As 2022 draws to a close, business leaders and CX professionals will already be working diligently to prepare for the year ahead. In 2023 we expect to see the continued proliferation of new focus areas within the CX industry. Alongside emerging trends and immersive engagement, however, businesses will have to navigate agent hiring and retention challenges as the job market grows increasingly turbulent.

Social media channels now a key element of CX

One key trend that we expect to dominate the CX landscape is the continued adoption of social media within customer support. 2022 was the year that Instagram became a mainstream support channel. We can expect TikTok to follow suit in 2023. 

It’s predicted that there will be 15 million active TikTok users in the UK by 2025, offering a huge opportunity for brands to connect with younger audiences. TikTok will allow companies to reach targeted communities. Its short-form video format will be imperative to deliver instructions and support.

However, many businesses and consumers have concerns over the security of their personal and commercial data held on the platform. This is largely due to the ongoing pressure for regulation of the platform sharing data. TikTok’s new privacy policy update, set to go live in December, aims to limit the amount of user data undergoing intercontinental transfer and encourages local data storage instead. 

Despite these concerns, brands will have to ensure they are meeting the demand from users to effectively utilise TikTok as a support channel for those willing to accept the risk. Whether users reach out via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or now TikTok, expectations are high when it comes to receiving support via social media. A third (32%) of users expect a response within 30 minutes. 

The delivery of support through TikTok is expected to be similar to the type of assistance delivered through Instagram. Integrations are therefore similar, and the technology to support this is already coming online. This is allowing TikTok to become part of a comprehensive omnichannel approach. To successfully implement TikTok, brands must have CX technologies that support a coherent omnichannel approach. This includes the ability for customers to switch between channels and receive consistent support.

How immersive CX will shift closer to reality

As well as rolling out support for social channels that are currently a part of people’s daily lives, we also expect more futuristic technologies to continue development. Immersive CX with virtual spaces is one of the most exciting technological advancements within the industry. Whilst Mark Zuckerberg’s big bet on the Metaverse’s success might not pay off just yet, the opportunity for consumers to interact with brands within virtual worlds is enormous. 

Interactions with brands will be hyper-personalised – creating a close-knit community where everyone’s needs and preferences are truly understood. Such a high level of personalisation would improve customer experiences and also give businesses an upper hand. They will, with this assistance, be able to tailor products and services more effectively. 

Although there is a lot to look forward to when it comes to immersive CX, there is still work to do to ensure the backbone of the technology can support this reality. The continued rollout of full fibre broadband means that virtual reality experiences are becoming increasingly possible. This is set to continue in 2023. 

Alongside this, technology providers will continue to innovate and develop the platforms to allow these experiences. Technologies that appear to be a long way from maturity can rapidly explode in popularity. That’s why it will be key in the coming year to prepare for immersive CX. 

The battle to attract and retain agents

The preparation for exciting new realities will be balanced by persistent issues, such as hiring and retaining agents throughout the year. The UK job market has been in a state of flux ever since the Covid-19 pandemic struck. The impact of the rapidly changing restrictions meant many workers changed industries and the total workforce in the UK has shrunk. 

Contact centres have faced issues and the battle to hire and retain the best talent will continue to be ultra-competitive. Although there was a rapid increase in the number of agents in the UK to supplement the test and trace scheme, in 2022 numbers fell. We reverted to a ‘business as usual’ state. Technology, and AI in particular, can play a key role in this as automation reduces the burden of admin tasks. AI can assist agents in creating more fulfilling experiences. 

As well as the headwinds created by a shortage of agents, businesses will also have to face growing market and geopolitical uncertainty as we move into the New Year. It’s hard to predict these external forces. But by focusing on meeting customer needs and preparing for trends that will emerge in the near and medium-term future, businesses give themselves a good chance. They will not only be navigating their CX challenges, but achieving success. 

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