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Customer Experience Trends for 2016

Customer Experience (CX) will continue to grow in importance for companies and an even larger number of organizations will begin their CX journeys.

2016 is “The Year of Emotion.” Last year was named “2015 – The Year of Employee.” In this environment, we expect to see:

Culture Change Intensifying

Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for lunch.” We agree and believe that customer experience is a reflection an organization’s culture and operating processes. These four CX competencies need to be mastered: Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement, and Customer Connectedness. We saw a surge of interest in the topic of culture in 2015, and we expect even more executives to begin the long-term journey of culture change in 2016.

Effort Metric Expanding

Every interaction has three components: Success, Effort, and Emotion. Companies have started to use versions of an “effort” score as a key CX metric, because it provides a good mechanism for identifying areas of improvement. We expect this trend to intensify and for effort to become a more mainstream topic next year.

Customer Journey Designing

Customer journey mapping (CJM) has become one of the most popular CX tools as it helps provide a customer-oriented viewpoint. While many of these efforts have been heavily focused on isolated mapping events, we expect to see companies use the lessons from CJM to drive more decisions and changes across their organizations.

Mobile, Mobile, Mobile… Continuing

Mobile continues to become a more dominant interaction channel… and through increasingly varied types of devices. In 2016, we expect more companies to get beyond the basic level of making  mobile-friendly websites and launching mobile apps. Organizations will rethink their offerings and operating processes, baking in assumptions that customers and employees are continuously connected.

Speech Analytics Piloting

As companies get comfortable using text analytics and collecting customer insights from unstructured data, they often focus on their largest interaction dataset: contact centre calls. While the  technology has limited the use of speech analytics in the past, we believe 2016 will be the tipping point and expect to see a flutter of companies with speech analytics pilots.

Predictive Analytics Personalizing

Predictive Analytics Personalizing. As companies connect rich customer feedback with reams of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and operational data, the value of predictive modelling will rise exponentially. In 2016, we expect to see firms that have built data hubs over the last few years investing in predictive modelling and using the insights to develop a more personalized treatment of customers.

Metrics to Action Realigning

Voice of customer (VoC) programs, including NPS, are a mainstream component of most CX programs. But these efforts overly focus on collecting data at the expense of taking action on the insights.  The problem stems from a desire to measure and track everything, which ends up consuming much of VoC teams’ capacity and budget. Next year we expect an increasing number of companies to shift their emphasis from tracking metrics to enabling action. As this occurs, they will lower their reliance on multiple-choice ratings scales to focus more on unstructured sources (comments, contact centre interactions, etc.) and will increase their use of more qualitative techniques such as customer interviews and ethnography.

Value-as- a-Service Emerging

As consumers get comfortable with companies like Uber and AirBnB and use more iTunes apps and cloud-based applications, they are being trained to pay for things as they need them. The notion of buying something that you may or may not use in the future is becoming out-dated. In 2016, we expect this consumer behaviour to push more companies to break apart their offerings into bite-sized pieces. As this happens companies will need to earn loyalty more frequently and ensure that customers get value from the things that they purchase.

Employee CX & Empathy Training

As more companies roll out their CX change efforts, we expect to see them look for ways to train large groups of employees – to teach them basic CX concepts and to instil a sense of customer empathy. Why? Because more firms realize that sustainable CX success requires engaging employees — not simply introducing processes changes and expecting “blind” compliance. In 2016, the need for this training will grow rapidly, and CX professionals will respond by working with their training departments

CX Profession Maturing

Customer experience has come a long way over the last few years, as CX practitioners have shared lessons learned and improved upon best practices. Nothing illustrates this maturity better than the Customer Experience Professionals Association and the increasing number of Certified Customer Experience Professionals. As this trend continues, we expect to see CX professionals  become more focused on helping their organizations achieve business and brand objectives. This will change their role from experts of tools to collaborators of change.

Emotion Arising

Our research shows that emotion is the component of customer experience that has the largest impact on loyalty, but it is also the area where companies are least adept and often seemingly ignore. Over the past few years, neuroscience and behavioural science research has begun to fuel new techniques for affecting human emotions. In 2016, we expect to see a major jump in the number of
companies that discuss, measure, and design for emotion. It will also become a hot topic at CX conferences.

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