Administrator CXMJanuary 24, 2020
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15min1603

2020 is set to see further advancements in Customer Experience.

Here, seven industry experts have their say on the trends they believe will make an impact in the coming months…

Lucia Juliano, Sector Head CPG at Harris Interactive

“Over the decade, consumer expectations from brands have not only risen, but have begun to change at a faster pace.

“Customer loyalty is decreasing, with consumers being quick to drop a brand that doesn’t meet expectations – particularly those in the key 23-38 age range. As a result, the experiences brands offer have become critical to retaining a client base and ensuring relevance in today’s fickle market.

“From our research at Harris Interactive, we’ve seen that the material experience can be as impactful as the digital one, particularly with regards to packaging and products themselves. Concerns over environmental impact are growing and this will continue to influence consumer choices in the coming year.

“More and more customers will choose brands that reflect their desire for sustainability, meaning brands need to respond to this trend to meet consumer expectations.

“This will require development teams to not only keep in touch with current trends, but employ innovative means to predict and react to them. Adopting technologies that facilitate smarter, agile decision making will enable brands to make impactful updates to their offerings. Quick access to consumer insights are essential in this process, to make sure that product or service developments reflect customer expectations in the moment.”

Michael Patterson, Managing Director EMEA at DynamicAction

“Over the last decade and the rise of the digital native, customers have come to demand more of retail, expecting the personalisation, speed, and convenience they’re used to in other areas of their digitally-enabled, always-on lives.

“As the high street struggles to meet this demand, it’s become increasingly vital for retailers to fundamentally re-frame their mindset and shift towards a more intelligent, customer-centred operating model. Only then can retailers keep ahead of new trends and weather the current industry storm.

“This isn’t the first time retail has faced change, and it’s likely consumers will maintain their deep cultural connection with the UK retail sector – something they see as being at the heart of British lifestyle.

“However, going into 2020, this relationship will need to be actively nurtured with a seamless combination of both the physical and digital worlds. Captivating consumers with an immersive and interactive experience is already being used to great effect by retailers like Nike, and now it’s time for others to embrace the theatrics of digital in-store if they are to successfully evolve into this new decade.”

Darren Guaranccia Chief Product Officer at Crownpeak

“Over 80 percent of organisations expect to compete on customer experience and with 86 percent of consumers saying they’d pay more for a great Customer Experience, we can expect ever increasing competitive pressure in this area in 2020 and beyond.

“As with everything, AI and ML will have a big role to play here. By examining interaction data, algorithms can predict likely churn accounts.

“By scanning transaction data, they can automatically identify and predict the most profitable customers allowing the organisations to double-down on the quality of experiences for their most valuable customers, perhaps even before they become profitable. Scanning interaction transcripts, first line support can be pushed to AI that can solve problems and route customers more efficiently.

“Voice technology will also continue to become more widely used as we move into 2020, becoming more contextualised – using more environmental cues to help answer customer questions and perform actions. With this, however, comes increased levels of scrutiny. Many people believe voice systems like Siri and Facebook are listening in to their conversations, and as they perform everyday tasks. Brands will have to work hard to make their voice activated systems as helpful as possible, while not appearing creepy. Customer trust will be essential for brands in 2020.

“But ultimately, great customer experience will still come from the human understanding of your audience and their needs. Organisations that invest in CX leaders to drive the human, technology and process changes required will be the real winners in the coming CX economy.”

Gareth Stephens, CEO of UK and Middle East at 4C

“As the digital transformation continues to gather momentum, businesses clamour to hit the headlines with the latest revolutionary tech that will change people’s lives and set them apart from the competition. 

“But in many cases, the drive to be the first to have the most impressive technology has blinded them to keeping consumer needs at front of stage. Take drone deliveries as a case in point. Heralded by Amazon back in 2013, the idea has been dogged by scepticism, regulation and a host of logistical concerns since – hardly the consumer reaction the business had clearly anticipated.

“In 2020, businesses must keep their feet firmly on the ground when approaching the lure of latest technologies. After all, tech innovations are only as good as the consumer need they fulfil. Tech that can reduce call waiting times may be far more welcome than the latest function on a website, for instance.

“Data will be key in understanding audiences, building consumer insight, and analysing changing behaviours. That data will help you find the right technology to delight the end-user – and adapt as their needs evolve. The digital transformation is changing the way we do business – but it must have the customer at its heart.” 

Lindsay McEwan, VP and Managing Director, EMEA at Tealium

“It’s vital that businesses keep up with the expectations of consumers to succeed in 2020. With competition fierce and consumer expectations increasingly high, customer centricity should be at the forefront of all businesses’ growth strategies. The organisations that thrive will be those that provide a seamless experience – no matter the device – through a holistic understanding of their customers’ wants and needs.

“Building lasting relationships that drive returns means delivering relevant and engaging experiences that consistently provide real value for customers. And to do so, marketers must first create a solid foundation of insight where all the pieces of an individual’s journey – including every interaction across every channel – are connected to create a single source of truth.

“While long-standing silos between marketing, sales, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems have been holding this back, the careful selection of the right tools can make it easier to close the gaps. Now, the implementation of solutions such as Customer Data Platforms (CDP) is crucial to empower the quick and flexible linking of data from all sources to better understand consumers and, crucially, retain them.”

Jeff Pfefferkorn, Head of Sales UK at MainAd

“Following the decline of the third-party cookie, brands in 2020 will adopt people-based marketing to reliably map customer journeys.

“With cookies unable to adapt to the growth in omnichannel, marketing will need an alternative solution to understand consumer behaviours across multiple devices and channels. To engage users in a fragmented digital landscape, brands must focus their efforts on mobile in particular as users are accessing more content on the small screen than anywhere else.

“Mobile and in app advertising will drive innovation in the way  brands interact with their target consumers, offering a wealth of behavioural insights through first-party data. Coupled with the rise of sophisticated, AI-powered tools, marketers will be able to use these insights to serve personalised messages to highly targeted demographics.

“Basing ad delivery on a consumer’s previous behavioural history will also allow brands to effectively re-engage users through their preferred digital channels – this will allow marketers to understand the full customer journey, closing the gaps between touchpoints.”

Ben Samuel, VP Sales EMEA at Nielsen Marketing Effectiveness

“Customer disloyalty is the new name of the marketing game. In fact, recent Nielsen findings show long-term devotion is no longer an asset brands can bank on, with just eight percent of global consumers considering themselves as loyal.

“With 46 percent of consumers more likely to try new brands than they were five years ago, adapting campaign strategies and tactics to these shifting dynamics will be essential for success in the months and years ahead.

“Loyal groups are generally niche and not substantial enough to support the majority of sales. Therefore, marketing initiatives will need to focus on those consumers keen to try new brands and outclass competitors on the factor that counts most: Customer Experience.

“Today’s consumers are looking for personalised experiences that cut through the noise and emphasise the unique purpose and value brands can offer them. Effective measurement will, more than ever, be key to this. If you can understand which creative messages, offers and content resonate with key audiences, then you can entice ‘disloyal’ consumers to make the switch.”


Administrator CXMNovember 18, 2019
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5min1742

When Bitcoin was created it was done to be a seamless payment method – backed up by the blockchain – for cheaper, faster, and safer worldwide peer-to-peer transactions.

Even Satoshi Nakamoto probably did not foresee blockchain technology spanning into different areas and industries than finance. Yet that has become the reality, and blockchain technology is now playing an integral part in every corner of the New Digital Economy. 

Anyone who is considering starting a digital business should consider how the blockchain and Bitcoin can benefit them, which means having a Luno Bitcoin Wallet to hand and reading up on the latest blockchain developments.

Luckily, you can start right here.

What is the New Digital Economy?

The New Digital Economy (NDE) refers to digital technologies that contribute to processes and transactions within the economy. It is not to be confused with the internet economy which also influences economic dealings, but solely focuses on online technologies.

One technology trailblazing the success of the digital economy is blockchains.

Blockchain and the New Digital Economy

From the definition above, it is easy to see why the contemporary digital economy is vast and includes many different cogs. Ultimately, thousands of businesses and services could land between the brackets of the digital economy.

1. Widening global markets

Blockchain at its basics is a founding pillar of cryptocurrency transactions, which have become essential to digital markets. Through their secure and borderless nature, paying with crypto allows businesses to attract customers from other countries, enabling the digital economy to scale quicker and easier.

2. Fostering investments

Digital ideas and technology entrepreneurs often rely on heavy investment to get their businesses off the ground due to the costs of developing such inventions or services. Investments of this kind are often made safer with blockchain technology through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) that allow businesses to obtain enough capital from investors effortlessly and even allow them to bypass banks.

3. Data safeguarding

Data handling and protecting user data has become a fierce topic among businesses in all industries, and the digital economy is especially important.

Businesses need to make sure they are protecting data from hackers to comply with the EU’s GDPR laws and protect their reputation. The blockchain comes in useful for this and is one way of securing information and making it pretty much bulletproof to hackers.

4. Business partnerships

Blockchain technology is also the foundation of Ethereum’s smart contracts. These contracts allow businesses to take an almost-hands-off approach to processes between businesses. Smart contracts are used to execute payments once milestones have been reached and allow digital businesses to save costs on human input and administration.

What else to expect?

The integration of blockchains can also be expected to merge with developments in artificial intelligence and data analysis. However, these integrations have not been finalised as of yet.

The future is bright for the new digital economy with blockchain technology to hand.


Administrator CXMJune 1, 2016
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9min792

Got your swimsuit? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Suntan lotion and poolside reading material? Yep! How about your branding & CX 101 primer? No? Well read on…

branding

Ok, well maybe I’m being a bit optimistic about the British weather, but one thing’s for sure – as we head into summer, with its bright skies and flowers in full bloom, now’s a great time to pause and reflect on your brand’s identity and how you can use this to make your customer experience efforts more effective.

For starters, what is the link between customer experience and branding? Traditionally, customer experience has positioned itself as quite distinct and separate from marketing and branding – and there are many good reasons for that as they are unique disciplines, the latter focusing more on campaigns and advertising, whilst customer experience is about the creation of customer-centric organisations and successful delivery of great experiences through every customer touchpoint. However, as CX practitioners we have to be careful to not operate within our own ‘CX bubble’ since we know as part of our work that silos are a big no-no.

And through effective partnership with your brand team, you will find great synergy which makes your customer experience efforts all the more effective.

What Great Brands Do

Denise Lee Yohn states it very well in her book ‘What Great Brands Do’(1), essential reading for anyone working in customer experience – to paraphrase, you don’t want to please every customer – you want to please the ones that are right for your brand. Anything else is wasted effort, therefore, focus on doing what you do very, very well.

There is a risk of being blinded by customer centricity, listening to a cacophony of all customers and then ending up terribly confused. This is where being brand-centric, and by extension, customer-centric to the right customers comes into play.

Let’s look at an example.

Abel & Cole are a brand that focuses on providing fresh, organic, locally sourced produce to households across the UK. And they do it very well, with low customer effort through their flexible online ordering & delivery system and through the use of customer feedback to continually improve (for example, I’ve noticed the carrots are much crisper and packaged better to maintain their freshness, following customer complaints about less enticing limp orange vegetables). Say for example that you are a parent who orders from Abel & Cole – how would you feel if, one day, you opened up the recycled brown box full of organic veg and found… a plastic happy meal toy staring up at you. Confused? Your reaction would most likely not be, ‘oh look how thoughtful, they are thinking of my little ones, isn’t this a lovely treat’ and would probably be more like ‘crikey, have they lost their mind. All this plastic is bad for the environment… I wonder what poor kid in China suffered to make this for us!’ Now, the case is purely theoretical however it demonstrates the harm that good intentions can do if they are not in alignment with the brand values expected by the target customer base.

If you try to be everything to everybody, you will become nothing to nobody.

Mercedes-Benz are another example who, having built a reputation as a luxury German car, are expanding their range and now offer lower level models(2), (3). Their cheapest model in the UK now starts at £19,990.00(4) – within the same price range as Toyotas – a move which could confuse their brand in the eyes of consumers, and could threaten their position as an exclusive provider of luxury vehicles.

So what are we to do within customer experience to harness the power of branding and make sure that our efforts contribute to the strengthening, not detriment of that brand?

A few handy pointers:

  • Understand inside and out, both emotionally and intellectually, what your brand is about and what feelings it is meant to generate for customers. This brand vision should inform all of your efforts. Without it, it’s like trying to fly a kite without wind – where is it going?
  • If you have seasonal fluctuations in your business, ramp up customer service and operations in preparation for the holiday season to make sure that your customer experience lives up to the brand promise year-round. This can require careful planning around staff holidays and cover, but will be worth the return in customer satisfaction and increased loyalty.
  • Customer communication preferences may change over holiday periods, with some preferring text, web chat and email over phone calls – are you geared up to meet customer demand on multi-channel support?
  • If your business is quieter during the holiday period, use quiet times as an opportunity for improvement – now is a great time for making changes that will help in the long term, such as redesigning a customer survey or undertaking some proactive customer research.
  • Make sure that your employees are clear on your organisation’s goals, brand vision and what it means to them at an individual level, team level and for the company. Summer is a great time for refresher sessions on key topics.
  • Brands should fulfill a deep, human need – get to the heart of this and you will have a source of rich storytelling which you can use to help align your organisation, getting senior buy-in for your efforts as well as helping with employee engagement. You can use some of these real life stories in your summer communication campaigns with customers, as there is nothing like real examples to bring your brand to life and help customers connect with you on an emotional level.

Interesting links:

Notes   [ + ]

1. What Great Brands Do reference Yohn, D. (2014) What Great Brands Do – The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
2. Maandag, M. and Puolakka, L. (2015) The Only Book You Will Ever Need on Branding to start, run and grow your business. Paperback edition. Great Britain: Robinson.
3. Benz on a Budget, Angling for Youngsters [Online]. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/automobiles/benz-on-a-budget-angling-for-youngsters.html?_r=0 [Accessed 19th May 2016]
4. Mercedes-Benz model chooser [Online]. Available from: http://www.mercedes-benz.co.uk/content/unitedkingdom/mpc/mpc_unitedkingdom_website/en/home_mpc/passengercars/home/new_cars/models/a-class/a-class/prices___spec/catalogue_prices.html [Accessed: 19th May 2016]



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