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5 CX Trends Any Organization Can Implement Now

By Megan Wells

Customer expectations are evolving constantly, so it shouldn’t surprise you to see brand customer experiences (CX) follow suit. Current trends in the CX realm range from AI-enabled recommendation engines to completely connected smart stores, but the real key to CX success lies in understanding your unique customers’ needs and the journey that they take with your brand. From there, choosing how and when--or if--to follow the latest CX trends becomes less about keeping pace with the market, and more about your brand’s authentic style.


Here are some of the biggest trends we’re seeing in CX right now--it’s up to you to decide what fits your brand and your customers.


Key Trends in Customer Experience in 2021

CX Trend 1: Double down on AI-based self-service

According to a 2020-21 Customer Engagement Transformation research study from Metrigy, of the 700 organizations surveyed, 32.8% had already implemented an AI-enabled self-service tool by the end of 2020. 


Empowering people to answer their own questions - whether via a knowledge base or with the help of AI-powered chatbots - will be key to the future of customer satisfaction. Powering self-service customer support with artificial intelligence helps your business deliver an even better experience while saving time. If you’re not yet convinced, consider these other benefits:


  • Customers get what they want ASAP: The time required to walk an agent through an issue isn’t worth the trouble when someone’s perfectly capable of solving it on their own. Make it easy for them to do so, and they will appreciate your brand even more.
  • Cut costs while increasing agent efficiency: The end goal is a happy customer, whether they find the answer on their own or need help from a customer service agent. Self-service tools like chatbots and personalized knowledge bases give you a window into where customers get stuck, and can save valuable time and energy on agent calls.
  • Generate additional revenue: The information gathered by a self-service tool can be used to further personalize recommendations and offer suggestions in the future, opening up additional revenue opportunities.


That’s not just theory--companies who implemented AI-based self-service tools saw a 7.9% decrease in operational costs, a 37.9% improvement in customer ratings, and a 33.1% boost in agent efficiency. 


Now’s the time to get on board the AI train - an additional 34.3% of organizations surveyed in the report were planning to incorporate AI into their CX strategy this year.

CX Trend 2: Hyper-personalization

In a hyper-connected world, making use of the data constantly generated by customers will grow in unique ways in the coming years. Already, Forrester reports that 89% of digital businesses are investing in personalization.


There are countless stats that show the value - and potential pitfalls - of personalization efforts. A few that stand out:


  • 75% of consumers are more likely to purchase from companies that know their names and recommend products based on their purchase history (Accenture)
  • 67% of consumers say it’s important for brands to automatically adjust their content based on a person’s current context for a real-time personalized experience (Adobe)
  • Marketers report that personalization efforts can boost revenues by up to 15% (Adweek)


While brands have much to gain by investing in personalized marketing, there’s a lot at stake if things go wrong. For example, 63% of consumers will stop buying from brands that use poor personalization tactics.


The focus on data privacy and security can be cause for hesitation among brands to get personalization right, but don’t let the fear of using customer data hold you back from giving your experience a personal touch. It can be as simple as welcoming customers by name on your website or app, and offering similar items purchased by users with the same purchase history. 


You can take personalization a step further by actioning offers to prospects based on their buyer’s journey stage, their user status, or even the time of day they tend to browse your site. Check out other ways to segment customer behavior that can help fuel your personalization brainstorm.

CX Trend #3: Focus on the mobile experience

We’ve been hearing about mobile-first design for years, but mobile-friendly website design is just the beginning. 59% of shoppers surveyed say that being able to shop on mobile is important when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from. 


The dream to offer real-time, contextual experiences on mobile has yet to be realized by all but a few digital leaders. For now, brands that make their mobile experience as frictionless as possible stand to make much happier customers.


For those that may want to explore further mobile benefits, why not:


  • Develop a premium app for brand enthusiasts. Sephora’s unique mobile app is tailored for members and offers unique services they wouldn't otherwise get in-store.
  • Encourage new data collection streams with your mobile loyalists, incentivizing them to offer information that can help your personalization efforts. 
  • Use your intelligence platform to marry 1st party data gathered from mobile users (location, preferences) with other channels to see where experiences can be enhanced in the real and digital worlds.

CX Trend #4: Give data control to consumers

It’s coming: no use trying to stop the impending “cookieless future.” Brands can prepare for this inevitability by shoring up their first-party data strategy and finding ways to hand back data control to consumers. Brands fear that no one will allow their data to be used for marketing or targeting purposes. However, we have reason to believe those fears are unfounded. 


For example, one survey found that 90% of consumers are willing to share personal behavioral data with companies for a cheaper and easier experience. Accenture also found this to be true, citing that 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to create a more personalized experience.


Brands can begin to build trust with customers and prospects now by outlining a clear strategy and message for how their data will be used. More likely than not, you’ll find your openness is rewarded.

CX Trend #5: Real-time, Customer Intelligence

Customer intelligence (CI) brings historical and real-time data together to automate business processes based on integrated, evolving insight. This evolution of traditional business intelligence offers 360-degree insight into how customers behave across silos, allowing brands to quickly change with the market and understand customers better than ever before.


451 Research notes, however, that over half of organizations have more than 7 silos of customer data they need to bridge in order to arrive at a more holistic view of their customer. Bridging that gap will be essential, as Sheryl Kingstone argues, that with the changes in identity management, “real-time contextual matching of structured and unstructured first-party, second-party and third-party data to create a unified customer profile is now a requirement.”


In order to find the best customer intelligence tool, look for:


  • The ability to analyze structured and unstructured data with a limited ETL process
  • True self-service - every department should be able to access the same insight without a data science degree
  • Scale and velocity of data ingestion to enable true real-time analysis
  • Transparent architecture so that you know where your data is going and how you can account for strict security measures

In Closing

Rather than simply following the trends, a strong CX strategy is built on knowing and understanding your unique customers’ needs and the journey that they take with you. From there, choosing if, how, and when to follow the zeitgeist becomes less about keeping pace with the market, and more about creating an experience that’s both memorable for your customers and authentic to your brand.


The rise of next-generation behavioral analytics tools gives brands a bird’s eye view of their customer base, and with the help of customer intelligence, you can work to automate some of the new contextual experiences outlined above.


If you’re ready to start using behavioral analytics to augment your CX strategy, check out what Scuba can do for you here.


See How Others Use Scuba Analytics 


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