Undoubtedly, 2022 has been a turbulent year with hardships and chaos. From the aftermath of the COVID pandemic to the Russia-Ukraine war to the rising cost of living, 2022 has had its fair share of challenges. All these catastrophes have negatively affected the customer experience sector. Customer trust and loyalty have plummeted, with supply chain issues and shortages causing a lot of customer frustration.
Against the backdrop of all these challenges, 2023 is poised to be a big year for the CX industry. Brands will not want a repeat of the challenges of 2022 and will look to find better ways to connect and engage with their customers in 2023.
To deliver the best possible customer experience, brands must stay on top of the trends and technologies that will shape the industry. So, here are the top customer experience predictions you should pay attention to as you plan for 2023 and beyond.
Prediction #1: Brands Will Leverage Customer Data from Their Physical Stores to Deliver the Next Level of CX
For the longest time, brands have relied on online customer surveys and feedback to gain insights. But customer interaction doesn’t just happen online. That’s why leveraging customer data from your physical store is one of my top CX predictions for the coming year. Brands will start using everyday interactions with customers in their brick-and-mortar stores to understand their customers and serve them better.
For example, retail stores will invest in technology that allows them to study customers on their premises. They will collect information such as:
The aisles they visit
The average spend on specific days of the month
The products that are popular with specific groups of people
The nature of customer support they request
They will even find ways to identify customers at checkout and seek ways to motivate them to return to the store.
Prediction #2: Employee Experience Will Be at the Heart of Customer Experience
While brands have responded well to evolving customer demands by using data from their lead generation software to drive personalization, employee welfare has largely been ignored. This is particularly the case for customer support agents in charge of day-to-day interactions.
Success in the experience economy requires brands to put people first – including their workers. In the coming year, we will see more companies rethinking their employee experience as part of their overall CX strategy.
Key initiatives to improve the employee experience include:
Relevant training – Brands will provide adequate training to ensure the employees have the right information to support their customers.
Personalized learning and development – Employee training will be personalized to an individual’s needs, skills, and desires. The training will not just focus on productivity but also on skill development, career growth, and leadership. The focus will be on the employee.
Creating a fun work environment – Companies will strive to create a fun environment where employees are free to be themselves. This can help retain them.
Prediction #3: Digital Trust Will Play a Key Role in Maintaining Customer Loyalty Programs
Personalizing the user experience is only possible when you have enough customer data. While customers are not afraid to share their personal data with brands, they want to know that their data is secure and used correctly. Needless to say, customer loyalty to a brand will thus be determined by how they leverage data. Manage the data well, and you earn customer trust. Be careless with it, and you will lose them as customers.
With such huge consequences, companies will invest in their cyber security infrastructure. They will also try to comply with all data regulations to show customers that their data is safe.
Prediction #4: AI-Powered Customer Service
Machine learning and artificial intelligence will be key in providing seamless and personalized customer service. The demand for AI-powered support will increase going forward as people want responses from brands quickly. And considering that AI chatbots can provide customized answers, it’s the best way forward for brands.
For this reason, seamless service also makes it into my list of CX predictions for 2023. Brands will invest heavily in machine learning and AI technologies to understand their customers better and support them seamlessly along the buyer’s journey.
Delivering seamless services also requires companies to maintain their integrated systems properly. As such, companies will work hard to level up their integrated data technologies to ensure proper functionality.
Prediction #5: Wider Adoption of Videos
As customer behavior continues to evolve, one of the CX predictions worth attention to is integrating videos into customer service. Here’s the thing—about 73% of consumers say that they’d prefer to watch a video to learn about a product or service. On the contrary, only 11% of them would read an article. This clearly shows how important videos could be for brands to serve their customers. In fact, the most popular form of videos—explainer videos—can help customers learn to use your products or services themselves.
Instead of packing your knowledge base with articles, you could use videos explaining everything to your customers in minutes. For instance, Movavi has created a how-to knowledge base that helps its users understand how to use their tool. Each listing in this knowledge base has an explainer video that helps deliver the message well.
Prediction #6: Investment in CX Must Deliver Clear Business Benefits
As we continue to experience many economic challenges, business leaders are becoming more disciplined about their investments to ensure all their expenditures deliver a healthy ROI. With the odds of a US recession within the next year now at 30%, businesses will be tightening their budgets and looking to get the most out of each dollar spent.
While many CX predictions involve using high-quality tools and technologies, including CX analytics tools to deliver a seamless user experience, these investments must deliver clear business benefits, or they will be axed. And that’s going to be a major trend in the coming year.
For example, if a business pays for a conversational AI to respond to customer queries online, the tool ought to bring clear benefits, such as driving more users to conversion.
In the last six months of 2022, we have seen many companies tightening their budgets and going slow on investments. Companies are doing this to increase their profitability; we expect this trend to continue well into 2023.
Prediction #7: Customer Loyalty and Retention Will Be Key, But it Won’t Just Be Driven By Rewards and Discounts
The challenges of 2022 have birthed a savvier, ultra-connected, and more engaged consumer. The economic challenges people have gone through have made them more pragmatic with their money, and they expect nothing short of the best from the brands they buy from.
For this reason, one of my top Customer experience predictions for 2023 is the rise of a new breed of consumers who have higher expectations regarding the customer experience throughout the buyer’s journey. Price won’t be the only thing that’ll matter. They expect brands to tailor their experience to their needs and personalize their products and services. The failure to do this will see customers abandon the brand for one more suited to their CX needs.
To appeal to this new breed of customers, brands must up their game. It won't be about discounts and rewards anymore, and brands will have to find new ways to build a lasting connection with their customer, such as:
Tangible discounts – Brands will have to offer discounts to customers to encourage them to spend. As such, personalized cashback programs will be one of the top CX predictions for the coming year.
Support worthy causes – Brands will have to find relatable ESG causes that appeal to their target users and support them. For example, Lush, a cosmetic brand targeting a younger audience, knows its target users are against environmental pollution. To support this cause, the brand sells 66% of its products naked to reduce plastic waste.
Prediction #8: Personalized and Individualized Customer Experiences
Last on my list of CX predictions for the coming year is personalized customer experiences. The current crop of customers expects brands to understand their unique tastes and engage them individually, not as customer types or segments.
Companies will invest in technologies that allow them to understand their customers better to fulfill this demand. They will prioritize data collection at every customer journey stage to ensure they have enough information to deliver a personalized user experience.
2023 will be a big year in the customer experience industry. My top CX predictions for next year include more investments in customer insights, voice and video customer support, personalized customer experiences, more investments in cybersecurity, and seamless services. To stay ahead of the pack, you need to start implementing these strategies to earn the trust and loyalty of your customers.
Guest Author - Reena Aggarwal
Reena is the Director of Operations and Sales at Attrock, a result-driven digital marketing company. With 10+ years of sales and operations experience in the field of e-commerce and digital marketing, she is quite an industry expert. She is a people person and considers human resources as the most valuable asset of a company. In her free time, you would find her spending quality time with her brilliant, almost teenage daughter and watching her grow in this digital, fast-paced era.