Customer experience (CX) is critical to the fortunes of businesses in every sector. This is driving a need for different approaches to harnessing technology and data to create value for customers and win in the market. With this in mind, Scott Turton, our expert in digital customer experience, shared his views on what could be the most significant trends for 2020:
Our customers’ expectations are continually rising and complacency around what constitutes a “good enough” online experience will leave businesses more exposed to new entrants and vulnerable to competitors who move faster. Customers will increasingly expect the companies they interact with to understand them, to anticipate their needs, and to delight them with extra value. So what will businesses be looking to do differently or better in 2020?
Who owns CX?
We traditionally think of marketing, sales and service functions as the custodians of CX. But with 5G, increasing automation and other advances in energy generation and storage, core engineering functions are changing the game in CX. Take the automotive industry for example. Your experience will be in no small part down to the engineering of the car itself, both by the manufacturer and by the likes of Google and Apple competing for space on the dashboard. Smart businesses will be looking for ways to connect all teams across their business to nurture the end to end experience.
From project to product
The idea of creating digital properties – websites, apps, in-store interfaces – as living, breathing things that need to be perpetually fed and improved isn’t new. But while many businesses have committed to agile as a way of delivering technology, fewer have moved beyond a “project” mentality. True product management is about harnessing insight and quickly acting on it to better serve your customers. Embracing the idea that the work really starts the day after a new service goes live is becoming much more common and we expect that trend to continue. Companies are asking themselves how they should reorganise across many functions (not just IT) to do this better.
Most businesses are looking to change and grow their capabilities for delivering great CX. They want a workforce that can span the technical, business and creative aspects of CX and drive out real value. They’re reviewing their sourcing strategies to determine the best way to build scale while retaining control of their IP and processes.
This can be a long and tough journey for firms with outmoded capabilities and cultures, particularly given the hot market for talent. They’re looking for help to create new working environments and to up-skill their teams, all whilst getting work delivered. We expect to see more and more of this and CX providers need to find smarter ways to help – in the way we engage, co-deliver and contract.
Questioning the value of investment in IT
It seems increasingly common, particularly within large businesses, to find managers sitting on under-exploited and even completely unused CX software licenses. . But, owing to the ever-evolving IT landscape, the pressure to show ROI on these investments is rising – both in driving out cost and in improving the top line.
We expect to see more businesses question whether how they can extract more value from the tech they’ve already bought, as well as just looking at what’s next. And they’ll give more thought than ever to how they’ll evidence the value of these investments.
Design and innovation as a component of the DevOps machine
Some businesses continue to scratch their heads as to why their technology partners are struggling to implement the big ideas and design outputs of their digital agency. Often the problem lies in treating UX design, design thinking and innovation as discreet activities that take place ahead of development.
We’re seeing more demand from clients for us to embed tech-savvy designers on an ongoing basis into our (and their) development squads. They are rightly treating design as an essential and permanent component of a successful product team. We expect to see fewer clients looking to separate out responsibilities for ideation and design between different partners and success rates improve as a result.
Engaged employees mean engaged customers
It’s clear that customers receive a better experience when the employees they interact with are engaged and enabled. Focusing CX investment on empowering your people is a smart CX play that we expect to see much more in 2020. Take customer service, for example. Thanks to virtual assistants, contact centre staff will spend less time gathering and retrieving data and be freed up to focus on making human connections. Field service engineers will have intelligence via mobile tools that help them fix problems faster and at the first attempt.
Bringing it all together
Businesses have invested in a range of technologies to support their delivery of CX. Most, regardless of industry sector, now have solutions to manage content, commerce, customer relationships, email campaigns and customer data, for example. The reality for many though is a disparate set of loosely connected software products that fall short of orchestrating the experience in a meaningful, personal way across the customer lifecycle. And they still feel a long way from having a truly 360-degree picture of their customers.
We’re seeing more businesses looking to better connect the products they use. Through re-architecting, liberating data through APIs and increased use of shared components and services across their engagement technology estate, they’re effectively creating their own Customer Platform. And they’re starting to run that platform in more effective ways, embracing DevOps to deliver new value to customers much faster. More businesses will look to manage and evolve their CX estate in a considered and co-ordinated way.
So in summary, we expect to be doing more and more work in 2020 to help our clients to:
- Future-proof and enable their CX organisations
- Establish a scale and speed of delivery of change that keeps up with the business aspiration
- Have the right ideas and strategies to exploit the changing CX landscape to their advantage