Friendly and frictionless: 6 customer experience trends

By Cox Business

Exceptional customer service has never been more in style – or more in demand. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of consumers point to customer experience as an important factor in their buying decisions, according to research from PwC. Yet less than half (49%) of U.S. consumers say companies provide a good customer experience today.

The good news is customers are willing to pay more for better service. Consider these statistics from PwC:

  • 43% of all consumers would pay more for greater convenience.
  • 42% would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience.
  • And, among U.S. customers, 65% find a positive experience with a brand to be more influential than great advertising.

Friendly and frictionless is the emerging benchmark for a great customer experience. Savvy businesses are turning to technology-enabled solutions to meet rising customer expectations and keep up with the following customer experience trends:

  1. HyperpersonalizationToday’s customers expect highly personalized experiences tailored to their individual preferences and needs. Businesses are leveraging data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to gather customer insights and deliver personalized recommendations, offers and communications. Suggestions for products customers might like based on their browsing history is an example of this trend at work.
  2. Omnichannel and “phydigital” experiences Customers interact with businesses through multiple channels, including websites, mobile apps, social media, email, chat and physical stores. What’s new is providing a seamless and consistent experience across all channels. Businesses are leveraging omnichannel contact centers for help tracking conversations from text to email to phone. Shopping online and picking up products in-store is another example of a blended experience. This trend is amplified by customer loyalty programs that tie in-store and online purchases, rewarding consumers for collective spending
  3. Automation and self-service Customer-centric businesses increasingly empower customers to serve themselves through comprehensive knowledge bases, FAQs, online tutorials, and interactive troubleshooting tools. AI-powered chatbots go further by answering questions or connecting customers to a live agent. Self-service tools on websites, messaging apps and social media not only provide instant answers but also around-the-clock support for valued customers.
  4. Contactless and touchless experiences Mobile payments, QR codes, voice commands and gesture-based interfaces that minimize physical contact and create safer interactions have gained momentum since the pandemic. Contactless experiences are here to stay. Telemedicine, once rare, is now commonplace, and restaurants and groceries continue to offer curbside pickup and home delivery.
  5. Immersive experiences Immersive experiences provide customers with unique and memorable encounters, using multisensory and interactive techniques and tools to increase engagement. Some examples are interactive displays or menus, virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) experiences, gamification, hands-on activities, and personalized interactions that encourage customer engagement. A clothing retailer, for example, may offer a virtual app for customers to see how they might look in the latest styles.
  6. Real-time customer feedback and analytics Businesses are increasingly leveraging real-time customer feedback and analytics to gather insights and make immediate improvements. In the digital realm, customers are asked for instant feedback on nearly every transaction with their doctor, vet, carpet cleaner, ride share service, food delivery and more. Conversational AI is kicking it up a notch, enabling feedback in real-time during customer calls to help agents steer conversations in a positive direction to achieve a satisfactory result.

Customer expectations are evolving quickly, and businesses must adapt and innovate to remain competitive. By embracing these trends, organizations can find a balance between technology and the human touch to deliver a better customer experience.

Interested in business technology that can help enable these customer experience trends? Please contact Aehee Park, Cox Business sales director, at [email protected] for a free consultation and to learn more about our portfolio of business IT solutions, from phone, data, network infrastructure to cloud services and cybersecurity.