Customer Experience Predictions
To Help Companies Win in 2018
2018 is the pivotal year for companies to define themselves by the customer.
And now that the year is coming to a close, it’s time to check-in; is your company on track?
In our 2018 CX Predictions, we laid out 5 competencies for companies that win through CX.
1. Will have a plan to adapt to the customer.
Hands down, customer experience will become the most important battleground on which some companies win and others will not even be set up to compete.
This year, 50% of organizations will have already significantly adapted their business model around the customer experience. This trend will continue, and the gap between the leaders and the laggards will widen.
In 2018, it will no longer be enough to collect customer information. It’ll be critical to have a plan and then act on it. In fact, the more ways a company actually uses the customer feedback they gather, the more likely they will be in the top quartile of CX performance.2 Customer-obsessed companies know this and already have a leg up on the companies that haven’t put a plan in place. That means that the clock is running out on companies that don’t yet have one. If a company doesn’t have a plan, it won’t succeed. Period.
So as a CEO, if you’re not asking yourself, “How are we going to adapt to customer needs?”, you’ll be out of the race.
So what’s your plan?
2. Will hardwire the customer in to every decision
The days of customers defining themselves by logos are out like 2017. Millennials and up-and-coming Gen Z customers, in particular, are savvy social media marketers who think of themselves as their own brand. They don’t care about your brand unless it helps them represent who they are. That means the most successful companies will put customers at the center in ways not seen before.
Whereas customer engagement, from the inside out, has been the focus of marketing departments in the past decade, in 2018, it will become all about customer participation, from the outside in.
Customers have power to choose which brands they will participate in. And that means organizations will have to go way beyond traditional thinking about what customer service means. They’ll have to activate the entire organization around customer needs.
Companies that consider how to actually integrate customer feedback into their entire systems and processes will be more than 70% more likely to perform in the top quartile on CX.4 Companies will be at a serious disadvantage if they can’t innovate around customer participation and adapt to a customer-obsessed core mission.
3. Will offer many digital mechanisms for participating—along with a great human experience
Customers will tip the scales in favor of interacting with companies that offer lots of different digital mechanisms, including SMS, website, and in-app feedback.
In fact, in 2018, the average person will be well on their way to having more interactions with bots than with their own spouse.Your brand, in short, will depend on how well you can leverage bots. The companies that are ahead of this trend are already seeing the benefit of embracing the digital customer experience, being 50% more likely to perform in the top quartile on CX.
And yet, the Catch-22 is that people still want to talk with people. Winning companies will be the ones that can effortlessly engage every customer at any touchpoint to give customers a meaningful human experience, even in the digital environments they prefer.
4. Will run the words, not just the numbers
Companies will no longer get by on just running the numbers. The best insights will come from the words and more, as valuable data moves to text-based letters, numbers, and special characters.
Customer feedback, shared as comments through social media, online review sites, blogs, and chat logs, will run wild.
Even when a customer calls the call center, a transcript will be created. This free-form text, often called “unstructured data,” will be the goldmine of insights about the customer experience.
In fact, by 2020, as much as 93 percent of all data in the digital universe will be unstructured text.Complicating the landscape will be the company’s own customer data that is siloed across multiple systems, including their CRM systems, marketing automation, and financial systems. Now factor in the complexity of the customer journey crossing these multiple touch points for both B2C and B2B companies, and what you’ve got is a scattered trail of the most valuable customer data that traditional analysis can’t touch.
In 2018, data analytics will dramatically improve a company’s ability to mine text and surface customer insights. Winning companies will be the ones that can use these improved data analytics to systematically measure, analyze and and improve every experience in the customer journey in order to optimize it.
5. Will leverage the employee as ground zero
More than one out of every three adults will be Millennials by 2020. Their perspective on changing customer expectations will hold huge value for the companies that are willing to listen and adapt. But the biggest impact Millennials will have on companies will be as employees. They are now the largest generation in the work force and ground zero of the customer experience when comes to human interaction.
Winning companies will recognize that employees are an essential source of insight for improving the in-person customer experience. In addition, the more engaged the employee, the more loyal the customer. Because the employee will become so crucial to the customer experience, we’re also predicting a rise in the appointment of Chief Customer Experience
Officers to oversee the customer journey.
In 2018, winning companies will activate every employee as their number one asset for customer loyalty.
No longer will associates be viewed as employees of the company. They’ll be advocates of the customer.
Medallia’s 2018 CX Predictions
Hear John Abraham, General Manager of Medallia Institute, share real customer stories and industry trends that serve as the foundation for this year’s CX predictions.