Content brought to you by: IE School of Human Sciences & Technology
How can brands break through the noise and create urgency that makes consumers take action?
It’s no surprise that Forbes named customer experience one of the top digital transformation trends in 2017, considering the massive advances in the industry. But whereas customer experience used to be as simple as smiling at shoppers as they entered a store, companies now need to consider many more of their customers’ needs to meet modern expectations.
Here are our top five predictions for customer experience trends in 2017.
1. Big Data will help companies understand people better.
As your teachers may have emphatically pointed out to you, there’s a reason we have two ears and one mouth.
Luis Zunzunegui, who teaches in the Master in Customer Experience and Innovation at IE School of Human Sciences and Technology, knows the importance of understanding one’s customers all too well. The customer experience expert lauds companies like Amazon for using the vast amounts of data at their disposal to offer customers exactly what they want, often before they even know they want it.
“They gather so much information about their users, they know you better than your own mother," Zunzunegui says. “It’s not just about a lot of smart people in a room coming up with ideas, you first have to understand what people need.”
With cloud computing solutions making it more affordable than ever for companies to process huge amounts of data about their customers, we can expect even more personalized customer experiences in the near future.
2. Brand loyalty won’t be what it used to be.
Last year proved a turbulent one for some of the world’s top brands. The seemingly unstoppable Apple’s launch of the new iPhone 7 was widely mocked for actually making the device less useful for consumers after it removed the headphone jack. Luckily for Apple, its fiercest competitor Samsung also landed in hot water when it essentially weaponized its latest handset.
But where a brand loyalist might have shrugged off such mishaps in the past, according to Zunzunegui, today’s consumer has no problem jumping ship.
“Access to different brands is much cheaper than it used to be. So companies like Apple struggle when their brand ceases to mean the same to people as it did some years ago.”
With the rise of social media, companies must be extra careful to manage crises and keep customer experience at the forefront of their communication strategy.
3. CX designers will employ growth hacking tactics.
Whether you think it’s a glorified buzzword or one of the hottest marketing positions right now, it’s certainly worth considering how the principles of growth hacking can be applied to customer experience.
“Those designing customer experience need to have a strategic approach to it, and the concept of growth hacking for CX designers is a great way to reach more people,” says the professor.
Take Twitter, for example. The social media giant spent a great deal of expense learning how new users behave on the site and used that data to design a new onboarding system to get users hooked, dramatically growing their business.
“This doesn’t just apply to the digital landscape,” adds Zunzunegui. “It’s about designing any customer experience to get more data from the user and learning how to add value.”
4. People will talk directly to products and services.
Chatbots are advancing the way online retailers and services communicate with users. They are always learning how to convey the brand’s message more effectively and communicate with users better. It’s what excites Zunzunegui the most about the future of customer experience.
“Artificial intelligence is going to change so many things. When you can have a conversation with a product that can give you a response and learn about you in order to evolve, that’s a game changer.”
But another challenge is mastering the human element. While machines aren’t great at empathy, they are are being programmed to use methods like the laddering technique, stepping up a line of questioning to get answers that people wouldn’t normally give freely if asked directly.
“Google holds a lot of our data and it’s also showing an element of empathy in knowing what we need,” he adds. “People will start to speak more freely for the sake of convenience.”
5. Privacy fears over data sharing will be assuaged.
Remember when Microsoft announced the Xbox One would be “always-on” and listening to everything you say in order to offer a better customer experience? It terrified consumers so much the company was forced to backpedal and play down the feature.
But while this was a bit too much too soon back in 2013, Amazon has essentially been able to repackage the same “scary” idea into Alexa, offering a cheap set of always-on microphones for every room. So what changed?
“People say they will never feel comfortable living in a house that knows how they feel and what they need,” says Zunzunegui. “But the moment they see how useful a new technology is for them, they embrace it pretty quickly.”
In the not-too-distant future, pretty much everything you interact with will double as an interface to help you navigate life’s problems, from your car to your coffee cup.
“The key is going to be a combination of the Internet of Things, Big Data and artificial intelligence. It’s here and it’s here to stay,” insists Zunzunegui.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Despite advances in technology, customer experience still comes down to one simple question: what do people want? We might have new tools, but the basic principles of achieving good quality customer experiences haven’t really changed.
Zunzunegu says, “It’s a deep process and methodology, going into why people do the things they do and what goes through their heads when they do it."
Luis Zunzunegui is a founding faculty member of the Master in Customer Experience & Innovation at IE School of Human Sciences & Technology. The program trains students to conceive, develop and implement innovative products, services and experiences with a human-centered, design-thinking focus at each step of the journey.
Recommended For You: