Customer Experience

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Customer Experience - Pain Points

Customer experience platforms/products are important in managing the interaction between a company and its consumers, both current and potential; they help in organizing, synchronizing, and automating data to create a personalized consumer experience. However, some of the pain points that consumers experience when using such platforms/products include data ethics and privacy, friction in employee-consumer interaction, disintegrated data silos, consumer expectations are not met, and overwhelmed network resources affect the consumer experience.

Data ethics and privacy are major concerns TO CONSUMERS

  • A report filed by CIO New Zealand revealed that customers are increasingly concerned about how brands are using their personal information, both in the private and public sectors. Digital ethics and privacy is a critical concern for consumers using consumer experience platforms.
  • During the discussion, one eCRM specialist stated that his company is aware of customer pain points. However, they are unable to introduce initiatives that improve customer experience because they spend most time and resources to justify the methods of data collection they can use without violating the regulations.

Friction in employee-consumer interaction (Lack of employee experience)

  • Most companies that have adopted consumer experience platforms focus majorly on external audiences, particularly customers, but forget about the staff who interact directly with the customers. CMS WiRE reported that there is a strong relationship between consumer satisfaction and employee satisfaction; as such, less investment in the employees translates to customer dissatisfaction.

Omnichannel strategy results in data silos

  • As customer experience companies continue to implement the omnichannel strategy, many of them continue to silo their data, which only serves as a frustration rather than simplify consumer journey. (source 3).
  • What's more, the risk of using or storing data against customers’ permission has heightened with GDPR and the associated fines. Thus, unifying consumer and organizational platforms to operate seamlessly is critical. Lack of visibility and transparency, companies lack the information needed to provide customers with the right information.

Consumer expectations are not met

  • Over the years, customer experience platforms/products have focused exclusively on technologies and processes, rather than people and humanity. According to Bruce Temkin, the managing partner of Temkin Group, many organizations fail to meet the needs and demands of customers. He claimed that it is not possible for customer experience platforms to understand what motivates customers without having a clear idea of what fulfills their needs.
  • Additionally, almost 49% of consumers stated that brands do not meet their expectations to enhance their experience. This trend held true in various countries across the globe with several consumers having difficulty recalling the last time their brands truly impressed them.

Overwhelmed network resources affect the consumer experience

  • With customer experience platforms, companies can achieve flexibility and convenience due to network convergence. However, the demand for bandwidth rises as more users exchange data and applications get more sophisticated thereby interfering with the efficiency of the consumer experience platforms.

RESEARCH STRATEGY:

In order to identify some of the major challenges consumers encounter when working with customer experience platforms/products, we began our research by looking for industry reports, surveys, and market research that have preexisting challenges. We were able to find survey reports and precompiled challenges listed by large data companies such as Oracle, CIO, PwC, and CMS WiRE. We also found information from credible customer experience websites such as eConsultany, CX Network, and ClickZ detailing the major challenges consumers encounter when working with customer experience platforms/products. We, therefore, considered the most mentioned challenges in the multiple sources.

Part
02
of two
Part
02

Customer Experience - Trends

According to a survey by User Testing involving about 4000 professionals, 95% of people agree that customer experience is critical for business success. Over the years, customer experience has evolved from being just a cutting-edge advantage to a necessity as part of the business culture. Integration of AI in customer support, application of robot automation processes, customer feedback management, voice interactions and IoT, and data management and ethics are some major trends around consumer behavior, expectations, technology, and competition in the customer experience space, as discussed in the following section.

Integration of AI in Customer Support

  • According to the 60% of respondents in the User Testing survey, AI will be the most impactful technology trend on customer experience for the next five years.
  • Industry forecasts by Garner indicate that by 2020, artificial intelligence and automation will reduce employee requirements in business-shared service centers by 65%.
  • As part of their strategy to keep up with customers'expectations and competition, companies are embracing automation, AI, and machine learning to reduce costs of customer support, increase efficiencies, and improve the customer experience.
  • With the increasing demand for ubiquitous customer support, AI assistance is needed in most business environments. Customers expect support from various locations at any given time, and from diverse channels.
  • Voice AI devices such as Amazon’s Alexa are shaping corporate interactions and presenting new opportunities for boosting customer interactions. Messaging platforms such as WeChat can potentially benefit companies in areas of customer feedback and knowledge management.
  • Medallia, as one of the key players in the customer experience industry, introduced the Experience Cloud; a tool that merges machine and human learning in one platform. With the ability to process large amounts of customer data, Medallia's advanced machine learning capabilities expose useful insights that enable individuals to act and apply strategies to improve customer experience effectively.

Robot Automation Process Gaining Ground

  • Currently, companies that have identified the opportunity in Robot Automation Process (RAP) are taking advantage of its ability to improve efficiency and reduce costs through the automation of repetitive tasks.
  • Reduced task burden on employees is allowing them more time to strategize, create, solve problems, interact with customers, and develop strong customer experience.
  • With RAP, companies can customize the systems to suit their service delivery model for actions like an automatic response to emails.
  • The Forbes article gives an example of a bank that redesigned its claims process using bots to handle 1.5 million claims yearly. The company employed 85 bots to perform tasks that would otherwise be performed by close to 200 full-time workers and managed to reduce costs by close to 70%.
  • Allstate uses Chatbot Amelia, which allows contact center agents to access the latest insurance protocols and regulations while on the phone with customers. It guarantees personal interaction with customers and ensures speedy and efficient service to customers.
  • Given their ability to predict consumers’ future behaviors, the application of Robotic Automation Process (RAP) by brands in 2019 will significantly increase.
  • As RAP trends gain more ground, market predictions indicate that the market will be valued at $1 billion by 2020, with over 40% of large enterprises having adopted the RAP software tool by then.

Data Management and Ethics

  • Data ethics is also a trend that is impacting customer experience. Recently, the EU fronted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a law that protects customers by giving them the power over their data.
  • Under the law, customers have the right to choose their personal information that companies can have and the right to remove their personal information from existing company databases. Companies, which act in violation of the law, risk millions of dollars in fines.
  • The GDPR continues to influence how companies across the world handle customer information. More countries are expected to follow the same path even as Europe continues with the roll-out of the law.
  • According to experts, the year 2019 and beyond will see more leaders recognizing need for data protection and information security.

Voice Assistants and Internet of things (iot)

  • According to the User Testing survey Report, voice interactions (54%) and Internet of Things (41%) are online trends impacting customer experience.
  • Another survey report by National Public Radio and Edison Research shows that the number of smart speaker owners rose from 18% in 2017 to 30% in 2018. As more consumers embrace voice interactions, brands are exploring the opportunities to connect with their customers in their homes and offices conveniently.
  • Voice interaction, as a trend, is gaining popularity among brands owing to its value proposition advantage in prioritizing customers' data privacy. The trend is set to be a major differentiating aspect that brands will continue to explore to remain competitive in the market.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) on the other hand presents opportunities in increasing connectivity and interactions with customers. Artificially intelligent devices are acting on behalf of humans to improve customer experience.
  • Pixel phones that can make Duplex AI voice calls can be taken as an example. HP’s “Instant Ink” can sense a shortage of ink and automatically order for the same.
  • These examples demonstrate the opportunities in IoT to improve customer service and the ultimate experience.

Customer Feedback Management

  • According to the CMO report, customer feedback is the primary driver of the overall customer experience strategy. It informs both the processes involved in executing the customer experience strategy and is also the foundation upon which the strategy is developed.
  • According to a report by CMO, Qualtrics, Medallia, and InMoment are some of the key players in customer feedback management.
  • Medallia drives customer experience by improving from the top down and the bottom up, bringing the voice of the customer (VoC) and incorporating the voice of the employee.
  • Qualtrics, through its 'land and expand' strategy', is evolving and enabling clients to conveniently meet customers wherever they are to collect feedback through a range of channels and locations at any given time.
  • Advancements in customer feedback management (CFM) are currently aiding companies in the compilation, analysis, and measurement of feedback from customers across different channels. The advancements are also aiding companies in distributing feedback and monitoring progress.
  • CFMs facilitate the centralization and automation of Voice of Customer (VoC) programs that are crucial in enabling the customer-centric marketing environment.

YOUR RESEARCH TEAM APPLIED THE FOLLOWING STRATEGIES:

In determining the major trends around consumer behavior, expectations, technology, and competition in the customer experience space, we prioritized industry players’ websites (Medallia, Qualtrics, InMoment, and Clarabridge) and scoured through different other websites. We found useful insights into the different companies’ strategies around customer feedback management and application of AI and machine learning. To find additional trends, we reviewed various industry reports and surveys from credible sources such as CIO, Hotjar and CMO. We also leveraged on articles from credible outlets like Forbes and PRNewswire. We found existing lists of trends from the various sources and picked on the major trends by selecting those that were common across multiple sources. We were keen to list major trends related to consumer behavior, expectations, technology, and competition.
Sources
Sources