The year 2016 has come to an end and businesses are now focusing on their 2017 customer experience strategies. Rant & Rave Founder, Nigel Shanahan, shares his thoughts on the year to come.

1. It’s all about the moments that matter

When customers have an experience with a brand they’ll talk about it whether it’s positive or negative, but what’s important for brands is that their customers are talking to them. The best way to do this is by connecting with them ASAP; they need to be asking the right questions whilst customers are still thinking about their experience, when they’re emotionally engaged with the situation and can remember the details.

Capturing immediate feedback is vital now, but in 2017, that’s going to become the norm so anyone not doing it will fall quickly behind. Quick action is appropriate for all interactions; a telephone conversation with a contact centre, a web chat, a parcel delivery, airport check-in, a visit to a website or the purchase of a service or product, and so on. Whichever it is, what’s key is that the customer is asked for feedback in the moment and that it’s acted on immediately where relevant.

2. Team empowerment

Customer service can be a stressful environment; it can be repetitive for agents and is often not well-paid. The challenge for business leaders is to keep and motivate good agents, and we’re expecting to see innovative methods being introduced more and more; these keep teams feeling satisfied and empowered, and this will be a key trend in 2017.

Gamification is one such method and we are certain that it will grow vastly in the year to come. This is method that introduces a competitive element whilst aligning individual behaviours and characteristics with those of the wider organisation. It’s an effective approach towards improving employee engagement – in its most basic form, gamification turns work tasks into games.

Gamification includes leader board systems as well as interactive, real-time dashboards that encourage employee engagement and result in increased customer satisfaction. This is a fun and interactive way of collecting feedback from customers, and staff can view and assess their own performance to see where they rank against their colleagues, as well as within the department, and even within the organisation.

3. Demonstration of the ROI of CX programmes

As CX programmes mature, so does the need to measure their business impact and ROI. Programmes need to have clearly defined goals; both quarterly and annually. It will also be important to use a metric such as retaining customers for 10% longer, as this measurable data will become vital in securing support and the all-important budget from senior executives for further CX programmes.

Pulling together relevant data sets will be crucial in demonstrating ROI. Before implementing new technologies or new approaches, organisations will need to consider the data they need to collect and how they’re going to get hold of it.

There is a constant supply of new customer communication channels, so if organisations look at what data they have early on, not only will they make their lives easier when the programme gets going, they’ll also be able to pull all this data together and analyse it more efficiently.

Typically, organisations will use information like average call handling or call waiting times alongside their CX metrics to draw a comparison over time. But to get the most out of this data, you also need to have the resources available to analyse it in depth.

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