Embark on Transforming Relationships with These Customer Engagement Trends 2018

Embark on Transforming Relationships with These Customer Engagement Trends 2018

In 2018, every employee of your business would become a customer engagement champion. 

Thanks to intelligent automation, routine manual processes will be eliminated and employees will be free to enhance their one-on-one customer engagement skills.
What other trends will make a significant impact this year? Find out below.

1. Combining technology advances and customer engagement pattern shifts will transform IT
A volatile cocktail of skills shortage and project prioritization needs will force digital technology working on enhancing customer experience projects to collaborate closely with marketing, sales and customer insights leaders. Working together will allow them to understand how different customer segments experience and visualize service and create a long term plan to seamlessly support customers across digital and traditional channels. 

2. Companies will match internal goals with customer expectations
Businesses are quickly realizing that customers are not tethered to, but flow seamlessly across mobile devices, messages, social media and experiences. There should be flawless collaboration throughout IT departments, customer facing and back-end business units, to meet their dynamic demands. Also, customers expect businesses to know them intimately, to execute things their way and meet certain expectations. Service teams, on the other hand, want to be fast with cheaper operations and automate routine processes. Businesses will strive to bring both objectives on a single execution platform.

3. AI will raise the bar for experience
The advance in AI and associated offerings will raise the standards of customer service across industry domains and as a result, customer experience. The demands of a customer will be met by AI that can anticipate, translate and act on customer inputs to deliver superior service with lower costs. Some service deployments can include
a. Replacing traditional IVR with AI empowered voice responses to deliver accurate First Time Resolutions (FTRs).
b. Offering proactive and real time alerts that is crucial to customers through mobile and web.
c. Using sensors embedded in equipment, devices and structures to anticipate and respond to emerging customer needs.

AI is now a part of many forms of business application, ranging from:
a. Virtual assistants for employees and customers
b. Cognitive expert advisors
c. Smart data discovery
d. Smart workspace
e. Conversational user interfaces
4. 'Employee engagement' will replace operational efficiency to be strategically important in customer engagement center
Operating costs form approximately 70% of any call center budget. This, unfortunately, resulted into a tunnel vision that revolved around cost and staffing efficiency. But with the transition of strategic importance from 'costs' to 'experiences', businesses are realizing that 'agents' are the crucial ingredient that impacts operational efficiency and ultimately, customer experience. 

Moreover, traditional systems and processes are rigid, leaving no room for employees to operate outside system boundaries in pursuit of what is best for the customer. Employee engagement builds customer empathy into CRM and customer experience processes. Businesses leaders are thus championing 'employee engagement' to drive satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. 

5. Blockchain technology will emerge as trust bringer in digital customer interactions
High-profile data security breaches and increasing cybersecurity threats will drive demand for innovative ways to securely exchange and store information, including customer data. At a time where digital assets like contracts, health record government ids etc are being hacked into with impunity, block chain technology is transforming into a security vanguard. With dynamic encryption and having no physical component, blockchains are the perfect complement to even the best master data management systems. 

6. By 2021, 40% of companies who provide on-field service will utilize augmented reality (AR) to improve collaboration and onboarding
AR for customer support will take advantage of improvements in 3D graphics, video feeds and sound to project digital assets into an optically transparent surface or by superimposing them onto the feed from a tablet, phone or other cameras. On-field executives who service customers can receive thus receive visual information or assistance without having to use hands or glance away from the physical environment. 

Not following the above customer engagement trends is foolish and disastrous. Ask Blockbuster or Yahoo. 

Make 2018 your transformational year by onboarding employees and customers on impactful, contextualized journeys that drills down customers to an individual.