As businesses look ahead to 2023, there are many ways for companies to differentiate themselves from competitors when it comes to how they delight their customers, leverage data, and create personalized experiences for customers. With the emergence of new technologies and processes, it’s vital to remain alert to the latest trends to keep up with your competition and continue to delight your customers.
As the globe shifts into a new year – and a potential global recession at stake – consumer spending and behavior patterns are expected to change yet again. While the movement toward consumer empowerment continues – what can we expect within customer service and CX in 2023?
1. Customers will be smarter and more demanding than ever
Customers are getting the type of experience they want from certain companies and brands, and then they expect it from just about anyone they do business with. Certain brands with superior CX are teaching customers what good service is like, and it’s become the expectation (and hope) of every customer that they will get a similar experience from any type of business.
From the rise in customer-centric rhetoric found within advertising campaigns to full-on teams embedded within social networks, we’ll see more companies prioritizing their efforts through customer service to become the brand’s face.
2. Maintaining an omnichannel approach
Providing support to your customers across several channels is vital in modern CX — and that will be no different in 2023.
Customers want brands to communicate with them where they are. That means keeping on top of the numerous conversational channels your customers use every day, from WhatsApp, to Google’s Business Messages to Instagram Direct Messages to Facebook Messenger and everything in between. Many people prefer to use different devices and channels depending on their location or the time of day. Being available across a wide variety of channels makes it easier for you to connect meaningfully with your customers and to ensure you engage with them when they need you most.
3. Personalization is the key to customer service success
Up until recently, personalization had been used just to segment customers into several personas. Today, customers are experiencing hyper-personalization, treating them as individuals versus part of a larger group in a company’s database. In fact, this pivot is more towards individualism.
What does this mean for consumers? We can expect to see more customized experiences, from highly personalized customer service responses to customized care plans – which could even include remote monitoring of health conditions.
4. The rise of ‘Total Experience’
Moving into a new era of customer experience requires companies to think beyond the “CX” strategy – factors contributing to the success of a company and its relationship with its customers. For example, employee experience or employee engagement has a direct impact on how satisfied your customers will be.
Gartner predicts that the new focus for businesses in the future will be on “TX” or “Total Experience,” meaning that every part of the experience journey will be considered holistically. Business leaders will need to consider how various factors such as business, user, and employee experience affect the end result for the customer.
In the future, more companies are likely to invest in innovative tools to support and engage their employees. This will be especially important in the new age of hybrid and remote work, where employees are distributed across the globe.
5. The adoption of customer-controlled self service
Since the advent of smart tech, the ambition for interoperability between devices has been a major talking point for vendors and customers. Gartner predicts that ‘by 2030, a billion service tickets will be raised automatically by customer-owned bots’, the future of self-service is set to be customer-controlled and automated. With smart devices interacting with one another to arrange deliveries or service calls to consumers and the customer firmly in control, automation will work to deliver on their expectations with both business and customer-controlled ‘bots focused purely on customer experience.
In the shorter term, businesses need to ensure customer service teams are more accessible to consumers; and brands will need to ensure they give consumers more entry points to customer service teams.
At the same time, it’ll be important to use proactive monitoring tools and real-time insights to help companies respond to issues as they arise.
6. Proactive and predictive care is the new CX
Today’s customers don’t just want quick solutions to their problems, they want companies to actively predict what’ll happen and protect them from problems. According to Gartner, by 2025, proactive customer outreach and service solutions will surpass reactive strategies.
Companies must take full advantage of AI and analytics to ensure they’re prepared for this shift to a proactive and predictive mindset. Historical customer data collection tools can facilitate the identification of trends that can help companies predict when potential issues or spikes in demand may arise for their business. At the same time, it’ll be important to use proactive monitoring tools and real-time insights to help companies respond to issues as they arise.
7. Improving employee experience (EX) for improved CX
According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, those businesses with the happiest workers also tend to have the most satisfied clients. That’s why, in the coming years, it will be necessary for businesses to prioritize giving their workers a positive and stimulating experience while also considering their mental and physical health and safety. Improved morale in the workplace will translate into higher-quality output and customer service.
Businesses also need to keep in mind that in today’s information age driven by social media, their employees aren’t just people they have a transactional contract with. They are real individuals with emotions who have access to all the broadcasting tools to spread the word. The nature of the publicity will be decided by how an organization treats its employees. They can be a major brand ambassador type of asset for any smart business.
8. Customer service leaders expect most gains from data and analytics
Over the next few years, the focus will not only be on analyzing customer data using digital analytics, sentiment analysis, and machine learning, but also taking that data to make informed decisions using the actionable insights.
The success of your business is determined by the experience of your end-users. User experience matters a lot if you want your business to grow – and data and analytics will help you learn the best way to do this.
Customer experience trends are constantly evolving as your audience’s expectations change. Now more than ever, customers have varying levels of trust when it comes to interacting with businesses. To feel confident in their interactions and transactions, they need to ensure that the companies they work with are willing to put CX and service first.
Developing a strong customer experience strategy in 2023 will require companies to have their finger on the pulse of customer expectations while taking advantage of emerging technology opportunities.