As someone that works to improve the customer experience at your company, you want to make sure you’re effective. Are you communicating with customers enough? Are you effectively measuring their happiness? Are you taking their feedback seriously, and integrating it into your business plans?
There’s so much to think about in your day to day job that it can be tough to take a step back and look at the big customer experience picture. Your competition might be trying new tactics that you should also consider, and the customer experience industry as a whole is constantly moving towards new horizons.
In 2016, there are many customer experience trends you should pay attention to. Here are five worth noting:
1. Emphasis on Holistic Customer Experience
It’s not enough to survey customers once a year, and use those results for a static product roadmap that you refer to for the next twelve months. Today, companies are intent on continual customer listening and real-time response. That means they’re stepping back and looking at the full customer lifecycle.
In 2016, customer experience experts are:
- Using tools like Net Promoter Score (NPS) to continually measure customer sentiment and help prioritize product improvements
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- Providing complete and tested onboarding experiences
- Complimenting live customer support with helpful knowledgebase content
- Using ticketing tools like Zendesk, Help Scout, Groove, and Intercom to make sure nothing gets missed
- Giving autonomy to customer support agents so they can do what they believe is best for the customer
- Offering referral programs that prioritize the existing customer, rewarding them for spreading the word
2. Insistence on Measurability through Data
According to WalkerInfo, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020. Customer experience is now a focus of C-Suite conversation, and as leadership and key stakeholders pay more attention to it, measurability must follow. As a customer engagement specialist, you’ll need to report on current customer sentiment, and have a plan for making improvements.
Customer experience experts will look at big data to find overall trends, but they’ll also drill down to analyze microdata, which looks at a particular cohort, group or account’s behavior and use of product or service. NPS is a particularly good way of tracking the sentiment of these segments over time, and uncovering insights that can be shared with stakeholders.
3. Continued Focus on Mobile
Mobile isn’t going anywhere, of course. In fact, according to a report from comScore, people spend more time on mobile apps than on their desktop computers. In 2014, mobile usage accounted for 60% of all time spent online, and that percentage has grown since then.
“The smart phone is getting smarter,” said Shep Hyken, a customer engagement expert, in an article for Forbes. “And for some, the least important part of the smart phone is the phone. It is the device customers are using to look at your website, products, reviews and more. This is an important step in their buying process.”
To cope, customer engagement professionals will need to service customers well on their mobile devices. You’ll need to ensure you’re providing readable emails, mobile-friendly knowledge bases, and surveys that are friendly on a mobile screen.
4. Giving Customers Self-Help Options
No one likes waiting on hold for a customer service representative to serve them. Even worse is when a customer has no other option but to make a phone call. Many people prefer live chat, or serving themselves through knowledge bases.
“Self-help customer service is a powerful solution,” said Shep Hyken. “More and more customers are appreciating the speed and efficiency of finding answers to their questions online versus calling a company, waiting on hold and having to potentially repeat the question to more than one support rep.”
Hyken recommends starting simple. You can post an FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) section on your website, or you can post YouTube videos or webinars that explain how to use your products.
A searchable knowledge base is a good next step. What’s important is making sure that it is up-to-date and full of the right info, and is as easy to navigate as possible.
5. Increasing Personalization and Predictive Modeling
Customers now expect companies to know who they are and communicate with them accordingly. A study by Monetate found that that 94 percent of marketers believe that “personalization of the digital experience is critical to current and future success.”
Personalization can be as simple as trigger-based emails, and setting up segmenting for your email marketing, but it can go even deeper to provide customized experiences based on past behavior.
“As companies connect rich customer feedback with reams of CRM and operational data, the value of predictive modeling will rise exponentially. In 2016, we expect to see firms that have built data hubs over the last few years investing in predictive modeling and using the insights to develop a more personalized treatment of customers,” said Bruce Temkin, in an article.
The Future of Customer Engagement
The world of customer experience is changing. In 2016, companies are intent on providing the best possible experiences to their customers, no matter what device they’re on.
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