1. Artificial Intelligence technology remains the top investment priority for brands (branding):
Since its introduction, AI has played a key role in helping organizations deliver a personalized customer experience as well as understand customer behavior and needs more efficiently. AI has become an indispensable part of CX owing to its capabilities, such as the ability to analyze and understand huge volumes of data, deliver personalized and hyper-personalized CX, and facilitate better decision-making. The use of AI in chatbots for improving customer services, predictive personalization, actionable insights, voice and text sentiment analysis, and better decision-making makes it essential to delivering a successful customer experience. Therefore, many organizations have already adopted AI as part of their CX strategy or are using AI-driven CX tools, such as CDP, CRM, VoC, and digital commerce, to deliver enhanced customer experiences. AI, when compared with other CX technologies, remains the top technology investment priority for organizations as well as CX technology vendors to deliver high-impact customer experiences. CX technology vendors, as well as B2B and B2C organizations, are expected to continue to increasingly adopt AI owing to its great potential and ability to provide improved customer experiences or drive customer services without human intervention. AI will continue to help organizations transform their customer service by delivering improved chatbot services and agent efficiency, thereby improving business outcomes. AI will continue to blur the line between humans and the virtual world with new technology innovations that would not just merely focus on delivering good CX but an extraordinary customer experience that would help brands gain a competitive edge in the market. AI technology vendors and CX technology vendors are expected to continue to leverage the technology to provide more human-like make chatbot support more realistic in nature, launch innovative services as part of digital commerce strategy such as virtual try-on technology, 3D digital humans, etc., as well as facilitate proactive customer service where chatbots are able to predict the need of new services and more. Organizations will also continue to adopt AI to eliminate the challenges related to data silos as well as gain holistic customer information and actionable insights for better decision-making.
2.Metaverse transforming eCommerce and CX
While brands, CX teams, and marketers have already begun to witness the revolutionizing impact of metaverse on the customer experience, the technology’s adoption in the digital commerce industry is in the fast-evolving stage. Several e-commerce brands have been early adopters of the metaverse technology. However, they are still exploring the endless opportunities of how metaverse could transform their CX. The growing popularity and adoption of metaverse across the digital commerce industry are poised to have a huge impact on the CX tech industry, both from a technology and market perspective. Primarily, the potential of metaverse to offer omnichannel immersive multi-user and personalized shopping experiences is a key factor driving the rapid transformation of the digital commerce landscape. With the growing popularity and the big opportunities the metaverse may provide, it is extremely important for retailers, brands, and CX tech providers, to closely understand the changing customer demands and challenges involved while adopting the technology as part of their digital commerce strategy. While several CX technologies are already helping brands enhance their CX journeys, brands, as well as CX tech providers, must know the critical areas of customer experience that may get impacted due to the adoption of the metaverse. The application of metaverse across the eCommerce landscape does not involve one or more channels and digital touchpoints but focuses on offering a multidimensional immersive experience in an omnichannel environment. Therefore, the customer journeys are expected to get more complex, and delivering a consistent experience across all channels and touchpoints is going to be challenging for the brands as well as the CX technology providers.
Seamless integration and interoperability of systems, channels, environments, platforms, and touchpoints will play a crucial role in delivering consistent CX in a metaverse-driven environment. Moreover, the customer personas would vary largely on the basis of the customers’ adaptability and preferences in a dynamic environment driven by the metaverse. Further, the varied customer performance would expect different levels of customer support. Therefore, it would be very crucial for CX leaders and brands to focus on creating appropriate customer service and support to ensure successful customer experiences. While metaverse focuses on combining online and offline shopping experiences together, providing secure and safe experiences would be the critical factor responsible for gaining customer trust and loyalty in a metaverse-driven environment.
3. Brands focusing on transforming their VoC strategies and programs
VoC and survey tools help brands and customer service leaders collect, analyze, and act on customer feedback from different channels. However, traditional VoC tools and programs primarily focus on collecting direct customer feedback, which often fails, owing to an insufficient quantity of responses. This insufficient response has led to brands tapping online customer portals or communities, social media, and other indirect channels to obtain customer feedback in an efficient manner to draw valuable insights from the hitherto untapped voice of customers. Brands are keen on exploring indirect or inferred customer feedback data from alternate sources to improvise various internal functions. In addition, brands are focusing on leveraging digital analytics, sentiment analysis, and speech analytics instead of relying on traditional survey methods to improve their VoC programs to uncover customer feedback across multiple channels and derive meaningful, actionable insights. Owing to the increased importance of analytics, technology vendors are helping brands combine analytics with surveys to capture customer feedback obtained in the form of text or speech.
Just like VoC is important for brands to gain a holistic view of their product and achieve improved CX, Voice of Employee (VoE) is important to gain a holistic view of the organizational environment (including policies), to achieve increased retention, higher productivity and increased job satisfaction. Globally, organizations are already focusing on implementing VoE programs. While understanding customer challenges and feedback is important to improve customer experience, brands are also aware that understanding employee experience is equally important for their business growth. For example, organizations are increasingly looking forward to combining and analyzing VoC and VoE insights to understand their internal customers (employees) concerns and feedback in a holistic manner and offer improved customer experience. Combining VoC and VoE allows organizations to gain a comprehensive view of the customers’ concerns and helps them take necessary actions. Organizations are now considering VoE insights critical not only to improve their EX or CX but their overall business functions as well.
4. Growing sophistication of self-service channels to align with changing customer needs
Globally, brands are continuously focusing on improving their customer service by offering various empowering self-service options to their customers. Many organizations are adopting cloud technology to make their self-service more scalable. Cloud adoption allows organizations to innovate their existing self-service offerings by leveraging advanced technologies or even launching new self-service options easily. Owing to the increasing focus on offering agent experience to address the growing customer demands, brands are offering self-service options, such as chatbots and FAQs. These chatbots are able to automate certain time-consuming tasks easily, reducing the need for human intervention. In addition, brands are increasingly focusing on providing their self-service options across various channels owing to the growing focus on offering omnichannel customer support. Brands are offering message-enabled self-service options to easily meet customer demands across these channels. However, brands are exploring more options, such as videos, audio, etc., to meet customer demands for more flexible, customer-centric self-service offerings. Brands are increasingly innovating their self-service capabilities using technologies such as intelligent automation, bots, AI, ML, and NLP to deliver a seamless customer experience. The introduction of intelligent automation in self-service tools is empowering customers in a big way as it allows them to easily perform critical tasks such as purchasing new services, renewing services, and addressing their concerns through chatbots and IVR. This ease is further driving their loyalty toward brands. The pace at which the self-service landscape is evolving is phenomenal, as brands are increasingly looking forward to offering empathetic and realistic customer services. With the intent to offer next-generation and hyper-immersive customer experiences, brands are now looking forward to augmenting AI with XR to transform their customer experience. Organizations are increasingly focusing on investing in XR technology to offer augmented customer experiences, which is driving a rapid transformation across the entire self-service landscape.
5. Shift from Personalization to Hyper personalization for delivering engaging customer experiences
Personalization is not a new concept to CX leaders or brands. Globally, brands have been investing in personalization tools and software to offer end-to-end personalized experiences to their customers. Brands consider personalization as one of the most important investment priorities of their CX strategies. 1:1 personalization allows brands to deliver a unique experience to each customer across all channels and improve their CX significantly. Creating a sophisticated customer profile and segmentation is key to delivering a personalized experience. The segmentation of the customer profile largely depends on the accuracy of customer data. Therefore, organizations are increasingly adopting customer data platforms to centralize customer data on a single platform and deliver personalized experiences in an omnichannel environment.
While personalization is helping brands to deliver a personalized customer experience, hyper-personalization allows them to leverage real-time customer data to create and deliver exceptional customer experiences. Hyper-personalization involves the use of AI, predictive analytics, and machine learning to gain and analyze real-time customer insights and deliver a real-time customer experience. While personalization and hyper-personalization techniques both are helping brands to deliver enhanced customer experience, brands are now looking forward to investing in personalization techniques that help brands to strategically deliver a personalized experience that includes curated content, products and advertisements, recommendations and more to every customer based on their behaviors. As customer behaviors continue to change radically, brands are aware that understanding customer behavior remains a critical aspect in delivering personalized customer experience. Hyper-personalization allows brands to visualize customer behavior in a holistic manner. It enables brands to offer personalized advertising and deliver differentiated customer experiences across various channels. As personalization and hyper-personalization tools allow brands to offer personalized pricing, discounts, as well as product recommendations and engage with the customer effectively, brands continue to increasingly adopt platforms such as DXP, CDP, personalization platforms, as well as technologies such as AI, predictive analytics to drive personalized experiences for every customer across all channels.
Shruti Jadhav, Associate Research Director , Quadrant Knowledge Solutions.