In recent years, after the first quarter, I try my hardest to publish the top trends of the current year. One of those trends I’d like to focus on here and now is how having a strong CX (Customer Experience) philosophy is vital, critical to achieving growth. For both Brick and Mortar and Online.

The following are trends that should be of interest to businesses who aim to listen to the Voice of the Customer (VOC); the goal being to implement the technology needed to respond to that voice, boosting the customer experience, and the bottom line.

If you’ve only been talking about CX, Here are 6 2018 Trends that will inspire you to take action:

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts”
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

1. CEOs Will Drive the Customer Experience
According to Gartner Research, in 2018 Business’ Customer Experience (CX) will be a top priority. It starts with the CEO, who will have a hand in crafting and driving the Customer Experience strategy. They will be addressing the latest technology, the changing needs of the consumer, and will focus on the most vital elements of customer data in shaping and ensuring that the CX strategy packs as powerful and efficient a punch as possible in today’s dynamic and competitive business landscape.

The proactive strategy the CEO commands will set the CX tone and direction across the company. Everything from how the business services their customers to how they are treated will all come from the upper echelons of the company. Priorities and focus will increasingly be set by the CEO. CEOs that take the lead with a gung-ho attitude in customer experience will accelerate growth.

2. Keeping your Business’ Finger on the CX Pulse in Real Time
By having the technology that delivers insights in real time, businesses will be empowered to monitor and manage customer feedback at every step of their journey.

This will ensure that businesses provide consistent messaging and provide the most paramount performance during the customer journey, wherever they may be in the funnel. Real-time VOC insights will allow businesses to deliver the ultimate customer experience, whether they have 50, 500, or 5000 employees.

“By allowing ongoing feedback from your customers to the organization, you are continuously innovating and making sure that you are delivering value on an ongoing basis.”
– Borge Hald- CEO, Medallia

3. Higher Engagement and Investment in Employees
Let’s be honest. The customer journey starts and typically ends with a business’ employees. Due to technology innovations that span the entire customer journey, companies that are doing it right, deliver and reap the rewards by providing a frictionless CX. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. When employees are motivated and engaged, customer experiences are escalated.

A Gallup study concluded that the 25% of those businesses that engage and invest in their employees, realize customer satisfaction ratings that go above and beyond those than at companies where employees are less engaged. 10 Percent higher to be exact.

Going further, businesses realizing 17% higher productivity, 20% higher sales, and 21% higher profitability are just a few of the positive metrics that result from an increase in employee engagement levels.

In retrospect, only one-third of US employees feel they are engaged in their jobs, and according to the Gallup study, that figure skyrockets to 70% at the upper crust of US companies.

4. Customer Service Will Become More Personalized
Let’s face it, people typically don’t like dealing with customer service. The hold times, the generic questions (and answers) given by the Customer Support Representative (CSR) are enough to turn off most customers. By personalizing the customer service experience, businesses can drastically improve on how they are seen in the customer’s eyes.

It’s a fact that most companies do not prioritize providing a pleasant customer service experience. Customer Service centers are vital points of engagement between a business and their customers. Think of it as the front line, listening to the voice of the customer and responding on a more personalized level when handling customer issues.

A solid, integrated contact center solution is vital to monitor the voice of your customers, gain an understanding of their needs and provide you with the insights required to improve customer satisfaction and ultimately improve the customer experience.

Find out more how you can empower your customer service agents and allows you to turn every call into an opportunity.

5. Machine and Human Learning Will Intersect
By combining human and machine learning, businesses will be enabled to uncover the most valuable CX insights, stimulate ideas and innovate at a quicker pace. For example, by using text analytics, companies can dig deep into comments via customer feedback tools.

This will empower businesses to identify problems and questions that are tied to both strong and weak performance. Businesses can couple that with crowdsourced wisdom by giving their frontline teams the ability to tag and elevate their ideas, thereby closing the loop.

6. Advanced Behavioral Analytics Will Take Companies Beyond Google Analytics
Companies who are serious about understanding the customer and identifying any usability hiccups on their journey will start getting serious about using a solution that allows them to do just that. Google Analytics is great for capturing moments in time. It misses capturing the entire time-segmented user journey.

Learn more about how Advanced Analytics can get you the answers that Google Analytics can’t in this post.

(Infographic Source: CRMAA)

Now, ask yourself: Is your business one of those four unfilled stars? Why is it? Why not? What are you doing to maximize the customer experience? Now take these ideas, apply them if you haven’t already, and share this post.

I’d love to hear your comments in the section below.