The Future Of Customer Experience: 10 Predictions For 2016 And Beyond

What’s ahead for the almighty CX? turned to our resident expert, “Get Customer-Centric” blogger Michael Hinshaw, for what marketers need to know in a world where it continues to get easier for customers to vote for or against an organization with their feet, thumbs, and mice.

The Future Of Customer Experience: 10 Predictions For 2016 And Beyond

It’s always interesting to hear predictions and trends for the coming year. For 2016, I’ve elected to share my views on the (fast-approaching) future of customer experience through the lens of other experts as well.

As usual, this list isn’t comprehensive. Given the speed and pace of change in all things customer experience-related, it can’t be. It’s even hard to effectively define what customer experience is when viewed through the eyes of the ecosystem involved with delivering it.

From the customer perspective, however, it remains clear: Customer experience is the sum total of how customers feel as they engage with your company and brand over time, as a result of how well your interactions with them meet their expectations and fulfill their wants and needs.

In other words, if your customers like you and enjoy doing business with you, they’ll continue to do so. If they don’t, they won’t. And it continues to get easier for customers to vote against those they don’t enjoy with their feet, thumbs, and mice.

Which makes it even more important that you take note of the predictions and trends I’ve shared below:

1. If customer experience isn’t your priority, you’ll lose: As commoditization across industries becomes even more prevalent, the importance of differentiated customer experiences continues to increase—as evidenced by the fact that 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of CX in 2016, versus 36% just five years ago. (Gartner)

2. If your customers don’t like the experience they have with you, they’ll leave: There are many studies supporting the notion that 80% to 90% of customers that have a bad experience will leave, with little chance of returning. You don’t need research to understand the logic of this. (But in case you do: SDL, Qmatic, Forrester.)

3. Personalization and customization are CX table stakes: Offering an integrated, personalized customer experience across digital and analog channels is key to both understanding and meeting customers’ preferences. What’s more, customers expect it. (Accenture)

4. Customer self service continues to be critical to a good experience: According to one study, nearly a third of consumers would rather clean a toilet than talk to customer service. What else can I possibly say to that? (Aspect)

5. Engaged customers are valuable customers: Yes, engagement is hard to measure and difficult to create. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. Engaged customers buy 50% more frequently, spend 200% more each year, and are five times more likely to indicate a brand is the only one they would purchase in the future. (Rosetta)

6. Millennials will matter more than ever: Now some 25% of the U.S. population and commanding ever greater purchase power, this highly influential cohort is influencing the buying decisions and customer experience expectations of everyone. And they’re less different than you might expect. (MeNG)

7. Customer experience is mobile: As important as “omnichannel” experiences are, they’re increasingly driven by one channel over others. And that channel is mobile. This means anytime, anywhere access for anyone–even if there’s a PC on the desk in from of them. (KPCB)

8. Your technology needs to work–seamlessly and flawlessly: Amazon, Google, and others have radically reshaped what customers expect from your tech. Not surprisingly, 93% of business leaders worldwide said technology had changed customer expectations in the past five to 10 years. (EMC)

9. Non-human digital assistants (artificial intelligence) will increase: Bringing many of the above trends together, they’re getting better every day. Providing seamless two-way engagement with customers that mimic human conversations via text or phone, listening and speaking, across multiple occasions and places over time isn’t just sci-fi. It’s becoming reality. (Gartner)

10. Customer experience leaders focus on employee and workplace experience: The correlation between happier, more productive employees and better customer experience is strong. This is one reason that EX (employee experience) and WX (workplace experience) are among the fastest growing areas of experience design. (Fjord)

See what the Twitterverse is saying about customer experience: