This is the first blog I have written in my new role as the CEO of Teleperformance UK and South Africa. I’m pleased to be taking over this leadership position at such an interesting time for anyone working in the area of delivering great customer experiences.
I believe the entire industry is now at an inflection point. Over the past half-decade the customer journey has dramatically changed. Customers started taking control of when they wanted service and how they wanted it to be delivered.
This decade has seen customer service move from a largely voice and email-based function to a multichannel environment where agents need expertise in social networking and marketing disciplines too. Improving the customer experience (CX) has become the number one priority for executives globally and as I wrote in my last blog there is a good reason for it – a better CX leads to better company performance.
But now this multichannel environment has become normalised. Which airline is not answering tweets and which hotel chain is not checking their reviews on Tripadvisor? We have quickly moved on from social interactions being innovative to being normal and expected.
The challenge today for most brands over the remaining period of this decade will fall largely within three areas in my opinion:
- Omnichannel; some customers are now finding that they prefer the online experience to shopping in-store. Online stores know the likes and dislikes of the customer. They can make great recommendations and offer deals that are relevant. Contrast that to walking into a busy store on a Saturday afternoon and expecting one-on-one service from an assistant who knows what you like and is authorised to offer you deals designed just for you. Making the experience as good in-store as online is a really important target for many brands today and comprises the customer journey, loyalty, and payment systems.
- Augmented Reality; until recently this was seen as a technology that had little purpose, but now the global Pokémon Go phenomenon has shown that people will embrace this mix of real and virtual if they can see a purpose. McDonald’s is supporting the roll-out of Pokémon Go in Japan and no doubt they will see an enormous boost as gamers visit their restaurants looking to ‘catch ‘em all’, but there are huge opportunities for brands now that people are getting familiar with the technology.
- Virtual Reality; another technology that has been seen as something we only need to worry about in future, but this year Sony will release their new VR-ready Playstation and early next year Microsoft will release their VR-ready Xbox. That puts VR systems in the homes of millions of people using familiar technology systems. Customers are going to expect a VR experience from some brands before they are ready to deliver it.
Of course the changing customer journey is having a big influence on the way that customers relate to brands. There is a focus on developing a long-term relationship that actually involves engagement now – and not always directly connected to a sale. But I think that in general, these next few years are going to be as disruptive for brands trying to manage the customer experience as the past 5 or 6 years was, when they all had to learn quickly about multichannel service.
Customers will no longer accept engagement, or just contact, as enough – they are going to want to be able to experience the brand, taking the customer journey to a whole new level. It’s an exciting time to be involved in planning the customer experience at all the fantastic clients Teleperformance works with and I’m excited about embracing this challenge!
What do you think are the key CX trends to watch out for in the remaining part of this decade? Leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn Profile here.
Photo by Yoshikazu Takada licensed under Creative Commons.