Predicting trends for the year ahead
Placing customers at the heart of business is nothing new – happy customers tend to be loyal, and with each passing year, we’re seeing more and more companies recognise the value of delivering a great customer experience (CX). The most successful CX strategies strive to achieve greater levels of engagement and loyalty by balancing quality data and insights with a clear vision, the right people and technology all designed to meet – and anticipate – customer’s needs.
This upward trend in developing CX is set to continue in 2024, supported by advancements in data and technology. This article looks at some of these emerging trends and developments, and explores how they are helping businesses to truly put their customers first.
Hyper-personalisation stands at the forefront of the trends for the coming year, representing a new level of customised marketing. When done right, it is not merely about addressing a customer by name, but about curating an experience so bespoke to the individual that it feels like it is exclusively designed for them.
This highly personalised approach is driven by the strategic application of customer data. It analyses past transactions, trends, and behaviours to identify preferences and anticipate future needs, offering customers well-timed and uniquely tailored products, services, recommendations and communications as a result.
The challenge for businesses will be to balance this customisation with increasing concerns over data privacy, ensuring trust and transparency are not compromised in pursuit of personalisation.
The rise of voice interaction
Voice interaction is already transforming customer engagement, with some businesses adopting interfaces like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant to provide customers with instant answers to common questions. In the coming year, I believe we’ll see voice commands becoming a primary mode of interaction between businesses and their customers.
To get it right, companies will need to invest in optimising their content and services for voice search and commands. They will need to review their customer service strategies, ensuring that voice-based self-service enhances their CX, rather than hinders it. This means the experience needs to avoid the hiccups and frustrations associated with voice-based technology of the not-so-distant past (no matter how humorous) and provide as friendly, efficient and effective service as their other communication channels.
Virtual and augmented reality
Whether customers are buying eyeglasses, furniture or white goods, the integration of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) into customer experience is set to continue creating immersive brand interactions. In 2024, we will see more consumers using the technology to visualise products in their own space or try them virtually, offering a unique and engaging pre-purchase experience.
Building creative and compelling AR content will help businesses to stand out, engage with customers and build loyalty. By creating memorable and entertaining experiences, brands can enhance the buying experience, educate consumers and encourage customers to share their views – and their content.
AI and Machine Learning
AI and ML are revolutionising customer service by powering chatbots and automated messaging systems capable of handling inquiries and providing round-the-clock support. Combined with customer data platforms (CDPs), these technologies are also helping to drive increasingly personalised customer journeys, underpinning hyper-personalisation.
2024 will see marketing technology solutions further develop their AI and ML offerings, further enhancing customer service. We will also see the technology helping to create smoother customer journeys by tackling issues like abandoned carts and baskets by using collective data to learn, predict and tailor the best timing, content and frequency of communications to encourage customers to return to sites and complete their orders.
Each of these emerging technology trends has a role to play in CX and creating seamless journeys across all channels and touchpoints where businesses and customers interact. It is important to note, however, relevancy goes hand-in-hand with personalisation.
Before you invest in the shiniest new technology, be sure you think about how it will help your customers interact and build relationships with your business and vice versa. There is not a one size fits all approach. Technology will continue to be an essential element in delivering great CX, but needs to be combined with the right vision, strategy, people, processes and (yes) data insights to ensure it serves your customers.
If you wish to discuss your CX strategy, please contact us.