Noah Rolff

Director of Customer Marketing

It’s 2019. Customer expectations are rising, which means it’s time to focus on building an experience-centric engine within your business, one that engages both your customers and employees at a pace that meets their expectations.

To help accelerate your experience management strategy in 2019, we’ve made 5 predictions for what will set your business apart and ultimately help your company move at the speed of experience. Join us for a webinar on January 24th as we run through these trends, or read more below on what’s coming next for the experience space:

1. CX + EX will lead to unrivaled experiences

It’s time to rethink WHO your customers really are. Employees and customers co-exist in every experience. And just as CX is the sum of all interactions of a customer with a brand, EX is the sum of all employee interactions with various tools, processes and functions within an organization. Forward-thinking businesses will increasingly focus on empowering their employees to drive the right mindset and behaviors that will enable them to provide great customer experiences. Companies that acknowledge the employee experience will see greater engagement, and a direct line to their businesses’ bottom-line.

A Medallia study found that locations of a large retailer with high employee Net Promoter Scores® (NPS above 90) had 12% higher customer scores than those of stores with low employee NPS. Stores that had higher customer scores to begin with saw greater year-over-year improvement when employee scores were high, as well.

We predict the most successful businesses in 2019 will think bigger, beyond “customer” experience. Experience management will then deliver a real-time view of consumers, employees, and beyond to meet expectations at the pace they demand.

2. AI-powered experiences will predict the next best action, not just insights

Gartner predicts that by 2020, over 40% of all data analytics projects will relate to CX. While this number may look daunting, rapidly evolving technology, specifically artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, will make this wealth of data easily actionable, by analyzing experiences at a fraction of the cost and at an accelerated rate. Expanded AI capabilities will predict customer actions, giving businesses the ability to know what customers think.

But the big story in 2019 will be the ability to move beyond just predicting customer actions to proactively suggesting improvements. It’s one thing to see the problem coming, it’s another to act fast with the customer’s best interest in mind. Knowing the next best action will create better outcomes and predictably great experiences.

The real power of transforming customer experience is the combining of artificial and human intelligence. AI will suggest actions based on customer feedback, which employees will evaluate to implement the best ideas. Companies in 2019 will look to these techniques in order to repurpose the time and energy traditionally spent on manual analysis to make near real-time decisions that improve CX and the bottom line.

3. Experiences will be rewritten in real-time

Customers are more connected than ever and expect a consistent experience no matter where they are in their journey. And with same-day responses from businesses like Amazon, customers now expect and continue to demand instant gratification at every point of their journey. 78% of customers expect the ability to contact a representative immediately when they need help.

Still, experiences often go awry in the moment they occur. 52% of consumers who had a bad experience in the last year say it could have been improved if they had the opportunity to give real-time feedback and the company took immediate action.

In addition to providing feedback in real-time, consumers want to connect with businesses across all channels. Platforms like messaging and chat provide opportunities to engage with customers in the moment. Now feedback isn’t just a post-transaction after thought, it’s the experience itself. Brands will be armed to proactively tailor experiences while they are happening as opposed to reacting to feedback after the fact.

Businesses must be where customers are in order to leverage these new channels to continue the conversation, receive feedback in real-time, and respond. Real time is the right time to engage with customers, especially in 2019.

4. Businesses will align around customer journeys

Having a great in-store experience means nothing for your brand if the experience with your contact center agent is subpar. Today, customer experience is a sum of its parts. Optimizing a single touchpoint is not enough; companies will need to tie together all of their interactions to envision an ideal customer journey and provide a consistent experience.

To do this well, businesses will need more than an inside-out view from their CRM data. 2019 is the year of journey analytics. A 360˚ view of your customers’ experiences will allow businesses to construct a more complete picture of customer interactions to date, the feedback they’ve provided, and their changes in sentiment over time. This provides an intuitive understanding of where customers are in their journey, and how to take action and further personalize the experience.

Whether its investing in journey analytics to better understand customers or a complete overhaul to center the business around journeys, one thing is certain: businesses will begin to look beyond just touchpoints and channels to fully understand where to improve the experience.

5. Experience innovation will be crowd-sourced at scale

The best way to differentiate on experience is by innovating on products and services. Sourcing feedback from your employees, customers, and partners can help drive the strategy. But uncovering the best ideas and suggestions in the noise of feedback can seem impossible.

Finding the needle in the haystack is easier than you think with the right technology in place. You can pull that needle of innovation from your wealth of verbatim feedback, leveraging text analytics (TA) and natural language processing tools, and redirect it into new products or operational improvements. A Medallia research study found that companies using TA to analyze customer comments on social media are 22 percentage points more likely to innovate as a brand.

The key to business success in 2019 will be creating a mechanism to turn your front-line employees’ insights into innovation, by spurring action from feedback or guiding truths to leadership, product management, and other key decision makers. By applying the same closed loop methodology to capturing employee ideas that you do to customer feedback, you’ll create a flywheel of innovation that you can take to market.