Predictions: 10 Customer experience trends for 2020

CMO asks the experts about the customer experience trends heading towards marketers in 2020

6. Consumer participation

Alongside this, Deloitte has found nearly 75 per cent of consumers expect two-way relationships with organisations they do business with, making it a priority for brands in 2020.

“Increased customer interaction can build competitive advantage and develop a stronger relationship with the brand. Technology provides new opportunities for consumers, citizens and communities to engage directly in shaping, influencing, building and co-creating the overall brand,” the firm stated. 

Forrester also saw consumers evolving from recipients of a brand experience to participants in it. 

“Forward-looking CMOs will recognise customers don’t merely want to be served but want to be part of the service; consumers will view brands as vehicles to participate in a larger cause,” the analyst firm said. 

7. Tackling trust

Trust is even more vital as brand move into a consumer-led competitive landscape, and is another many see as key to customer experience success in 2020.

“Customers, regulators, and the media expect brands to be open, honest, and consistent across all aspects of their -from products and promotions to workforce culture and partner relationships. In an era of connected technology and big data analytics, companies should create a structure that systematically builds trust by protecting what stakeholders value most, customer data and privacy,” Deloitte said.

8. Curating on the buyer's terms

As Tealium chief marketing officer, Heidi Bullock, points out, CX has been tricky to execute because marketers have been overwhelmed by the proliferation of channels and technology, plus mountains of data.

“In 2020, marketers will continue to strive towards the goal of a meaningful experience for buyers. A great experience is more than just a great product – it is how customers are communicated with and how the company engages them," she commented. 

“Personalisation alone won’t cut it, rather, it is curating the right experience for the buyer on their terms. Companies that can execute on that vision will outperform their peers. To support that and deliver the right types of experiences, organisations are looking to customer data platforms [CDPs] to help with this challenge,” she said.

2020 is an opportunity for businesses to deliver broader, more personalised, customer experiences through digital transformation than ever before, said Commvault APAC senior director of WW Alliances, Craig Bastow.

“For CMOs and marketers, the increasing amount of information available from back-office operational processes must be used for optimisation of front-office modernisation and direct customer experience generation," he said. 

“Marketers will need to design a different digital journey for users, mapping the multiple – often previously disparate – data points available from different elements of historic customer engagement, to meet the expectations of front-office modernisation. Technologies and data analytics are keys to this shift, providing more useful and greater personalised interactions and insights.”   

9. Embracing AI to better harness data

And it's artificial intelligence (AI) that's going to drive this innovation. MaritzCX APAC managing director, David Blakers, expected brands to deepen their use of AI and machine learning technologies as the customer experience market evolves from measurement to action, and from predictive to prescriptive.

“It will be more AI solutions like natural language processing [NLP], text analytics and computer vision to help brands easily access data sources, unlock insights and trigger faster actions to improve loyalty and drive business growth," he said. 

F5 Networks A/NZ head of marketing, Jade Meara, said AI-powered solutions will be a crucial part of the ‘intelligent’ marketing stack.

“We will continue to see marketing programs become more data-driven than ever before in 2020," she commented. "While it’s important for marketers to secure adequate budgets and execute to plan quarter-on-quarter, it’s more important to be aligned to business strategy and customer experience by using the right tools to drive ‘intelligent engagement’; that is, targeting the correct personas with the most relevant message at the most opportune time.

“The key to a successful marketing campaign in 2020 is ensuring greater customer engagement and an overall seamless experience backed by data.”

EZ Texting CMO, Matt Reid, highlighted text to landline as a newer offering in the text marketing space.

“In 2020, AI is going to help these businesses automatically respond on behalf of a business to routine questions such as store hours, any ongoing promotions, and so on. This technology is better than a chatbot since it meets you where you are, on your phone, giving you all the answers you want and need," he claimed. 

Datorama CMO and head of marketing cloud at Salesforce, Leah Pope, said we've seen the pendulum swing back and forth between short-term, hyper optimisation and long-term brand building.

“Customer experience and fostering one-to-one engagement is the key to telling the holistic story of a brand and ensuring that it resonates," she said. "At the same time, marketers have more data than ever before available to them to inform their decision making process. In order to succeed, marketers need to achieve a holistic view of what’s happening with their data across ecommerce, social, programmatic, and more to make smarter, data-driven decisions to achieve a balance between growth and brand building at scale.”

10. Simplicity and relevance 

Because what's become evident is consumers will actively discard messaging that is complicated or not relevant to them. Now more than ever, it’s right time, right place, right consumer that marketers must drive towards.

RelationEdge country manager A/NZ, Paul Milinkovic, said relevance to the customer through the engagement process will continue to drive brand loyalty in 2020.

“If marketers successfully engage with their prospects and customers through relevant, personalised material, those prospects will convert to customers more quickly and will become brand loyal in the process which is every marketer’s dream," he said. 

Orchard director of product and experience design, Kim Verbrugghe, said CX will become increasingly more important.

“CX agencies who have been ‘winging’ it, will need to go back to basics when they realise that not all increases in customer satisfaction result in ROI. Though maybe they’ll get away with it for now, a stronger scrutiny on ROI forecasting will need to happen if we want CX to stay the golden child for a while longer.

“We’ll see CX being injected into brand and product more and more, even across other naturally confusing industries like insurance, striving for simplicity above everything else. And that’s how brands will win the battle for attention.” 

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