2018 trends and opportunities in the customer experience (CX) space

‘Getting To Iconic’ a report by MIT Technology Review states that Iconic firms are omnichannel leaders. Nearly 90% of these companies felt they were adept at managing customer experience from an omnichannel perspective.

Sanjay Pai Dec 20th 2017

The empowered and informed customers of today seek a seamless, integrated, proactive and personalized engagement experience across all touch points, interactions and devices. To meet these needs and become leaders in our connected and digital world, enterprises should streamline their approach to deliver an exceptional customer experience by leveraging the right technologies and solutions. The omnichannel customer experience (CX) is crucial to driving success in companies across a variety of industries. Adopting omnichannel components are also vital to interact productively with employees; thereby increasing operational performance and business outcomes.

Omnichannel CX methodology is primarily driven by the four P’s—Platforms, Processes, People and Practice. It is only when all these parameters work in tandem that a seamless result can be achieved. In a report published by Forrester, emphasis was laid on proactively interacting with customers through their preferred channels, with relevant and timely responses and quality support at the exact moment of requirement in their journey—as it enhanced satisfaction and helped build brand loyalty and optimized ROI.

Steady Rise of Omnichannel CX
According to Javelin Strategy & Research, income figures among Millennials will outstrip that of previous generations. Therefore, formidable omnichannel customer engagement solutions are a fundamental pre-requisite to meet newer demands in the marketplace. The multi-channel approach that customers have thus far been accustomed to is now witnessing a rapid overhaul, and preference for the more robust omnichannel CX has taken center-stage.

Organizations should extend the power of predictive analytics to offer services tailored to the customer’s profile, historical data of past interactions and transactions, and current situational data; such as geographic location, device, and browser. In the CX era, a seamless experience is delivered by gathering behavioral data and context from all existing engagement channels over the entire customer lifecycle. This data can be applied to derive real time insights for better outcomes and delivering greater value.

This goldmine of information enables the workforce to utilize a single interface for all their requirements. The channel landscape in India is evolving at a steady pace; and we can already witness the government, businesses, and industry making a determined and singular effort to adopt, understand and promote significant digital competencies—with omnichannel CX at the forefront of these initiatives.

‘Getting To Iconic’ a report by MIT Technology Review that analyzed how world-class brands balance talent and technology for CX excellence – based on a global survey of business leaders conducted between May and July 2017– states that Iconic firms are omnichannel leaders. Nearly 90% of respondents from these companies felt they were adept at managing customer experience from an omnichannel perspective—that is, they have the ability to carry each customer’s context seamlessly from one channel to another and personalize the interactions across each, allowing customers to easily find and utilize their preferred channel.

Leveraging the Latest Technology Trends 
Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence, chatbots, micro apps - and more - can help deliver personalized, proactive and predictive experiences across channels. As the presence of the Internet of Things (IoT) – such as connected devices, sensors and smart machines – grows, the ability of things to generate new types of real-time information and to actively participate in an industry’s value stream will also develop. Gartner’s list of top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018 mainly includes Artificial Intelligence, Intelligent Apps and Analytics, Conversational Platforms and Internet of Things.

Analysts estimate that about 40-50 billion devices globally will be connected to the Internet by 2020. The disruptive digital business environment is forecast to touch a whopping $1.9 trillion in value in three years from now. Therefore, IT players must strategize adequately to successfully meet these opportunities and demands, and reimagine the way they do business.

The MIT Technology Review reveals that iconic firms are more likely to deploy Artificial Intelligence solutions to achieve customer experience excellence . In the years ahead, customers, employees and citizens will be increasingly engaged principally through digital means. With operational processes quickly becoming digitalized, traditional analog and manual processes will be automated. Many, if not most, decisions will be algorithmic, based on automated judgment.

However, this will in no way negate the “human element” in delivering the best customer experience, for, the digital technology domain as a whole is poised to open up further to welcome professionals with specialized skill-sets such as: Integration Specialists, Digital Business Architects, Regulatory Analysts, Risk Professionals. MIT Technology Review reveals that iconic firms are more likely to recognize that automated AI tools are most effective when they supplement and extend the capabilities of their customer support team, rather than replace human investment

Way Forward in CX Domain
With better capabilities to send, receive, gather, analyze data and respond to events from any connected device – we can glean a tremendous amount of information; and improve the quality of our lives manifold.

The following technological advances are proof that the connected life is here to stay: Connected vehicles, smarter energy projects, smarter cities, mobile payment systems and applications, and interactive applications that offer location-based services and real-time notifications. The future of omnichannel CX in India will encompass manufacturing, retail, hospitality, E-commerce and the SMB market.

Across the board, enterprises and customers are embracing the omnichannel way of life. And to keep pace, firms should leverage technology, ecosystems, and their own culture to enhance and deepen customer relationships.

The author is Managing Director, Genesys India

Disclaimer: This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the contributing authors and not of IDG Media and its editor(s).