Ten years ago, smartphones were in their infancy. Snapchat, Uber, and Airbnb didn’t exist and private space companies were still the purview of science fiction. Where might we be in another 10? Or how about just five?
The year 2023 (scarily) will be here before we know it. This is also the year that Uber has affixed its flying taxi service launch. So in the spirit of getting ahead of customer expectations, here are four current technological trends that may soon impact the CX mapping at enterprise brands.
1. Social Messaging channels will be customers go-to option for support
The messaging revolution isn’t coming–it’s very much already here. As much as half the world’s population–3.6 billion people–already have at least one messaging app on their smartphone, and they expect to receive support from businesses there.
Thirty-seven percent of consumers have used digital care channels like messaging apps for support, and 100 percent of them expect the experience to be seamless. It’s clear that brands who want to take their customers seriously in 2018 must embrace Social Messaging platforms within their customer support stack.
For big brands, change isn’t always easy, but the switch to Social Messaging already has a lot of momentum. For Conversocial partner Volaris Airlines, who are replacing traditional “Live Chat” with Messenger Customer Chat, the benefits are already beginning to show. With Facebook Messenger now accounting for nearly 59% of Volaris’ total messaging volume, the airline’s case study reveals the numerous efficiency and experiential gains of Social Messaging as a customer care channel:
- Average Handling Time has been reduced by 29%, as agents are able to handle up-to 5 conversations simultaneously on Messenger customer chat compared to 2 conversations via live chat and 1 via phone
- Agent Response Time has been reduced by 43% and First Response Time has been reduced by 78%
- Most impressively, cost per interaction via Messenger is 83% more cost-effective over other channels in the Volaris contact center
In 2023, Social Messaging support on Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, Apple Business Chat and more will be the de facto channel where customers expect assistance.
2. Consumers will expect breezy, cashless transactions
We’re quickly moving toward a post-cash world. A 2017 survey by U.S. Bank found that half of consumers in the U.S. never carry more than $20. Instead, they prefer credit cards and increasingly, alternative payments through smartphone apps and digital wallets like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and PayPal.
Already, alternative payments account for more than half of all global commerce and will grow to 64 percent of all transactions by 2020 according to research firm yStats. By 2023, consumers will look at brands sideways if they demand a cash payment or force buyers to insert a plastic credit card. Instead, consumers will expect tap-to-pay ease and fingerprint-grade security.
3. Contextual commerce will force all brands to invest in user-experience (UX) design
As devices become smarter, brands will have to interact with consumers across a far greater number of touchpoints. Smart home assistants, for example, will account for 50 percent of all website search traffic by 2020 according to Comscore. That means that brands such as United Airlines, Patron, Capital One, and Purina, which have all launched apps for Amazon’s smart home device Alexa, are having to think deeply about what customer experience means when it’s communicated through an electronic interpreter.
Consumers will also expect most devices to talk to one another. As the payments platform Braintree points out, concertgoers already expect to buy food and drinks with an RFID wristband or their smartphone. Friends having a conversation in Facebook Messenger currently have the tools to reserve a table at a restaurant or order a taxi through a ride-hailing service without leaving the app. In the near future, these customers will expect to reach brands and pay for services instantly through whatever social media site or messaging app they’re on.
Brands in 2023 will invest much more heavily in user experience (UX) design to make sure that all those touchpoints reflect their brand and fit into their customers’ increasingly fragmented journeys.
4. Consumers’ AI-assistants will talk to brands’ AI-assistants
Artificial intelligence (AI) is here and it’s doing a lot of consumers’ thinking for them. AI already powers Google searches, Amazon recommendations, and Facebook’s news feed. As consumers rely more and more on services such as voice-driven assistants like Apple’s Siri and Google’s OK Google, they’ll begin to allow these AI assistants to interact with brands on their behalf.
Consider an AI assistant tasked with booking a flight, shopping for a dress, or looking up the ingredients in a power bar. Brands will effectively be dealing with AI shoppers, not people. How will they react? Probably, by deploying their own AI assistants. In 2023, it’s likely that consumers’ AI assistants will interface with brands’ AI assistants, and their human owners will only dip into the conversation if their opinion is needed.
How will shopping, traveling, dining, and customer engagement all change when transactions are instant and AI-assisted? It’s difficult to say for certain, just as it would have been impossible to predict the messaging app revolution ten years ago. But brands that invest in adapting to their customers’ current needs by streamlining their payments, investing in UX, deploying messaging support, and exploring AI will probably be among the first to find out.