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Customer experience: trends for 2019

First, as this is our initial entry for the year, a happy new year to all our readers. That’s the SEO ruined for this post, then.

Regardless, the web is full of people putting forward their thoughts on what’s on the way for 2019, and one in particular from Forbes on customer experience trends caught the editor’s eye. It runs through some of the elements that are likely to be big in 2019; artificial intelligence (which also encompasses robotics), augmented and virtual reality as if they’re the same thing), Internet of Things, smart homes, autonomous vehicles and soforth.

To us, this suggests the writer has put a list together and decided it’s all about customer experience. So here is our shorter list: five things that will actually matter specifically in the CX world rather than to technology in general:

  • Empathy: If your agents aren’t able to solve problems and relate to people you’re falling behind. The competition is using cheaper robots for the donkey work and employing or training people for the stuff that requires more thought and experience. They’re likely to be happier as a result and therefore more productive.
  • AI: Robotics isn’t the future, it’s the well-established present. We reckon you’re going to see a lot more independence from machines though, with AI edging towards the forefront as it comes out of the labs. This is going to increase the pressure to employ the best people and – we hope – enhance the reputation of the contact centre as a place to work.
  • Voice: Yes of course we have voice control for IVRs but that’s only the beginning. It’s just over a year since someone pointed out to us that search through Alexa or an equivalent means you get one, rather than several, answers. We can only imagine this impacting customer service massively as people ask their AI questions and get a single answer. It had better be the right one.
  • Home workers: There was a huge flurry of interest in smarter working only a few years ago and then it all subsided. Suddenly it was back in the news last week. It’s not going anywhere and we’re anticipating renewed interest in 2019.
  • Increased pressure on cost: Everybody talks about best practice and making better businesses through using external CX experts – but when you corner those experts and ask what their clients really want, they end up confessing that “less cost” is generally what they’re after. Sadly we can’t see that going anywhere just yet.

We’ll just sit back for a year and wait for someone to throw those points back at us if they don’t actually happen…

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