Even before the pandemic, increased demand for personalised customer experiences had companies feeling pressured to meet customers’ expectations. They were scrambling to define and deliver exceptional CX. Leaders continue to strategise and anticipate evolving customer expectations to elevate the future of CX.

But how will it look in 2023?

Out with surveys. In with conversational intelligence

About 90% of consumers consider CX when determining whether to do business — and establish or continue a relationship — with a brand. While customer surveys can measure satisfaction and surface customer feedback, these go-to tools have disadvantages.

Customer surveys have inherent flaws – including participant fatigue or personal bias. Personal biases come from a participant’s culture, education and beliefs. Non-personal biases arise when people don’t understand the questions – this comes with industry jargon or responses misaligned with the target audience. Healthcare organisations, for example, may find themselves battling survey fatigue. This is especially for customers receiving repeat surveys leading them to offer half-hearted responses (or ignore them altogether). 

Providing effective questions and multiple-choice answers that don’t “lead the witness” is difficult. Too often surveys become self-serving to the organisations soliciting the feedback. Rather than generating useful data, many of these surveys do little beyond generating vanity metrics.

Next year, expect more organisations to redirect their funding from surveys into conversational intelligence. That is, software using AI for analysing speech to gather data-driven insights. Unsolicited feedback shared via customers’ own words helps companies understand pain points and roadblocks interfering with the delivery of robust CX.

Recognising the value of unstructured data

It’s been found that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day. So it’s fair to say that industries across the board do not lack the data they need to analyse. The biggest challenge is realising the value of the incredible amount of data surrounding us. 

We’re already seeing more significant investments in solutions designed to ingest, analyse and produce insights from structured and unstructured data. The magic of unstructured data lies in its ability to help companies and organisations get to know their customers. Its insights give leaders a holistic view of the state of their customers’ experiences, opinions, values and even brand relationships.

If you’re not listening to the voice of your customer (VoC), you’re doing it wrong. Healthcare enterprises, tech giants, financial institutions, retailers, the hospitality sector — all these industries and more are using and leveraging conversational AI. This is used to clarify and understand their customers and identify problems, especially customer pain points, within their organisations. 

All functional areas — including those beyond the operations side — recognise the value of VoC as an insights source. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2025, “60% of organisations with VoC programmes will supplement traditional surveys by analysing voice and text interactions with customers.” 

VoC technology, like speech analytics, natural language processing, machine learning and conversational AI, allows decision-makers to draw meaning from customer conversations. From there, they can improve and deliver quality service to elevate customer support. 

AI’s time to shine

The spotlight is shining on AI’s contributions to managing unstructured data. Healthcare organisations are using it to understand the emotional and social factors influencing patient healthcare decisions. Increasingly, healthcare providers have recognised — and are capitalising on — the value of cognitive and emotional AI. This is helping to identify and analyse social determinants of health. This creates a more holistic picture of each patient.

The healthcare industry is just one of many leveraging AI technology to elevate CX by tapping into the value of unstructured data. Unstructured recordings of customer conversations empower teams and organisations to glean business insights, optimise resources and improve the bottom line. By 2026, the big data market size is predicted to increase to $273.4B, with a CAGR of 11%.

Going beyond digital optimisation

Merely championing digital optimisation and adding more technology isn’t a panacea. Nor will it solve staffing shortfalls. In fact, any company that thinks piling on more tech will fail miserable. Especially if they’re not taking the time to identify and understand the problems they’re solving – including how technology can (and perhaps more importantly, cannot) impact CX.

Digital transformation won’t solve customer experiences, regardless of the industry. Nor will it help companies that worship the altar of tech. However, the unstructured data generated by text files, conversations via phone, social media, and more tells a comprehensive data story. 

Technology makes it easier to access and gain insights into customer pain points and challenges, identify gaps in information or training, and find opportunities for improvement. While it might not be able to empathise with frustrated customers, technology does enable human teams to aggregate and listen to unstructured data at scale. This will overall improve the customer experience.

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