Top 5 CX trends for 2020: report

From hyper-personalisation to a renewed focus on compliance and security, a report reveals CX outlook for 2020

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Customer experience (CX) initiatives will dovetail with broader digital ones in 2020, according to a report on CX trends for the next year by Ecosystm. 

That’s one of five hot trends to affect the market in 2020, according to the new report, written by analysts Tim Sheedy and Audrey William, which presents Ecosystm’s outlook for customer experience (CX) in 2020 and the associated implications for tech buyers and tech vendors. 

Rounding out the Top 5 list, the report also reveals that Asia will catch up with North America and A/NZ in customer obsession. 

It says hyper-personalisation will move from concept to reality, powered by customer journey analytics. 

It also reveals there will be a renewed focus on compliance and security in CX; and business will use AI and analytics to measure CX. 

“Improving the customer and employee experience are the top priorities for businesses across the globe - well ahead of growing revenue or reducing costs. Many companies have employed - or are employing customer experience (CX) leaders - and are transitioning their business metrics across to CX-centric ones,” the report says. 

“But the mission to become a customer-obsessed business never ends. Just as businesses start wrapping up their 2019 initiatives, they now look forward to 2020 - a year that will see many businesses make significant breakthroughs in improving the CX.” 

Speaking about the broader digital initiatives, the report reveals many businesses have taken a bimodal IT approach to their technology platforms - driving customer-centric changes at pace while keeping their back-end systems slow. 

“In the drive to make the entire business fast and innovative, these back-end systems are being modernised. But over 90 per cent of businesses have not yet seen a customer or business benefit from this digital agenda. This will change in 2020 as more businesses get some competitive advantage from the digital initiatives they are driving inside of their business,” the report says. 

“This will be driven by the linking of the customer-centric technology initiatives with the back-end ones. This means that customer applications will be infused with data and analytics from other systems, making them smarter and increasing the potential for automation and AI to drive down costs and increase personalisation and customisation.”

Meanwhile on the Asian front, the report finds that many Asian economies - particularly those in Southeast Asia - have not needed to focus too much on CX. 

“Businesses were finding it relatively easy to grow, so why spend the extra money, time and effort to ‘delight’ the customer? That is changing - and quickly. Data indicates that several Asian countries are starting to embrace CX. The proportion of businesses starting to map customer journeys is accelerating, and there is a growing focus on making those journeys easier, more effective and more enjoyable.” 

On the hyper-personalisation front, the report says the idea of creating unique experiences for each customer has been discussed for years - but few businesses are really doing it today. 

“2020 will see businesses outside of the top five per cent experiment and deploy hyper-personalised CX. It will move from the top web brands to the mass market as more companies invest in automation, predictive analytics and AI.

“But hyper-personalisation is not possible without customer journey analytics. Businesses need to understand the end-to-end journey of each customer to understand how to personalise it. Therefore, customer journey analytics will take centre-stage in 2020. The challenge for years has been that customer teams have focused on the traditional inbound and outbound interaction with the customer. 

“Brands now need to understand and personalise the experience before the customer interacts with the brand and after they are done interacting with the brand. The ability to apply machine learning and AI to offer insights to predict the movement and journey of the customer will be a significant focus - and challenge - for customer teams. Customer journey analytics will allow brands to deliver that ‘frictionless’ service,” the report says. 

On the security front, businesses will need to invest in analytics and AI applications around compliance and monitoring - given the crackdown on non-compliant and lackadaisical actions. 

“With the recent banking royal commission hearings in Australia to GDPR and other global regulations around privacy and customer data handling, customer teams will now have to make sure that all forms of voice and nonvoice interactions are monitored close to 100 per cent of the time. Very few customer teams do that today and are at risk of non-compliance. As monitoring can be labour intensive, there will be a need for organisations to invest in analytics and AI applications around compliance and monitoring.

“The recording of customer calls means that highly sensitive information could be stored for years and the risk of the contact centre breaching regulatory compliance requirements enhances. Solutions today have various ways to block the recording of key phrases or sections and some solutions apply APIs to the flow of the recording.

“As soon as the agent enters sensitive information such as credit card details, the recording stops to resume after the sensitive data is blocked or deleted. That way the sensitive conversation is not recorded or heard by anyone monitoring the call. Contact centres must adhere to this strictly, but few do.”  

The report says businesses also need to know real time if an agent is misinforming the customer. Contact centre outsourcers will also have to re-look at how compliant they are and how much they have invested in securing customer data. 

“There will be greater pressure on them to take on greater risks and share the risk burden with their clients. 

Lastly, the drive to improve CX has every business and government department measuring the experience at every opportunity. 

“A one-minute transaction in a store can prompt a five-minute survey asking for feedback. As a consequence, customers are experiencing survey fatigue. Surveys are also not the best way to measure how customers feel after they have interacted with a brand. 

“Already, many will not participate unless there is a discount or incentive, which eats into future margins. Smart businesses will begin to use AI to detect emotions and mood, and analytics to measure experiences,” the report says. 

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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