Success in business is always determined by how well an enterprise understands its clients’ needs, and subsequently, how well it meets them. 2023 will be no different. As it has been in the past, the ability to satisfy customer needs ultimately comes down to the organization of the business’ operational structure with the customer needs prioritized, and the management of its internal processes for that purpose.
In this article, we take a look at the most prevalent customer experience trends that we expect to see in 2023. Armed with this information, you can point your tools and strategy in the right direction.
Why You Should Care About Customer Experience
Happy customers spread the word and stay loyal. At the end of the day, this has a direct impact on your bottom line, and, more importantly, ensures the growth and longevity of your enterprise. Solutions like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics provide the functionality that helps to ensure an enterprise’s efforts are aligned with customers’ needs.
They create personalized experiences for a business’ individual customers, ensure that decision-makers in an enterprise are equipped with the data and insights necessary to steer the company towards success, and ensure that operations run efficiently and productively. This is why the most successful companies are investing significant amounts of time and resources into implementing effective customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
Customer Experience Current Statistics
Findings from a survey of 200 customer experience executives and 1,000 consumers undertaken by Forbes Insights showed that almost three out of every four consumers are likely to buy based on customer experience. The survey further reported that over 80 percent of executives reported challenges with their revenue and market share as a result of not improving customer experiences. And finally, over half of the companies surveyed used insights from data that they capture from customer interactions to decide which markets to target.
10 Customer Experience Trends
1. Greater use of chatbots
As a business grows, it has to find strategies to communicate efficiently with its customers. The volume of enquiries and other requests coming in increases, and the company must find strategies to scale up its ability to respond to them. Otherwise, customer service staff get overloaded, and the quality of their work deteriorates. Clients come away with a negative experience whenever they directly engage with the brand.
The solution is to use automation to ease the load. This trend is set to continue into 2023. Modern CRMs already offer increasingly powerful options for automating communication with clients.
The Salesforce platform for instance, offers a chatbot that can be used across different channels. Einstein Bots, as the feature is named, can be integrated in communication via SMS, custom chat windows, 3rd party platforms like Slack, Facebook Messenger, and others, in multiple languages.
The Microsoft D365 platform offers Power Virtual Agent bots. Like Einstein Bots, they give companies the tools to automate omni-channel conversations with clients and free up service staff to attend to higher priority interactions. The feature has the capability to escalate conversations to human agents, and provide them with a full transcript of the bot’s conversation to inform their engagement with the customer.
2. Personalized interaction
As business becomes more competitive, the differentiators between different brands become smaller and smaller. Seemingly trivial things like addressing a customer by name in your interactions with them or birthday messages with warm wishes all go a long way to creating the sense that your brand values them.
In 2023, this has to go up a few levels if a business wishes to gain the edge over their competition. Anticipation of customer needs will be supported by data and used to adapt the messaging at different touchpoints along their journey in order to create that just-for-me effect that helps to build loyalty with the brand and makes clients more likely to purchase.
For example, an ecommerce platform that greets a user by name and suggests purchases they might like, offers them specials because of past purchases, and helpfully suggests complementary products for something they purchase give a much richer shopping experience to their clients
Again, the best way to set up all of this is through a customer relationship management system that will record, streamline, and feed real-time data from system to system in order to make personalization possible.
3. Streamlined omnichannel journeys
Personalization isn’t limited to the content offered to clients, but also how and where this content is delivered. A customer’s journey with your brand will typically consist of a variety of touch points across the digital space. This experience has to be seamless from the customer’s perspective. Without the right strategy, tools, and preparation however, ensuring that your messaging is coherent and consistent across different platforms can be quite a challenge.
Getting this right in 2023 is sure to improve your chances of gaining an advantage over your competition when it comes to the customer experience you provide. CRMs are often marketed as offering you, the business, a 360-degree view of the customer. However, the reverse is also important – the customer’s view of the business should also be unified across channels, and CRMs help you achieve this.
4. Privacy and security
Personal data has made the headlines in recent years, mostly for all the wrong reasons. The result is that the average internet user is now less willing to readily hand over their data. Companies that take steps to address this unease are helping to give their clients a better experience overall.
In 2023, therefore, businesses can be expected to take extra steps to ensure the protection of their clients’ data. Just a few examples include using stronger encryption, having SSL certificates on your webpages, using secure cookies, and taking preventive steps against attacks like SQL injection, or DDoS attacks.
Communicating your security policy to your clients reassures them and helps make for a safer experience. By being transparent about how you use their data, and taking extra precautions to ensure its security you also help ease their qualms.
5. Loyalty and rewards programs
Expect to see a greater focus on keeping existing customers. Customers that have already made a purchase with you are more likely to do so again. So for many businesses, it makes sense to dedicate resources towards this low-hanging fruit.
Loyalty programs give existing customers the incentive to stick with your brand, and will help tip the scales in your favour if they are considering trying out competing products. It also takes a lot less resources from a marketing perspective to drive conversions with past customers, than it does with new ones.
Fostering loyalty also turns ordinary customers into ambassadors that will help your growth with word-of-mouth marketing.
6. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
ML and AI are steadily becoming better, more refined, and permeating many aspects of technology. CRM systems are taking advantage of their unique capabilities to enhance their features and provide enhanced tools for business growth.
We expect the trend to continue in 2023, with AI and ML being leveraged to produce better natural language processing, for example, for more human-like automated conversations with users, predictive analytics for better decision-making, and demand forecasting to help ensure inventory is stocked in a cost effective and efficient way, giving customers a smooth all-round experience.
7. Big Data and Analytics
With tools and technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence becoming more ubiquitous, we can expect decision makers to lean more and more heavily on a computational approach to strategy.
CRM systems already provide AI-driven tools to help tweak operational strategies for more efficiency and better results. For example, AI can be used to determine the optimum frequency with which marketing emails can be sent out, as well as the days and times at which they will be most effective. This has obvious benefits for the business, but also provides a more pleasant experience for clients as they do not have to put up with annoying, irrelevant, or untimely messages.
We expect this dependence on tech to grow in 2023 as CRMs and other tools continue to evolve and improve.
8. Self-service options
The modern customer is a lot more independent than in the shopping culture of the past, where personalized customer service was the default. Today, clients prefer to research their own information, make comparisons, and make independent choices without being hounded by insistent service staff.
Businesses that embrace the trend instead of fighting it will improve the experience for those clients that prefer to make up their own minds. 2023 should therefore see more companies providing information where it is needed, with detailed information centers on websites, and well-researched, well laid out FAQs for clients to refer to, and technological innovations like interactive self-service solutions.
9. Video Content
As data transfer speeds have improved over the years, the type of content marketers are able to put out has also changed. In 2023, the world will continue its shift to 5G, high-speed connections will become even more commonplace, and with that the appetite for richer content will continue to grow.
Video content, with its ability to engage and hold attention, will continue to trend upwards in 2023. Consider planning more content using this medium if you are not already doing so.
10. Voice Commerce
Voice Assistants, like Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa, have been steadily improving. More and more users are starting to do more with them than just ask them to play a song, or tell them what the weather is like. A lot of shopping, for information about items of interest, or to in fact make a purchase, is increasingly being done via this medium.
In 2023, it will be crucial for businesses to ensure they implement effective search engine optimization to help them rank higher in search results and be found easily. In addition to regular marketing efforts, pay attention to your content to ensure it can easily be understood by non-human readers – things like descriptive titles for images and products, complete and well-categorized information, and good customer feedback are all worth revisiting and optimizing.
Customer experience is absolutely essential and should be at the center of your business if you want to keep up with, let alone stand out from, the competition. That’s why today, more than ever, CRM systems are assuming a central role in the business strategies adopted by the companies that do well. This is because there is an understanding that how your clients relate to your brand is crucial to the long term success of your business.
But just like any other tool or device, getting a CRM to work for you requires that you set it up properly and apply it where it is most effective. With the predictions we have set out in this article, you can get a headstart on this by implementing the right customer relationship management tools to ensure you are adequately prepared to make the most of these expected trends.