Happy Friday! ‘This week in CX’ brings you the latest roundup of industry news.

This week, we’re looking at research into increasing budgets for the year, what CX imperatives are forecasted as for 2023, research into virtual training, and the new partnership with parcelLab and New Look.

Key news

  • On Valentine’s Day, our very own lead editor Venesa Musovic Guillaume joined Genesys for a chat on the relationships between love languages and customer engagement! Rewatch the webinar today.
  • New research by Retail Economics found that two-thirds of consumers planned to spend less on their significant other for Valentine’s Day this year. The average gift budgets stood at £24.33. According to YouGov, 82% of us in the UK say that Valentine day is celebrated because of commercial pressure. Only 13% celebrate it because it’s a “special proper occasion”. 
  • boohoo Group PLC and location technology what3words have announced an exciting new partnership. The integration of what3words into boohoo Group’s services will enable efficient deliveries for customers across their brands. 
  • Customer Engagement Platform SALESmanago has launched CUPID Score, the new industry standard to measure customer engagement and experience. CUPID Score helps marketers to understand how effective their company is in building bonds with customers across five key areas: Convenience; Understanding; Personalisation; Intimacy; and Data.
  • Content Guru have announced the global availability of enhanced conversational AI features within its storm®Machine Agent™ intelligent automation suite. storm platform users will benefit from enhanced control and detailed end-to-end reporting of the conversational AI capabilities within their services.
  • Authenticx have announced a new automation solution to enhance data-driven decision-making for healthcare organisations. The tool, known as autoscoring, automatically evaluates and scores customer interactions using best-practice criteria. 
  • By 2026, Gartner predicts customer service functions that implement the “connected rep” will improve contact centre efficiency by 30%. The connected rep is a strategy that enables customer service reps (CSRs) to perform high-quality assisted service at scale.

Over two thirds of businesses are set to increase budgets this year 

Following a survey of 1,000 UK-based marketers, Impression has created a report delving into the thoughts and plans of marketing departments this year. 77% of professionals whose marketing budgets are expected to increase say their firm will also be looking to expand their internal marketing team in the next 12 months.

Despite this investment in internal marketing resources, statistics show that many will strengthen the capabilities of their teams by leaning on external support. This is either through a freelancer or agency. Those planning to outsource some of their work anticipate getting help with at least one of the following areas:

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • Email marketing
  • Organic social media
  • Public relations (including digital PR)
  • Influencer marketing

Investments are also expected to be made in the same five areas, in the same order as outlined above. Marketing professionals say 2023 will not be without its hurdles, however. Out of the 1,000 respondents, the majority cite the rising cost of living as the biggest business challenge. It’s followed by increased operational costs, supply chain and stock issues, and recruitment. 

43% agree that knowing the correct budget split per channel is the biggest dilemma they face when it comes to choosing their channels. Successfully integrating resource (teams and/or agency partners) and successfully integrating channels make up the rest of the top three challenges.

parcelLab have partnered with New Look to enhance post-purchase CX

The partnership will enable New Look to provide proactive messaging and personalised communications from purchase to delivery, and beyond.  

New Look’s decision to invest further in the post-purchase experience is part of a wider drive to continue leading in customer centric fashion. With the support of parcelLab, New Look will be enhancing the relationship with each individual customer by providing greater transparency and more personalised communications.

Leveraging parcelLab’s technology, New Look will be able to undertake direct communications with customers, including important information updates on the status of their orders. It will also enable the fashion brand to make personalised and relevant recommendations to shoppers on additional items they may be interested in based on previous purchase behaviour, supporting the brand’s growth aspirations.

“We’re delighted to be working with such a forward-thinking brand as New Look, helping them to continue providing the best possible experiences to their customers. At this critical time for the retail industry, it’s more important than ever that brands make each interaction with customers meaningful and relevant. And the post purchase experience is a crucial part of this. 

We look forward to supporting New Look in providing customers with clear and proactive communications that are key to unlocking loyalty and enabling business growth.”

-Tobias Buxhoidt, CEO and Co-Founder at parcelLab

B2B software vendors are spending more than ever on virtual sales and training

CloudShare, the product experience company, has published its 2023 State of Virtual Sales and Training Experiences report. The big takeaway is that interest in virtual sales and training among B2B software vendors is growing rapidly. The ROI, enabled by modern tech and techniques has become more apparent.

The use of tools that enabled B2B software vendors to engage customers online increased dramatically over the past few years. Despite the return of face-to-face meetings, that trend has continued. According to CloudShare’s 2023 report, vendors that used modern technologies increased participation, completion and engagement in virtual sales and training. These technologies include in-app video conferencing, and strategies such as multiple instructors and self-paced training significantly.

Following are the key data points from CloudShare’s study. It is based on thousands of virtual sales and training experiences delivered by hundreds of B2B software vendors.

  • Sharp increase in demand for virtual software experiences
  • Virtual product training experiences’ growth tripled year over year
  • In 2020, self-paced training on CloudShare’s platform accounted for just 5% of all training hours. In 2021, that increased to 14%. In 2022, 34% of virtual training on CloudShare was self-paced, compared to 66 percent for virtual instructor-led training.
  • Participants are less likely to drop out of virtual training experiences
  • Multi-instructor training boosts participation and class completion rates

In-app video conferencing is a must-have ingredient for boosting class completion

Merkle’s CX imperatives for this year have been outlined

Merkle have unveiled its 2023 Customer Experience Imperatives. This is focused on closing the “experience gap” and delivering a complete, connected customer experience.

The past few years witnessed a wild recalibration of customer expectations, along with a profusion of new marketing technologies. The adoption of tech platforms by brands was fast and furious in 2022. This year, Merkle is urging brands to invest smarter, not faster. The 2023 Imperatives are a guide to creating value – often from existing resources – by fostering long-term, loyal relationships with new and existing customers.

The Imperatives illustrate how brands can move beyond short-term thinking and “shiny object” tactics to build a more enduring foundation for long-term success, while actually improving customers’ lives in tangible, meaningful ways. The Imperatives feature:

  1. Future-Proof Your Organisation. In 2023, brands should look inward to realign their CX mission, create a modern data foundation and agile delivery organisation, and evangelise their vision for the future state of customer experience.
  2. Reimagine Your Data and Tech. Brands must focus on data unification, orchestration, and hygiene – elements of a data strategy that are crucial to achieving a unified understanding of customers.
  3. Make Every Experience a Path to Commerce. Brands should view commerce as a powerful vehicle for building long term-relationships. The emotional connection generated by a positive shopping experience pays dividends far beyond the checkout process.

Commentary: the future of ChatGPT 

News about Google’s Bard, OpenAI’s ChatGPT and more AI chat services on the horizon are all over our timelines. What does this mean for customers and clients already sick of ineffective customer support journeys?

“There’s no denying that AI communication platforms like ChatGPT are the future of interactive technology, hence why Google announced its own rival platform this month. The wide proliferation of this technology will help revolutionise text generation throughout every use case and will be an incredible step forward for the customer service sector. 

Customers expect only the best out of their digital services, and they desire good help and fast. Better communication technology will make AI customer interactions shorter, but more meaningful. [This will be] with increased contextual power for real-time support. 

It’s a must-have in customer experience, but its future will depend on its integrations that surpass its current use. Weaving ChatGPT into both external and internal-facing processes will inevitably streamline and enhance all levels of digital services. 

As companies progress through this new and innovative learning period, we will begin seeing an expansion of its capacity. [We will also see] an all-important testing of the technology’s guardrails.”

– Alfred Kahn, CEO of OvationCXM 

Thanks for tuning into CXM’s weekly roundup of industry news. Check back next Friday for the latest updates of the week!

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