The 15 Business Dynamics Shaping Customer Experience in 2017

It’s that time of the year again, the most wonderful time as the song goes, certainly the most wonderful time of the year for analyst predictions. Forrester recently published a list of 15 business dynamics that are shaping the future in what they are calling “the age of the customer”.

You can read the complete report from Forrester here or an nice analysis of the proposals in the report by Forbes magazine here. I have looked through the report and the top five dynamics I can see mentioned are as follows:

  • 30% of CMOs will be let go in 2017; that’s scary if you are running a marketing team, but why is the figure so high. Do you remember my last blog on how quickly the marketing function is blending to include customer service and other customer facing activities? Forrester does not believe that every marketing leader will be able to adjust to this change so at least a third of them will be gone and replaced by leaders with a wider vision on how customer engagement works today.
  • Leadership needs digital expertise and a customer focus; customers are using more channels and becoming more demanding. This means that corporate leaders need to really understand how digital transformation is changing their industry and how customer-centricity is shaping the way that companies are structured – see the previous point about CMOs who cannot deal with change.
  • Scarcity of CX experts; if you understand the customer experience and processes like experience design then you will be in demand in 2017. The industry needs people who not only understand customer service processes, but how the entire customer journey works and how customers want to experience brands.
  • Revenue risk increase; this is urgent and important. A single negative experience used to be bad news as millennials would switch brands. Now Forrester is suggested that around 65% of customers will switch brands after one single negative experience. Customers using their ability to switch brand as punishment for even a single poor experience is become normal – not just how the young behave.
  • AR and VR come to life; we have talked about Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality for years, but it looks like 2017 is when brands will really start using them to improve the customer experience for two different reasons. First, there will be millions of Sony and Microsoft games consoles sold in 2017 with VR built-in as standard – that means millions of homes will be equipped for VR experiences. Second, retail brands are desperate to improve their in-store experience as customers are starting to prefer online shopping. AR could be one way to really improve the experience of going to a physical store.

Finally, I think a real focus in 2017 will be the operational models to support all these developments on the customer side with new applications for automation, new skills for customer service staff and a re-evaluation of onshore, near shore and offshore strategy as the cost to serve remains critical in uncertain economic times.

That’s my take on the Forrester predictions. I’d like to hear what you think are the key takeaways from their research on the business dynamics shaping CX in 2017. Leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn.

Future Interfaces 2014Photo by NYC Media Lab licensed under Creative Commons.

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