21 January 2020
By Lewis Martin – firstname.lastname@example.org
If there’s one defining trait of a service-based organisation like yours, it’s customer experience. Aside from what service you offer, the next most important thing is how you deliver said service. Today, delivering an absolutely stellar customer experience is key to success.
In fact, one-third of customers who’ve had just one bad experience will ditch a company forever. While there are some reasons for business failure that are difficult to control, poor customer service should not be counted among them. Unlike these unpredictable scenarios, top-notch customer experience is something you can build and deliver, in a transformative yet strategic way. A good place to start is with the latest customer experience trends, all of which are expected to shape the year ahead for service-based organisations. At KA2, we suggest that you keep these concepts in mind as you plan and budget for the year ahead.
Making Customer Experience a Part of the Business
In 2020, customer service is everyone’s job. This is true even if you have a dedicated service department or team. A renewed focus on customer experience can even drive the development of new products or services to further differentiate your business. A few more thoughts on this:
Perhaps an example is the best way to demonstrate this trend. Porsche’s innovative Car Connect app tracks customer habits and experiences to provide the company with valuable personalised feedback. It’s cutting-edge and successful, but it’s also a tremendous change for the company, and a lot of work. So, Porsche has smartly unrolled it as a company-wide effort that enlists the skills and knowledge of every employee.
Delivering Better Experiences through Digital Transformation
First, a few no-brainers: People don’t like to just talk to chatbots. Businesses shouldn’t address letters or emails to “Dear Customer”. And now, the trend: Today’s customers expect personalised, on-demand customer service. Today’s organisations must be able to offer customers a number of service channels, but also make them easy to use. Which is also kind of a no-brainer, right? The bigger question may be, how do I deliver this? Here’s a few thoughts on that:
AI, in fact, is a common thread between all of the 2020 trends we’ve identified. AI can be leveraged for everything from tailored services to consistency across platforms and devices to delivering real-time information and communication. By next year, it’s predicted that 15% of all customer interactions will be handled by AI. By 2025, those firms that embed AI in customer platforms will increase efficiency by 25%. These numbers only stand to increase over time.
Connecting with Customers Wherever, Whenever
Real estate is all about location, location, location. With customers, it’s all about wherever, whenever, and right now. Two trends we’re expecting this year include:
Let’s use another example, this one from the airline industry, a sector long accustomed to customer complaints (don’t get us started on leg room). But when it comes to shedding poor customer expectations, JetBlue has really taken off (pun intended). In 2017, the company replaced an old, siloed system with a JetBlue “omnichannel” customer service platform that featured a seamless interface between mobile, web, email, text and social media. The result is a real-time, digital “paper trail” of customer interactions. So, when Mary calls a third time about her lost suitcase, JetBlue agents know this. Mary doesn’t have to tell her story again, and the agents can escalate the situation as needed. It matters! One survey found that over three-fourths of customers value a company if it remembers a previous interaction.
Increased Focus on Data Security
Another customer experience trend in 2020 is all about data security. The increasing frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks is evidence that your data is not only valuable, but that it’s also constantly under threat. Data security and protection is critical for your operations, but, just as importantly, customers also demand to know that their personal and financial information is safe with you. We see a few key ways that data security connects to customer experience this year:
There’s also your reputation. Marriott International is a cautionary tale. The company experienced a data breach of 500 million guest reservations. That’s one thing. Hackers obtained customer names and contact information as well as birth dates and payment information. The other thing is that during the ensuing news cycle in the aftermath, the company was also criticised for the way it responded to customers about the breach, some outlets calling it “so bad”. Investing in data security in 2020 will protect your reputation and help you recover quicker and for less money in the event a breach does occur.
Understanding Impact on Business Outcomes
A final trend shaping the year ahead is about how you link customer experience to business outcomes. As customer experience becomes synonymous with business and departmental success, it’s not surprising that firms are placing greater emphasis on understanding why and how customer experience can inform and shape a strategic growth strategy. A few things we expect to see this year include:
Other business outcomes that drive customer experience, and vice versa, are likely to include improved employee satisfaction, efficiency improvements, increased business agility and operational compliance. A Gartner analysis suggests that half of organisations use financials to measure ROI on customer experience projects, and the trend toward other non-financial metrics is also increasing.
Though virtually every financial services and insurance firm in the world needs to make wholesale changes to their existing infrastructure to cope with more sophisticated customers, both internally and externally, it’s not happening quick enough. Today’s firms need to move fast to keep a competitive edge.
At KA2, we’re in the service of transformative business change. As such, we take the customer experience – your experience – seriously. We understand that it’s key to improve the customer experience, however for today’s service management teams, that also means building a collaborative relationship with internal customers. We can help you build customer experience into your business through digital transformation and connection to people in a strategic, secure and scalable way.
If you’re interested in how our Smarter approach can improve the experience for your customers, please get in touch with our expert, Lewis Martin at email@example.com.