You don’t have to look far to see just how much the world around us is changing, especially when it comes to customer service, consumer experience, and customer expectations. Here is a look at ten of the leading customer experience trends to expect in 2018.
1. Location-Based Beacon Technology Will Allow Real-Time Customer Interactions
Beacon technology is a mobile function that signals a mobile device to perform certain actions when someone is in the vicinity of a wireless beacon. This new technology allows businesses to immediately start an interaction with a customer as soon as they are on location. For example, a retailer may pick up customer signals and generate messages about the sale items that can be found in the store.
2. More Businesses Will Gear Their Efforts Toward a Hybrid Workforce
To better serve clients and customers, more businesses will be working hand in hand with technology and machines in the coming year. There has already been a great shift toward machine-supported workforces, especially in service industries, but that shift is expected to grow in 2018. You can expect to see an uptick in the numbers of new virtual assistant technologies as a result of the fact that half of customers want around-the-clock assistance.
3. Omnichannel Experiences Will Continue to Be a Primary Focus for Customer Service
The Age of the Internet as a business tool has changed communication in such a way that business owners must gear their branding, marketing, and sales efforts in more than just one sales channel. Because omnichannel use is only going to grow larger by the consumer base, staying in line with competition must involve continued dedication to omnichannel-based marketing plans.
4. Lagging Digital Transformers Will Fall Further Behind
Many business owners are struggling transform to a more digital environment to cater to a changing customer base. Unfortunately, those who don’t have an organized plan in place or are aggressively taking action early this year, will likely see farther decline in sales volume compared to competitors who have it together.
5. Customer Expectations of Proactive Service Will Hit Record Highs
IoT, which is an acronym for the internet of things and refers to the interconnection of computing devices, is rapidly changing consumer expectations, and these expectations are expected to hit a high in 2018. Right now, companies like Bosch offer proactive service for smart internet appliances, companies like Amazon offer proactive automated shipping with IoT devices, and IoT is even changing things like medical, pharmaceutical, and other health services.
6. There Will Be Greater Usage of AI at All Levels of Business.
Artificial intelligence has provided consumers with a whole new way to interact with businesses and services. Machines are able to recognize voice commands and even recognize imagery to provide consumers with what they want. Businesses who want to stay in the game and in line with their competition will remake their own business models to keep up with the growing demand for on-demand, simplified service through AI.
7. Business Comparisons Outside of the Usual Will Be Less of an Exception
Because information travels so fast and technology melds so many platforms, it is no longer uncommon for service industries to bleed from one industry to the next without seams. Therefore, a business owner in 2018 will be far more likely to see competition from industries that they never expected.
8. Customer Service Will Be More of a Team Effort
The days of a sole individual being the primary customer service representative for a customer are coming to an end. The most successful businesses dedicate more of their workforce to customer service as a whole in the form of teams, especially since so many consumers are more concerned with how much time a service experience takes.
9. Tracking Customer Service and Experience Will Be a Collaboration of Metrics
For years, business owners have focused on analyzing data from one metric or another as their leading insight into customer satisfaction. However, as 2018 begins, businesses with the best plan of tracking customer service and experience will utilize a full list of tools, from making use of customer satisfaction survey data to analyzing results from a customer feedback survey. Likewise, simply measuring NPS (net promoter score) to gauge customer relations and loyalty alone will not be enough. True success will lie in harvesting data from as many available resources as possible.
10. Customer Experience Measurements Will Be Just as Much About Data As Emotion
Numbers, data, and analytics are incredible tools, but they can only give you a look at a portion of the customer service experience. Those business owners who go above and beyond for customers have discovered there is value in heartfelt communication with even individual customers. Gaining insight into how a customer feels is just as important as knowing how and when they shop, what they need, and how much they will spend.