With the New Year upon us, I wanted to take a few minutes to recap some customer experience (CX) trends to watch next year. CX, UX, and VoC is still an evolving profession stemming from the larger market research umbrella. As organizations learn the value, impact, and strategic implications of CX, it will undoubtedly grow in popularity and in investment.
"No matter what your job entails, never lose sight of how the customer perceives your business and what the customer wants. CX needs to be ingrained in all levels of a company. It's a culture, not a program." - @gwkuhn3
Here are 6 CX trends to watch next year:
Buy anywhere, at any time.
Regardless of industry, customers have warmed-up to online purchases in both B2C and B2B. It doesn't matter what the product or how expensive the product, decision-makers have always been willing to research pre-buy online and are now more than ever willing to convert to purchase on websites. UX and website research is at the forefront for many organization's priority list because your customers are buying around the world 24-7-365. Much different from the days of "call between 9AM and 5PM to place your order." Customer service research budget is shifting to website development budget.
Importance of immediacy and mobile.
I wrote about the critical need to gather "in the moment" marketing research in a prior post. Asking customers to recall behavior or feelings outside of 24 to 48 hour window is dicey, especially in the transaction or touchpoint was quick. Recall rates of advertising or marketing 3 or 6 months later are inexact at best and needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Capturing feeling, satisfaction, and feedback in-store or on-website is essential in the world of distractions we live in now. We've witnessed a growth in geo-targeting and customized marketing over the past few years and that trend will further develop into next year with marketing research. Consumers are incredibly talented at ignoring advertisements and survey invites that do not catch them at the right time.
"Customer effort leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to churn."
Among all of your customer touchpoints within your organization, think about the one that customers engage with the most. A touchpoint is any piece of the customer journey where they engage with your company (website, customer service call, order confirmation, etc.) If your customers engage with your website and the e-commerce portion the most, you've just discovered priority 1 for your CX program. If your website is frustrating your customers on a daily basis time and time again, your customers are becoming progressively more likely to reach that "point of no return." When they do, you've lost them to a competitor that makes their life easier. Make sure your touchpoints require a minimal effort from your customers, put the effort onus on your people and your systems. And yes, I love Star Wars, per this bullet's headline.
Tying together the "what" with the "why".
In a world of big data, it's easy to get lost in the reporting and trending of numbers. Numbers are the beginning of a story. It's important to provide context and interpretation to the data to really understand the ins and outs. For example, less than a minute spent on a website is interpreted both good and bad. Good as in the user found what he or she was looking for quickly and completed his or her task. Bad as in the user could not find what he or she was looking for, became frustrated, and exited the site quickly. Without other survey data or user feedback, your big data tells a fuzzy story.
Invest in insight, not data.
Similar to the prior point about big data being overwhelming, make sure you have staff and a vision for not only collecting the data you need, but allowing the time to fully examine it. Do not fall into the trap of being a "data heavy, insight light company." If you fall in this trap and spend too much time on execution, set aside a half day to really dig into one study, one data source, or one report. Develop a short one-pager with value-added insights, strategy, and actions that you recommend should be taken and share it with stakeholders. Once management understands and can visualize what should be done for each project, it will be easier to request additional resources, time, or investment for CX. Don't fall into the trap of being a data heavy, insight light organization.
Predictive analytics modeling.
Market research and CX in nature is retrospective. How did our customers feel about their customer service call moments ago? How satisfied were our customers this year? How do consumers feel about this new design for our website? In order to fully maximize the value of marketing research you need to make predictive assumptions. The vision is to tie together separate data sources (sales ordering systems, CRM tools, etc.) to make assumptions like an increase of 3 NPS points will result in a predicted increase in $2.5M in sales. If you can fine tune your model enough to make the past a fairly good predictor of the future, you are on the right path. Using these techniques you can further prioritize actions and outcomes that most impact your bottom-line next year.
Drive Research is a market research company located in Syracuse, NY. Our company specializes in customer experience (CX) research for a number of industries. Questions about how we can help launch your CX program? Contact us at 315-303-2040 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.