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Nine CX Trends to Watch
The roles of purpose and emotion join some usual suspects (mobile and self-service).
For the rest of the May 2017 issue of CRM magazine please click here

As technology evolves and we learn more about what motivates human behavior, the field of customer experience (CX) will need to be continually updated. What has worked in the past might not be effective in the future. Here are the nine CX trends that Temkin Group thinks you should factor into your CX efforts:

Elevating purpose. Leaders are beginning to recognize the role that purpose plays in motivating employees. An inspiring mission can be more of a draw for new employees than great pay or a great boss. At the same time, the uncertainty around the world creates a desire for people to find purpose and meaning in their lives. For these reasons, we’ve labeled 2017 “The Year of Purpose.”

Operationalizing emotion. For Temkin Group, 2016 was the “Year of Emotion,” as we highlighted the critical yet underserved area of customer emotions. Many companies have started to recognize the importance of emotion (it drives loyalty more than any other area of customer experience), with the help of many vendors that are working to demystify this key area. We expect to see even more organizations focus on customer emotion; a good way to start is by making emotions part of your ongoing vocabulary.

Orienting around customer journeys. Companies continue to develop a more customer-oriented viewpoint, and to help them embed thinking about customer journeys into day-to-day decisions, we’ve created Customer Journey Thinking, a five-question approach toward every customer interaction: (1) who is the customer; (2) what is the customer’s real goal; (3) what did the customer do right before the interaction; (4) what will the customer do right after the interaction; and (5) what will make the customer happy. More companies will continue to realign their metrics, analytics, experience design, and innovation around customer journeys.

Continuing to go mobile. Mobile is an increasingly dominant interaction channel, accessible through increasingly varied types of devices, and more companies will shift to a mobile-first strategy. This isn’t just about interaction design; it’s about rethinking your products and processes to fully embrace an always-connected customer.

Embracing employee engagement. Employee engagement (EE) has been one of Temkin Group’s Four CX Core Competencies; while EE has always been critical to how we view customer experience, companies are finally starting to recognize that it’s a critical (yet often limiting) factor to their CX efforts. Our research has found that engaged employees are more likely to work harder, stay longer at work if needed, make recommendations for improvement, and recommend their company to friends and relatives. Expect to see a jump in EE activities; we hope to see CX and HR groups finally collaborating on engaging employees.

Federating CX efforts. Companies often find they need to distribute CX efforts across the organization. The shift to a federation is a common path for all types of successful transformations. Changing an organization requires a concerted effort to define the desired end state and to align the resources and commitment; this requires a centralized model. But embedding behaviors in an organization requires distributed capabilities and beliefs, which need to be dispersed and cultivated; this requires a federated model.

Predicting through behaviors. With the rise of digital and mobile interactions, companies have more data about what their customers are doing. This behavioral data can both provide rich insights into what drives customers and fuel strong predictive models. We’ll see an increase in the collecting of behavioral data to predict customer attitudes and future activities.

Tapping into speech recognition. Text analytics tools have become a staple of customer insight tool kits. Companies are setting their sights on the next wave of unstructured data—customer calls. At the same time, we’re seeing a rise in voice interfaces, from Comcast’s XFINITY remote control to Amazon’s Echo. Companies will increasingly use speech recognition for insights and interfaces.

Smartening self-service. Our research shows that people prefer to handle of lot of their interactions using self-service. While companies have been enabling these capabilities for years, the technology is getting better at anticipating and customizing these interactions. More companies will incorporate technologies such as virtual agents and interactive guides to enable even smarter self-service.


Bruce Temkin is customer experience transformist and managing partner of Temkin Group, a research and consultancy firm focused on enterprise-wide customer experience transformation. He is also the chair and cofounder of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org) and author of the blog Customer Experience Matters (experiencematters.wordpress.com).

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