We’ve seen a shift in companies making a bigger emphasis in creating exceptional customer experiences, let’s look at 12 customer experience trends for 2012, the year of customer experience. We’ve recently seen more and more evidence of the shift in power from companies to customers. Companies will have to adapt to the ways customers want to engage with them in the overall experience with the company.

12 Customer Service Trends for 2012

Organizations in all fields should see themselves as EXPERIENCE companies that provide a product. Or customer experience companies that sell merchandize. Zappos, is one of those organizations leading the way. They set the tone for their entire company mission by making their stand on customer experience. There are certain customer experience trends that have brought a lot of success recently which experts see as becoming more mainstream in the years to come. I think that 2012 will be one of those transformational years as most organization reach out to customers, focus on the customer experience, and engage the customer online and on a personal level.

Regardless of our structure, our goal is to position Zappos.com as the online service experience leader.

If we can get customers to associate the Zappos.com brand with the absolute best customer service experience, then we can expand into other product categories beyond shoes. And, we’re doing just that.

It’s customers who grow companies. Not shareholders.

The stock market over the years of 2000-2010 demonstrates how effective business has been done without great customer experience focus. This is a sample of a company’s stock value over the last decade. It’s a snapshot of the stock value of many companies.

Customers Grow Companies

The old method of doing business is dead. Long live the customer.

Customer is King

I see 12 customer experience trends for 2012 that will continue to contribute to this customer-is-king phenomenon in business as more customer-centric organizations continue to outperform those that remain committed to the “our way or the highway” business mentality. Social media, online communities, on-demand cloud computing services all contribute to a new model of customer experience where the customer is in control of the overall experience.

Rob Findlay, with TheBankChannel.com suggested that “the Customer is King” can be also said as “the Community is in Charge”. It’s customers who lead business to what is right, to what is fair. It’s customers who determine the right direction of products and services. Why? Because in the end it’s not the CEO or the shareholders that are buying the service or product. It’s not the CEO or the shareholders who buy from the company, it’s the customer. Success in 2012 and beyond, will require the fundamental change in the way business is done.

From matching customers to products, we need to match products to customers.

-Seth Godin

1. Customer is King in the Customer Experience

2. Hyper Responsive Customer Service

3. Customer Experts as Part of the Community

4. An Answering Machine is NOT 24/7

5. Flexible & Generous Return & Exchange Policies

6. Empowered Customer Service Experience Creating Teams

7. Bigger and Better Word of Mouth Promotions

8. More Emphasis on Community Reviews

9. Company-wide Customer Experience Focus

10. Personal Touch Service

11. Purchasing Products or Services Seen as a Journey

12. Do Good, Be GREAT.

The key trends in customer experience in 2012 can be summarized in 3 words: Instant. WOW. Value.

Read more: