It feels like the world is changing at lightning speed. Customer experience leaders are not just expected to keep up with trends in the marketplace, customer expectations, and technology, we simply MUST do so to serve customers and stay ahead of the competition.
Let’s discuss common missteps, mistakes, and general mayhem to avoid!
Former CX “Trends” to Leave Behind
1. Over-Reliance on Chatbots
While AI and chatbots are absolutely critical to your overall customer experience strategy, over-relying on them at the cost of human interaction can be detrimental. Customers often crave personal, empathetic connections and some bots simply aren’t up to the task. Balance automation with a human touch. AI isn’t just about tech; it’s about empathy. AI can provide personalized experiences, making customers feel seen and understood. Chatbots are not yet at the point where we can “set it and forget it.” They need proper inputs, data, and constant monitoring.
2. Ignoring the Shift to Not Just Mobile-First, but Omnichannel for Real
Customers are increasingly using mobile devices for their interactions. Yet this has to be part of a bigger, more comprehensive understanding of your customer’s journey. Nielsen Norman Group reported how mobile-first web designs can cause user issues when used on a desktop that often requires more scrolling. However, there’s no doubt more web traffic is coming in from mobile devices. (One report from Statcounter GlobalStats shows more than 59% of web traffic is mobile-based.) And we can’t forget that customers love seamless experiences. Omnichannel shoppers tend to spend more, with a 4% increase in-store and 10% online compared to single-channel shoppers, according to Harvard Business Review. It’s all about connecting wherever your customers are.
That means charting a course for JUST “mobile-first” is a short-sighted way to serve all customers. Start with your customer’s journey, then determine what channels need better attention and design to serve them.
3. Relying on Mass Marketing
Generic, one-size-fits-all marketing is losing its effectiveness. Today’s customers seek personalized, targeted interactions. And frankly, there are fewer opportunities to reach a mass market. Consider how much control television viewers have over what ads they see and what shows they select. Streaming platforms, podcasts, and even this article are self-selected by the media consumer. So when customers who have an established relationship with a brand are treated in the same way as, and I say this literally, everyone else, then that can lead to feeling unseen and unrecognized. Data-driven strategies allow CX leaders to personalize experiences and treat customers with respect in ways that drive loyalty.
Modern CX Strategies
Now, let’s think about what we CAN do. Let’s explore some super cool, customer-friendly trends and strategies.
Making it Personal
- Data is Your Magic Wand: Personalization is no longer just a nice-to-have; it’s a must. 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized experiences, according to McKinsey. Tailor those offers and watch your customers smile!
DIY Customer Service
- Self-Service is a Hit: The last several years have led customers to prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative. Empower them with the tools they need to help themselves – it’s efficient and empowering!
Happy Employees, Happy Customers
- Cheerful Teams Win: There’s a direct link between happy employees and happy customers. A Gallup study found companies with engaged employees see 20% higher sales and 21% higher profitability. Spread the joy inside and out!
Doing Good is Good for Business
- Eco-friendly and Ethical Rocks: Sustainability and social responsibility are huge. A joint study by McKinsey and NielsenIQ found that customers care about sustainability – and they’re willing to pay more for sustainable goods. Doing good really does mean good business.
Be a Mind Reader (Sort of)
- Proactive is the New Cool: Customer experience management is still relegated to reactive customer service in too many organizations, in my opinion. CX can deliver real business results – but only if it’s led with intention. Customers also want this intentional guidance, and being proactive means showing up for your leaders and your customers in new and helpful ways before they have issues. It’s all about staying one step ahead.
Listening is Loving
- Feedback is Gold: Brands that actively seek and apply customer feedback are more favored. Back in 2017, Microsoft reported that 77% of consumers view brands more positively if they proactively invite and accept customer feedback. Now that even more organizations ask for feedback, customers want to know their feedback matters. Don’t just listen – close the loop and help customers feel heard.
Speak Their Language
- Local Love: If you’re going global, don’t forget the local touch. Languages are not just straight translations, they require nuance to include appropriate context and customs. And including customers with disabilities shouldn’t be a trend ever – it’s just the right thing to do.
Keep Their Secrets Safe
- Privacy Matters: In our digital world, data privacy is a big deal. And customers are becoming savvier about how their data is used. Be transparent and provide control options so customers not just understand, but have a say in how their data is used, shared, and stored.
Smart Data, Smart Decisions
- Numbers Tell Stories: Actionable insights are really what customer experience is all about. With options way beyond traditional surveys, CX leaders can answer questions about what customers want in new and faster ways. Behavioral analytics, AI pattern recognition, and customer preferences tell a story. Let the data guide your customer happiness strategies.
Stay Agile and Awesome
- Change is Fun: The world changes fast, and so should your strategies. Stay nimble, keep learning, and continue to delight your customers. Be prepared to make your business case for WHY you want to take action on behalf of your customers. It’s not about just keeping customers happy, it’s about gaining business results!
Always In Style Reminders!
- Embrace Tech, But Keep It Human: Technology is fantastic, but never lose the human touch. Personal connections are what make your brand memorable.
- Feedback Loops Are Your Friend: Keep those lines of communication open with your customers. Their insights can lead to your next big breakthrough.
- Celebrate Diversity: In your team, in your customer base, everywhere. Diverse perspectives lead to richer experiences for everyone!
- Never Stop Learning: The only constant is change, especially in customer preferences. Stay curious and open to new ideas.
And there you have it! As we step into the next chapter, let’s remember that customer experience is all about connection, innovation, and a whole lot of fun! And YOU get to be a part of it.