Customer experience (CX) goes beyond customer service and means keeping your customers engaged and happy at all touchpoints with their business. A good customer experience will keep your retention rates high, and promote brand loyalty for your business, lowering marketing costs and ultimately increasing your bottom line.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
One of the biggest emerging trends in CX is the use of artificial intelligence to improve customer experience.
To get started with AI, there are some solutions out there that utilise artificial intelligence to deliver CX insights such as Feefo’s customer experience solution. AI can also be used to generate customer insights, create customer journeys and help to identify trends in customer behaviour such as likelihood to churn or customer’s frequently asked questions.
2. An omnichannel approach
An omnichannel approach to customer engagement means creating cohesive experiences across all platforms, meaning that your customers can get in touch with you whenever they want, wherever they are and they will receive the same level of experience. 9 out of 10 customers already expect an omnichannel and streamlined cross-platform experience, which means most businesses have a lot of catching up to do.
HBR asked 46,000 shoppers and found that customers who used more channels spent an average of 4% more in physical stores and 10% more online, and other research has shown that omnichannel customers have a lifetime value (LTV) of around 30% more, meaning the value of this approach and its importance to CX cannot be overlooked –and this is only set to increase in the coming years.
3. Chatbots and Virtual Customer Assistants
Until recently, chatbots have struggled to match up with the human-to-human customer service experience. However, they’ve evolved over the past couple of years, and can now be used to take away some of the more mundane legwork from customer service teams.
The use of chatbots and virtual assistants can also make it easier for customers to gain help and support 24/7, allowing them to access help whenever it’s needed. This also allows your physical customer service team to gain time back to concentrate on the higher-value and more complex customer queries.
An easy way to get started with chatbots or VCAs is to use a tool on your website or via Facebook Messenger if you use this for customer support. Start by programming in a series of simple FAQs and keywords so that the virtual assistants can start to learn the correct responses to your frequent queries, and keep an eye on this to make adjustments as needed, based on customer surveys, analytics and feedback.
There are also now AI-powered chatbots such as Chatbot or Bold360 that learn with every interaction and use NLP and customer data (such as purchase histories and member status) to provide personalised and relevant responses.
4. Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things is the interconnection via the internet of computing devices in everyday options, allowing them to send and receive data. In real terms, this includes things in your home such as a smart toaster, fridge or a mirror with internet connections, and outside of the home can include GPS tracking and monitoring, factory machines and even smart cities.
In terms of the short-term impact of IoT on CX, we can expect additional customer touchpoints to occur. For example in retail, a store where you previously tried something on in a dressing room may now allow you to interact with the mirror, and for it to give you suggestions on additional outfits to try on or other complementary accessories. This not only adds value to shopping in-store rather than online, but creates a unique and tailor-made experience for the customer, which would in turn increase customer satisfaction and engagement, and reduce item return rates.
For online businesses, as devices such as smartwatches and wearable tech become more prominent in the lives of consumers, many businesses such as Amazon and QVC are creating apps to make the customer experience even easier via Apple Watches. In the same vein, organisations are also developing support with devices such as Alexa and Google Home to help people purchase online, and even transfer money and pay bills with their voices.
To get ahead of the CX curve, you need to put the foundations in place now. Consumer expectations are increasing at a faster rate than ever before, and although it’s more effort now, getting CX right will help you stand out among the competition – especially if you do it first.