2C companies have a dedicated CX team, and the US CX industry is expected to grow by 15 percent annually over the next decade. While traditional business models may have overlooked the importance of customer experience, it’s definitely not something you can ignore in the modern market.
CX optimization isn’t achieved at the drop of a hat. It requires getting inside your customers’ minds, understanding what they want, and adapting your practices to their needs. That being said, there is significant overlap between industries. Any analysis of CX trends is based on broad strokes, with the nitty-gritty details depending on the industry, location and target audience.
Here are 5 ways companies can improve consumers’ journeys at every touchpoint:
Hyper-personalization takes the idea of personalization—tailoring an experience to a group or demographic—a step further, with experiences tailored to the individual. Of course, this requires access to a significant amount of consumer data, but with platforms that allow for alterations on the go, you can improve over time as more data becomes available. Netflix is a pioneer of this approach, with its recommendation algorithms that tailor each account’s recommended media, and how they present that media to individual tastes. As your digital reach expands and your data become more and more specific, it’s wise to ramp up data protection and encryption processes—nobody wants to have their data stolen!
2. Rise of AI
From simple chatbots to more complex analysis tools, artificial intelligence (AI) can scour customer data with the goal of providing more personalized service. Some experts even predict that AI will be used in self-service in order to help customers complete their journey with minimum hassle. If you’re looking to implement AI, you will need a firm understanding of what you intend to implement and how AI will process it. In almost all cases, this means consulting with an outside expert.
With help from AI, automation will take over as CX becomes more and more personalized, with computers doing in milliseconds what would take a human many hours to do. Automation enables highly tailored forms of CX, with the user maintaining control over the order in which things are done, and what takes priority—for instance, prioritizing sub-categories over categories or vice-versa. Automation is another circumstance where you would typically seek outside help—in this case, in the form of automation software suites tailored for specific purposes.
4. Hybrid platforms
As CX becomes ever more complex, integrated CX platforms are becoming more and more relevant. As Scott Harris, CEO of EM at Experience, said: “As enterprises become more sophisticated, they will demand a single, integrated CX platform that combines data, behavior and marketing from one platform. And those enterprises should not have to pay millions of dollars for a consultant to build a customized program.” In other words, while they’re not quite there yet, we can expect to see specialized CX platforms expanding in the next few years. Microsoft has already launched a series of CX tools—known in CX circles as their CX platform—and is taking notice of their use for future development.
5. Digital transformation and omnichannel
CX isn’t easy, especially when you’re spread out across multiple platforms. While expanding your reach through omnichannel marketing strategies is undoubtedly good for revenue, it creates a host of problems with using the data you gather. Through digital transformation strategies such as cloud computing, databases and omnichannel contact, you can retain the high level of CX that you desire, while still expanding across multiple platforms. When looking to boost your digital game, the first question to ask is, “What can technology do for me?” The answer: “A lot more than you think!”
To wrap up, CX can be highly dependent on technology, but you must not forget the human touch. Customers feel valued when they feel seen and heard. Organizations that take customer desires into account experience the highest rates of returning customers thanks to loyalty and even advocacy.
When a customer walks away satisfied with not just their purchase but how they were treated during their buyer’s journey, they are far more likely to remember you and come back when they need your products or services again. Empathy is key to CX, giving you an understanding of not just what a customer wants but how they want it to be delivered.
Contributed by Alon Ghelber, who is CMO at Revuze, an AI-enabled technology analyzing millions of customer reviews, online opinions and offline pieces delivering experience-related insights and intelligence for companies to optimize decision-making.