By Jeff Nicholson, Global Head of CRM, Pegasystems
Impersonal chatbots. Customer service black holes. Getting bounced around. Whether you’ve experienced this yourself or heard the frustration from your customers, people have had it. They know things don’t have to be this hard because they’ve experienced better. And they can’t understand why all companies can’t deliver the same way Zappos, Amazon, or L.L.Bean can.
Empowered customers have more choices than ever before. They want frictionless experiences – not just in terms of resolving issues, but in anticipating their needs. They know you’ve collected data on them, and they want their rightful reward – interactions that are easy, fast, and efficient, but also relevant, contextual, and personal.
But how much more could they possibly want? If history is any guide, it’s a lot, and it will never stop. To help you get ready for the onslaught, here are a few predictions for 2020 that any business needs to be prepared to face:
To achieve 20/20 Vision in 2020, businesses will focus on the blind spots in CX channels: When it comes down to it, customers don’t care if businesses offer multi-channel or omni-channel support – they just want their interactions with businesses to be frictionless. To achieve this, businesses will refocus their efforts on strategies that are not channel-led, but instead channel-less, where the customer journey itself is continuous. Whether powered by humans, technology, or a combination of both – channels will work more seamlessly, unifying the customer experience into one that focuses solely on the customer’s journey and their unique needs.
A personal consumer data privacy & protection tsunami is coming: The E.U.’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the upcoming California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and Brazil’s General Data Protection Law (LGPD) are just a few of the shoes that are beginning to drop. These regulations all give new rights to consumers to take back control of their personal data, with the power to command that businesses disclose what they have and even delete it. In the USA alone, there are nearly a dozen other such regulations waiting in the wings, now moving through committees. This creates a whole new set of responsibilities in 2020 that affected businesses will need to handle within the mandated timeframes – or face steep penalties.
With a potential recession looming, businesses will have a renewed focus on efficiency: Businesses are still spooked by the economic collapse in 2008. With the potential for another one on the horizon, companies will plan for another downturn to mitigate the loss of business, employees, or other mission-critical assets. Technology investments can help, such as robotic process automation (RPA), robotic desktop automation (RDA), and dynamic case management, which can give businesses a quick win by automating repetitive, mundane tasks and giving back precious time to agents to focus more on their customers.
AR/VR finally finds its place within CX: For years, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies have been discussed with great promise for the enterprise but have really only seen success in finding Pokémon. But next year, AR will find its niche in the customer experience realm. For example, home healthcare and insurance adjusters could use AR to help customers with their needs on demand in a virtual environment while eliminating travel times. This is just one viable use case for AR and VR that will become more commonplace in 2020.
A new era of omni-communication begins: Consumers don’t think in terms of channels. They think in terms of getting their needs met and gravitate to whichever mechanism is closest to them, or easiest in the moment. Is it text-based? Voice-based? Soon it won’t matter – as long as it is language-based. A new capability will emerge in 2020 where the lines between spoken and written communication blur, and systems flex behind the scenes to translate voice into text, or text into voice, all in real time. And the same will be true for your agents as well.
A new generation of digital personal assistants begin to steal the service spotlight: Think you just have to worry about dealing with unhappy customers? Think again. In 2020, businesses will also have to deal with your customers’ personal “bots.” They will call you, email you, message you – on behalf of your customer. Look no further than Google Duplex (now Google Assistant) – which can call up your local restaurant to book your next dinner reservation. While this new superpower holds the potential to greatly reduce friction for consumers, it can also increase the complexity for businesses. These intermediaries remove the emotion from the front-line service interaction – a positive for some customers, but a potentially significant negative for the overall relationship.
Companies that take the steps to think ahead about how they can make things effortless for their customers are the ones who will win, regardless of what business they’re in.
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