In an article published on forbes.com, Blake Morgan sets out five predictions about the future of customer experience. Key takeaways include the fact that video customer service will gain traction, CRM technology will become more mobile, and companies will make more effective use of big data.
The article got us thinking about where we think customer experience is heading. If there’s one thing that stands out to us about the future of customer experience, it’s that there will be an increased focus on what customers can bring to a brand, on top of what brands can offer their customers.
Going Beyond Customer Service to Engage Customer Communities
Today, brands are better connected with customers than ever before. For an increasing number of companies, social media is where they interact with customers who need to troubleshoot problems, reach out to clients to obtain feedback and recommendations, and make key announcements about new products, offers, competitions and events.
The coming years will see this ease and frequency of direct interaction reach a new level. Beyond customer service, which will continue to take place on Twitter ahead of other platforms, customer experience will become a two-way street. Brands will continue to reach out to their audiences but customers, too, will share an increasing amount of information with brands.
Exchanging Content to Obtain Internal and External Benefits
This exchange of information will involve brands inviting customers to share their experience through photos, videos and written testimonials. Sharing their own content in this way will allow customers to provide more personal feedback about their experience of the brand, and as such to have a direct impact on how the products and services provided by that brand are developed over time.
What’s more, by inviting customers to a dedicated community (often a brand advocacy platform), within which they can make their own contributions, companies send the message that their customers are a part of their brand, and that customer storytelling is therefore an essential aspect of brand communication. The genuine insights that come of engaging customers add a personal dimension of communication that online ads and brand accounts alone simply can’t achieve, and create a customer experience that prioritizes involvement as well as service.
2015 has seen many exciting developments as far as customer experience is concerned, with brands such as Chevrolet, Harvey Nichols and Kellogg’s engaging customers in new and innovative ways. With any luck, 2016 will be no different. Because if there’s anything the past few years have taught us, it’s that brands who succeed at involving audiences in engagement initiatives that enrich the overall customer experience are at a serious advantage.
For more predictions, read IDC Sets Out 10 Social Predictions for 2016.