Customer Experience Trends 2018

Customer Experience Trends for Enterprises in 2018

To outpace competition in the present age, businesses will have to focus more on satisfying their customers better

To outpace competition in the present age, businesses will have to focus more on satisfying their customers better than their competitors. Generally, enterprise software solutions were relied on for optimizing internal factors from operational efficiency to business productivity. However, present day competitive gravity demands some form of realignment from the business’ part focusing on customer satisfaction and customer support.

Here are a few trends enterprises should follow to provide a solid experience to customers.

Rolling out customer-facing apps

Businesses generally rely on apps to engage customers on their personal devices, and for sales. But today, the focus should be shifted to customer support rather than engagement and sales alone. Almost 80% of shoppers use their mobile phones to compare prices, check product reviews etc. People prefer shopping online more nowadays.

But rather than just providing them with a platform to shop, businesses should consider it important to make sure that the whole process is easy for them, and they get the right kind of support for every issues, technical or non-technical, they may face during the buying cycle. They will have to roll out apps that not only engage and convert but also provide customer support.

VR and AR

Business websites make things very convenient for customers. The website presents a shopping experience that’s accessible from anywhere with a network connection via any device. The only thing it lacks is the ‘touch-and-feel’ experience that only physical stores can give. This particular shortcoming can be, to an extent, addressed by two of the hottest trends of this age – Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.

The creative use of VR and AR on apps and websites pretty much bridges the gap between real and digital realms, offering the best of both worlds. Physical stores would still however continue to remain as the key part of the marketing landscape as at some point a customer would want to see and feel the product for real.

Here are a few examples.

  • Renowned Swedish furniture company IKEA allows customers to experience their virtual showrooms where customers can walk around virtually using VR devices and apps.
  • Retailers like Sephora, a French cosmetics chain, have rolled out customer-facing apps that uses VR to provide customers with a unique virtual pre-shopping experience. Sephora’s app allows users to take selfies and apply the brand’s cosmetic products to the image to give customers conclusive proof of whether the makeup will look good them.

These experiences essentially passes over the clutter of traditional advertising, while giving customers a more practical though virtual experience of using a brand’s product.

Personalization with AI

For a business, personalizing every interaction with a customer can make all the difference. Marketers now personalize campaigns by leveraging predictive analytics to find patterns from historical data. More advanced AI solutions deliver better, more accurate predictions. This enables enterprises to focus on those products that have the highest potential for profit.

However, this approach of enterprises is also expected to change this year as now the shoppers have started leveraging AI’s potential as well for sourcing products to making purchases. There are smart devices now, powered by IoT. Smart refrigerators can now detect when a stored item is going out of stock, triggering an auto-trigger mechanism to reorder the item from a linked e-commerce store.

What enterprises can do is to roll out AI-powered apps that complement such smart systems adding to the customer’s convenience by making things much easier for them.

Adaptive design

Customer preferences and needs keep changing over time. Businesses need to be smart enough to track these changes and the underlying triggers that lead to such changes. To do that, they will need an enterprise software or app that reaches their customer base in real-time. To serve its purpose, the software or app should be designed according to changing needs and preferences of potential clients.

A good example for a business that adapted its services to cater to changing customer needs is Curve, a popular credit card company. The company allows customers to switch their cards even after completing a purchase. Once the purchase is authorized and a customer wants to use a different card for benefit, he could change the billing to that card.

Virtual assistants for customer support

Many businesses started empowering their workforce with virtual assistants and various other support agents last year. These virtual assistants, unlike conventional CRM systems, effectively automated many tasks while granting real-time insights on information concealed in the company databases and other systems. Mining such information manually was a daunting task.

Virtual assistants powered by machine learning algorithms offered a speedier resolution to consumers’ issues, thus boosting sales by improving customer satisfaction.

The most common forms of virtual assistants we see now are chatbots. Though there hasn’t been a lot of innovations, businesses did realize the benefits of using chatbots in today’s age. It’s become a popular trend now to the point where even the most basic bots are expected to outclass the likes of Alexa and Siri when it comes to interaction.

AI-powered chatbots of the new age learn from users, records user queries, and decide the best course of action. It is fundamentally faster than a manual agent who has to comprehend queries first before sifting through the database. The latest advancement involves emotionally intelligent bots that can respond the right way to a frustrated customer.

Emotionally intelligent bots that can resolve customer issues can give a great experience to even first-time customers, and ensures them that the brand looks after them. If the query is too complicated for the bot to handle, it can still be taken over by manual agents should the occasion arise.

Conclusion

Giving more power to customers is a wise policy for businesses to build a reputation in this age. Both should proactively work together for mutual benefit. A customer-centric enterprise doesn’t necessarily have to use latest technologies, but adapting to customer needs make it a necessity in today’s world.

We have been helping businesses leverage these technologies in the form of tailored enterprise digital solutions for years. If you want to explore how technologies like VR/AR, AI and ML can make your business more appealing to customers, get in touch with the experts at AoT.

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