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Trends that will drive the Customer Experience in 2018

What are the trends that will drive the customer experience in 2018? That is an important question every business should be asking as the current year comes to a close. With technology playing such an integral role in the customer experience, website development companies are regularly looking for innovative approaches to providing unique and effective experiences for customers.

Why is the customer experience important? The simple answer is choice. Consumers have numerous options when it comes to buying on multiple platforms and channels. With so many ways which they can interact with a brand and options for purchasing, that leaves the customers in the driver’s seat.

They don’t need us – we need them.

To be competitive businesses need to look at ways to improve the customer experience to earn business and loyalty along with keeping up with customer expectations.

Looking forward to the coming year, these are the trends we feel will drive the customer experience:

  • Big Data – The use of Big Data has become increasingly important in business. Looking at and analyzing data allows a business to provide a more personalized experience along with increasing customer engagement. At the top level, analyzing big data can increase understanding of situations which then allows directions to be chosen that improves processes and increases margins. If you aren’t currently making use of Big Data it might be a wise idea to consider if you want to not only remain competitive in your niche but also to improve your customer’s experience.
  • Virtual Assistants – Once only found in Sci-Fi movies, virtual assistances are fast becoming the next big thing because they have the ability to allow more efficient and effective communications between humans and devices. Since their launch Siri, Alexa, and even Google Now have improved the way in which people make use of and interact with devices. As people become more comfortable with voice search and asking questions of Virtual Assistants and Chat Bots, the more it can be integrated into processes to help improve the customer experience. Customer service is a prime example of an area where virtual assistants can provide quick answers to common problems which then improves the customer experience by saving time and effort by the customer.
  • Mobile Commerce – Mobile commerce is currently a growing market. The primary reason for the growth is millennials, who are now the largest demographic when it comes to purchasing. As they use a smart phone as a primary device for connecting to the internet it makes sense that as they earn more they will then spend more from those mobile devices. Because of this steady increase that is expected to make up 50% of total e-commerce in the next 5 years, businesses need to focus on a seamless customer experience if they want to consistently win business. This can be challenging as mobile commerce has a host of issues to manage, and also have options to enhance experiences such as location notifications that come into play. An important key when considering how to enhance the customer experience at the mobile level is putting yourself in the consumer’s shoes when it comes to motivations and goals they have and then understanding how best to meet them.
  • Personalized Interactions – The bar has been raised when it comes to customer interactions because of enterprise technology. As companies have learned how to create unique, personalized interactions, customers who enjoy that experience then wish to experience with every brand they interact with. If a company or brand does not meet this evolving expectation from the customer they will be less likely to retain them. A combination of big data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and automation can be utilized to enhance customer interactions, making them personal and unique which then strengthens the customer relationship which has become important for customer retention.
  • Customer Journey – Understanding the journey a customer goes through from beginning to end is becoming more important to the overall customer experience. By planning strategies not only for acquisition and purchase but also usage, loyalty and advocacy you are placing your business in the best position to deliver a positive experience on all levels. Additionally it is important to understand the multiple starting points customers can have on their journey based on how your business is structured if you want to deliver a great experience.

The bottom line is that technology continually changes how customer interactions take place. For example, when point-of-sale interactions moved from cash and check exchanges to debit and credit cards those connections changed. Online it is a matter of meshing the new technology with customer expectations and then forming effective strategies that will keep customers engaged. That is why understanding the trends that will drive the customer experience in 2018 will be important in respect to staying competitive in the digital business world.

Be sure to check back every week for great new Lounge Lizard blog articles.

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