Many companies know that their competitiveness hinges on whether they have a quality customer experience, but Hotjar found that only 12% of surveyed companies felt they were mature in this area. That's a small number compared to the amount of companies working on their strategies.
Customer experience trends in 2019 and beyond revolve around improving this maturity through the implementation of new technology, improving the systems they have in place, and looking for new ways to delight their audience. Here are the top 5 customer experience tech trends we see in 2019.
Addressing Remaining Silos
Many customer experience initiatives still face problems with siloed data. While companies understand that this area is important for staying competitive, bringing disparate systems together is a substantial undertaking. Some organizations need to replace long-standing infrastructure to make this possible, which leads to slow progress. A digital transformation that includes bringing together the customer experience across all of an organization's locations, brands, systems, and departments is necessary.
Improving Data Management
The modern customer experience depends on working with a lot of data, but companies need a way to manage this information at scale. Data management processes become more complex when you're working with a variety of devices and channels. Think about how much data you generate from the internet of things (IoT) sensors, mobile devices, company website analytics, and social media channels. On top of that, AI-powered customer interactions give you another source of vital information. This complex environment requires a data management strategy and solution that's capable of creating actionable insights for decision-makers.
AR technology combines the real world with a virtual overlay generated through a device like a smartphone or smart glasses. You have the opportunity to create unique experiences for your customers with this immersive technology, as well as improving the tools that your staff uses to help consumers.
On the retail side of things, cosmetics company Sephora uses an AR feature in their app to show shoppers what makeup would look like on them. Several home improvement companies use AR to overlay new paint colors on your walls or show other improvements.
Even if your company doesn't have a front-end experience that would benefit from AR, you can use it to improve business processes that impact customers. For example, field service technicians using AR solutions get more information about how to perform needed repairs or can quickly identify parts.
Virtual reality is another area that empowers organizations to create immersive brand experiences, but it has a higher barrier to entry since it requires specialized equipment. However, VR can leverage existing mobile devices in some cases, which makes it easier for companies to start their experimentation.
Many consumers have suffered from a data breach that's damaged the way they feel about companies. Data privacy and security are at the forefront of their concerns when they know that companies collect their data. Machine learning can help your organization look for early signs that your systems are being compromised and potentially avoid breaches. Alongside proactive security measures, you can implement multi-factor authentication, such as biometrics, to better protect customers when they interact with your systems.
The average consumer is becoming more aware of the way that their information is used. The recently enacted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU has put the data collection issue front and center, with 79% of consumers prepared to go to a competitor if they feel that you use their personal data without their consent or knowledge. This negativity can have a long-lasting impact on your company's profits, so offering a security-centric customer experience can build a lot of trust in your audience.
The Future of the Customer Experience
The best time to prepare for the customer experience of 2020 and beyond is right now. Gartner predicts that 85% of interactions that consumers have with brands will be non-human. AI bots and intelligent assistants make this possible, especially as organizations put more resources into gathering the data that these solutions need to provide a quality customer experience.
Emotional intelligence is a key part of non-human experiences. AI can change the way they react to the customer based on their perceived emotional state. Live staff members won't need to jump in immediately for an irate customer, as the bot can adjust their responses to better diffuse the situation.
Commerce everywhere is a potential business model that IDC predicts becoming popular in 2022. This approach goes outside of typical sales channel to reach the consumer in context, better emphasizing the need to reach them at "the right time, in the right place."
The future holds many interesting prospects for customer experience, especially for tech-forward companies that can match expectations. Whether you want to improve your current customer experience or work on setting yourself up for future success, these trends can help guide your path.
Want more posts like this to your inbox? Sign up for our monthly CX newsletter.