The more things change, the more they stay the same. That could be construed as the theme of the customer experience trends we see coming in 2020. Or maybe we were just ahead of our time in 2019?
In a nutshell, we’re still looking at consumer-driven engagements and experiences that add value to the consumer. Technology is ever present, including the growing importance of artificial intelligence in managing those experiences, so that’s no change. The real change could be seen in the merging of the humanization of brands and customer experience trends with technology. But more on that later. Let’s get to the list.
1. Benchmark & Score Customer Experiences
When planning customer experiences, most strategists look to measure – and possibly improve -the touchpoints a customer has with the business, such as the website, emails, product use, post-purchase customer service, and so on.
However, it’s no longer enough to understand and improve those customer experiences with your product, service or brand. First off, customers’ reactions to those touch points must be measured against how they affect the likelihood he or she will continue to buy from you or advocate for your business, in addition to a customer satisfaction rating.
2. Value-Added Experiences
Measuring and improving the physical touch points customers have with your brand will never NOT be a trend or important to your business.
What is growing in importance is the creation and management of value-added experiences, or experiences beyond the common business transaction.
86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.
– Price Waterhouse Cooper Study
84% of customers feel that experiences are as important as the actual products and services.
– SalesForce, State of the Connected Customer – 3rd Edition. Value-added experiences are engagements – sponsored or facilitated by your business – that improve the lives of your customers.
For example, a financial institution may wish to provide tools for grandparents to access discounted family getaways that help build stronger multi-generational relationships.
Wealth management companies may consider providing value-added education that advises clients how to smartly invest in art, or how to give back to their communities.
3. Relationships Over Product
Expanding on trend #2 above, the shift being made here is a focus on customer experiences that develop relationships, not just the customer experiences around the delivery and use of products.
The adage “people buy from people, not businesses” has always been true. But never more so than in 2020.
64% of consumers want brands to ‘connect with them’ in a more meaningful way.
– SproutSocial Research, 2019 Meaningful relationships between brands and people evolve in a similar manner to that between people and people.
There must be a mutual benefit and a mutual respect between the parties; each party should seek to provide more value than they are receiving.
4. On-Demand, As Needed Delivery
Delivering value-added experiences or building brand-consumers relationships can’t be seen as extra work for the consumer. Consumers willingly allow access to mobile phones, apps, and online tools in exchange for enhanced, personal experiences. Brands need to hold up their end of that bargain if they wish to benefit from the shift we’re seeing in customer experience trends.
Loyalty programs, for example, that require the user to earn points only to have to log in to a website marketplace to search for products to purchase, is a great example of what consumers are no longer interested in.
Chances are you know the consumer’s profile when making a purchase, so you know what they’re spending, when they’re spending, and what their lifetime value is (or you should). Why do you need them to prove it by linking that value-add to specific or timed activity?
Why are you not providing value-added services to clients based on their lifetime value?
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Why Customer Experience Trends Are So Important
Businesses that drive value-added experiences see almost 50% more retention and repeat purchases those that don’t.
– Forrester and Adobe, The Business Impact of Investing in Experience Building an owned community where you can develop those relationships through value-added engagements – and learn more about your customers, prospects, employees, and influencers should be your next step here.
As I stated at the start this article, these customer experience trends and strategies that we’re focusing on in 2020 are similar to our client plans for 2019. However, 2020 will see us merging technology and human touch in a much greater way to enable each of these.