The Customer experience (CX) is defined as how the customer feels when interacting in both direct and indirect ways with a brand. Customer experience is evaluated as a new competitive factor, supporting businesses to make a difference.
As reported by Gartner survey, 81% of companies compete primarily or entirely with CX. This has made CX an important differentiating factor for businesses and also helps retain top customers, or in short, CX is the power to improve or enhance customer loyalty. What trends will affect the customer experience in 2022 and beyond?
1. Hyper-personalization trends
Personalization has now become a lot more-super-personalized. Compared to standard, businesses will use data collection and analytics technologies to deliver personalized marketing and sales messages to different customer segments, promotions or products and services at a “hyper-personalization” level to each customer. High-tech industries such as Banking-finance, telecommunications, and retail can achieve a level of hyper-personalization by using a combination of predictive analytics, AI and machine learning to track the real-time usage data of individual customers. For example, phrases they often search for, the content they like to watch, their geographic location, their spending habits, locations that generate their spending, etc. Once equipped with this information, banks can offer more accurate targeting and marketing campaigns. For instance, if search data reveals that customers frequently search for the terms “villa sale” “sell luxury condominiums…” In the area… “home loan interest rate” and “comparison of lending rates in the market”, real estate businesses can know the needs of customers to approach and advertise the sale of products, banks can know that customers are looking to buy a home and therefore, they are a good candidate for a home loan, and even furniture, retail, home insurance businesses will be able to look for opportunities with this customer. Based on that information, you can target that customer with a low-interest home loan offer.
2. Self-service trends
Self-service on digital platforms is one of the fastest-growing customer experience trends nowadays. Thanks to mobile technologies and applications, customers now have full access to their resources from anywhere, turning from unreasonable imagination into a basic expectation. Customers now expect a convenient lifestyle toward “anywhere, anytime” on mobile platforms. They want to solve simple and personal issues on their own using mobile devices or personal devices before seeking direct support from the business. If your business already provides a mobile app, the next step will be to determine if you are using data from that app effectively. Mobile apps collect large amounts of data, however, it will not bring any benefit for businesses if they’re not thoroughly analyzed to turn into valuable customer information (insights). Data analytics platforms and machine learning algorithms can help you extract valuable information from customer data, which you can leverage to develop new products, optimize existing processes, better empower customers and improve overall CX.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence is becoming familiar nowadays, but it also makes customers demand more from businesses, especially when they are in an urgent situation. Along with customer self-service being more and more popular, innovative solutions have been developed to ease stress on customer care centers and improve the customer experience. Instead of waiting on the phone, another option for customer to refer to is AI-powered chatbots when they get struggle. These chatbots collect and process information from a variety of sources, such as business information resources and customer profiles on CRM management systems and meet the requirements for customer services. If a specific request exceeds the chatbot’s capabilities, it will automatically submit to a higher level like a direct service representative so that they can have a solution for the customer. The more applications offer chatbot technology as a basic function, meaning customers can quickly solve their problems from anywhere, anytime. Gartner forecasts that in the banking industry, chatbots will save more than $8 billion a year in costs for the industry by 2022 and that 70% of customer interactions are expected to involve emerging technologies such as machine learning applications, and that 70% of customer interactions are expected to involve emerging technologies such as machine learning applications, chatbots and mobile messaging. Some financial institutions have even used AI to improve the customer experience in banking by developing AI-enabled virtual assistants to share financial management tips with customers.
4. The humanization of digital services
In parallel with the trend of digitizing multiple services, an interesting thing is customers also want some customer service to have more human elements, namely the need for human interaction. Along with the tendency to self-serve basic tasks, customers expect call-centers to have faster human interaction, instead of forcing customers to perform a series of operations on the machine before actually talking to a real “human”. Long waits while customers need to talk “to a person” is urgent in such cases that can frustrate customers and affect customer loyalty.
5. Process and service transparency
After numerous security incidents in recent years, customers have the right to expect transparency in the information processing procedures related to their personal data. This is one of the key conditions for customers to be able to identify a long-term relationship with the brand. The information processing processes related to service steps need to be shared quickly and instantaneously with the customer, but any sign of sharing data with third parties will make the customer extremely sensitive and can break an intimate relationship. Infact, 69% of customers say that honesty and transparency about how personal data is used are critical to building trust; another 42% emphasize the need to comply with data assurance regulations. This will also impact the “hyper-personalization” that the business intends to provide to customers as mentioned above. Nevertheless, if customers combine customer data analytics tools with behavioral-related algorithms and only reach customers with marketing and sales campaigns that align with their needs and goals, “hyper-personalization” still plays an important role in delivering the expected customer experience.
6. Combined touchpoints
The shopping behavior of customers, especially young customers has made certain changes. They may not come to physical stores as often as they used to make purchases but will incorporate forms of exposure to the brand. Even when they go to stores, customers’ desire for experiences combined with technology such as virtual reality and self-examination of goods will cause stores to retrofit new technologies if they do not want to stay behind in the competition in terms of customers’ minds. Transaction points or stores that look like technology stores with screens and handsets that allow customers to check products, try and order home will likely be a trend in many industries in the future, including retail (not just technology equipment retail), banking, and other service industries.
7. Proactive counselling
Go with the trend of self-serving simple and basic requirements, customers are also getting used to the trend of using professional consulting services in more complex issues. Combining interdisciplinary to offer linked services and benefiting all parties will be a new movement in the future. The use of the Internet to find “idle” advice will no longer be popular in an era when quick decisions are needed especially related to investment, system equipment, shopping for high-value things. This gives businesses the opportunity to improve the customer experience by proactively advising existing customers, giving advice tailored to the needs of each customer on the basis of having accurate information about their needs based on the system of collecting and analyzing customer information.
In addition to the above trends, customers also aim to establish long-term relationships with “kind” businesses, have a healthy business philosophy, contribute to the community since choosing which brand to stick to also partly reflects the values of the customer itself. This was mentioned by Philip Kotler and his author team in their ‘Marketing 5.0’ published in 2021.