Customer Experience (CX) is the new brand pillar: by 2020, customer experience will overtake product and price as the key brand differentiator according to Walker Information. Whether you’re focused on bookings, loyalty, ROI – pretty much every bottom-line metric has been proven to map back to customer experience. Most businesses have now accepted that getting this right is important to achieving KPIs and goals, however nailing CX is a lot more complicated than it seems.

Forrester defines customer experience as how customers perceive their interactions with your company. In other words, it’s a relationship. The customer’s interactions now come to define your brand, which is why we talk about putting the person back in personalization and putting the human connection back into your interactions.

When we examine trends we look for patterns of behaviour, specifically new behaviours and emerging customer expectations. To understand how the following megatrends we’ve identified map back to personalization, we’ll define the emotional impact of each megatrend we have observed and show how you can respond and adapt your practices to each.

MegaTrend 1: Here & Now

What we call the “here & now” is the feeling of being recognized in a particular moment. It’s about recognizing the customer as an individual, not a market segment, and recognizing the circumstances and context around each interaction.

  • Timeliness: Aim to respond to all customers within 1 hour.
  • Convenience: Have a constant feedback loop to help you identify friction points in the customer journey – then fix them.
  • Personalization (anticipating needs): Leverage technology to maintain a single view of each customer’s history of visits, purchases, interactions, and preferences. Then develop a process to ensure insights are actioned.

MegaTrend 2: Augmented Humanity

The second megatrend is about demonstrating empathy. Customers are becoming increasingly wary of automated service interactions that often make them feel like ‘just a number’. Demonstrating empathy in your exchanges is therefore going to be mandatory for the customer experience winners.

  • Authenticity: Take the extra time to personalize your responses rather than relying on templates.
  • 1-to-1 Treatment: 1-to-1 is the new 1-to-many. Prioritize customers who are speaking directly to you.
  • Consistency: Collaborate with cross-functional teams to provide a consistent level of service across all offline and online touchpoints.

MegaTrend 3: Positive Data Exchange

The past year’s focus on data privacy and reports on the various practices of the world’s biggest companies have not helped build consumer trust. This year, businesses will have to work hard to foster that feeling of trust.

  • Transparency: Use plain language to explain how you use a customer’s data.
  • Consent: Make it easy for your customers to consent to sharing their data with you; incentivize this behavior by offering value in return.
  • Security & Compliance: Work with your legal and IT departments to audit your existing set up for GDPR compliance and data security.

Each of this year’s megatrends can be taken as strategies for businesses to help deepen customer relationships. These strategies don’t require a total rejection of technology, nor do they require a suite of automation software and robotics. Rather, they should prompt us to find ways of using technology in a more human and effective way.

Watch the full webinar: Customer Experience MegaTrends 2019: Putting the Person Back in Personalization