Maya is an Enterprise Architect with experience in supporting transformation across organisations. She has vast experience in developing business outcome roadmaps that support strategic ambitions, and the target business architectures that guide the realisation of these outcomes. She is passionate about architecting based on business capability, i.e. the combination of people, processes, information and technology that come together to deliver efficiency, adaptability and resilience.
Her insights reflect the changing landscape of customer service and the potential for technological advancements to reshape the industry.
IN AN ERA WHERE CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS EVOLVE RAPIDLY, ORGANISATIONS ENCOUNTER FRESH CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES.
Priorities have shifted, and Zendesk’s Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report 2023 reveals compelling statistics: 72% of customers seek instant service, 70% expect contextual awareness from interactions, 62% anticipate seamless experiences across digital and physical domains, and an equal percentage prefer personalised recommendations over generic ones. Staying competitive requires businesses to listen to these demands and adopt fast, personalised, and seamless digital experience strategies.
OVERCOMING CX CHALLENGES
The effective implementation of customer self-service emerges as a prominent challenge. Although desired by both customers and businesses, Gartner’s leadership vision for customer service and support in 2023 indicates that 49% of customers abandon self-service due to inadequate information. Customers often turn to live chat or call for assistance due to the absence of satisfactory self-service content. Therefore, organisations must prioritise refining self-service to reduce reliance on assisted channels and enhance overall customer satisfaction.
Empowering customer service agents is another hurdle. These agents navigate the complex realm of customer dissatisfaction and problem-solving, necessitating a delicate balance of emotional support. Additionally, the complexity of customer service systems can hinder efficiency, leading to frustration among agents and customers alike. On average, agents require seven systems to perform effectively, resulting in slow response times and a subpar customer experience.
EMERGING TRENDS IN CUSTOMER SERVICING
Forward-thinking companies are reframing customer service from a mere cost centre to a driver of loyalty and revenue. Organisations that acknowledge the significance of CX and allocate resources to elevate support interactions have the capacity to cultivate customer loyalty, subsequently fueling retention rates and financial gains. Embracing a mindset centred on value and regarding customer support as an investment in customer relationships, engagement, and data can open doors to previously untapped opportunities.
Another innovative trend is the adoption of total experience (TX) strategies. These strategies focus on improving both the experience for customers (CX) and the experience for employees (EX). Historically, companies tended to prioritise customer experience, but now they are recognising the importance of making sure employees have a great experience too. By considering both customer and employee experiences as part of a connected whole and using technology to empower both groups, companies can create better and smoother interactions overall.
THE TECHNOLOGICAL ENABLERS
Key technological enablers are poised to redefine the CX landscape. Knowledge management (KM) technology, enabled by artificial intelligence (AI), facilitates faster responses and enhances both customer and agent experiences. Whilst, conversational AI – including virtual agents – revolutionises customer support, offering comprehensive and personalised assistance by understanding user intent, and learning and constantly improving using data.
Asynchronous messaging channels, like WhatsApp and social media messaging, have become increasingly popular for customer support. They offer efficient and convenient interactions, letting customers engage with organisations when it suits them. By embracing these modern messaging platforms and leveraging conversational AI and automated bots, companies can keep customers engaged through pertinent responses or automated actions. This enables smooth interactions, eliminating the need for human agent handoffs to conclude conversations.
Advances in natural language processing (NLP) have led to AI-driven email automation solutions, addressing challenges in automating responses to unstructured data like emails and chat messages. This technology uses NLP text analysis to understand the topic and sentiment in e-mails, including e-mail attachments. It then uses powerful case management to create, triage and drive work to completion.
Omni-channel is another great example of innovative customer engagement technologies. It enables organisations to unify diverse communication channels within a single interface, resulting in a smooth and tailored customer experience. By embracing an omnichannel approach, companies can boost customer satisfaction, attain deeper insights into customer behaviour, and pinpoint chances for refining customer service strategies.
Cloud-based call centres have revolutionised customer support operations, bringing about a significant transformation. These systems provide scalability, cost-efficiency, and flexibility, enabling organisations to navigate fluctuating call volumes during different seasons and efficiently onboard remote agents. Furthermore, cloud-based call centres seamlessly integrate with various business applications, amplifying overall operational efficiency.
Voice of the customer (VoC) technologies are vital for understanding customer needs. By collecting feedback from various touchpoints, companies gain insights to enhance service and satisfaction. Emerging VoC tools like feedback platforms, sentiment analysis, and journey mapping offer real-time insights for exceptional customer experiences.
Other technologies are also making waves in CX including The Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and blockchain technology. IoT enables proactive and predictive service, utilising real-time data to address issues before escalation. AR and VR technologies provide immersive experiences and assistance and blockchain technology enhances CX through secure transactions, improved payment processing, and smart contracts.
Businesses must also be ready to face the emergence of machine customers, a development that brings fresh dynamics to marketing and sales. Machines base their decisions on logic and data, prompting organisations to adjust their strategies and business models to effectively serve this evolving customer ecosystem.
It’s clear that the future of CX is teeming with opportunities. By embracing these technologies and adopting a customer-centric mindset, organisations can establish themselves as industry leaders, driving customer loyalty, retention, and long-term profitability.