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Topic(s): Customer Centricity Customer Engagement Employee Engagement

The Future? It's People-Centric!

How can companies prepare for customers the day after tomorrow? Markets are changing, customer demographics become less clear and it doesn't suffise anymore to just simply sell the best product. In other words, the future poses some challenges that companies will have to overcome. At Hello Customer we are always prepared to offer some good advice. We listed some crucial CX learnings that can help you well on your way to tackle these obstacles. 

Spoiler: it's all about people ;-)

1. Establish convenience, but do it as humanly as possible

During a trip to San Francisco we were amazed by how convenient and fast things happen. Whether it's taking an Uber from the airport or checking in in your hotel, everything runs smoothly. Often there's a lot of technology involved to increase convenience. But what's more important is that the human connection isn't lost in the process. This is important to keep in mind, because customers will always want to be treated as human beings first. So even though they can easily book a cab on their phone, they still want to have a pleasant conversation with the cab driver too.

Convenience and the human connection are interlinked. When you focus on extreme convenience for your customers, it also becomes extremely convenient for your employees to offer the best possible customer experience. Convenience opens up space mentally and in the timetable for your employees to forge a human connection which improves CX. But when everything happens as frictionless as possible, your employees will be happier in their jobs and they'll be happy to talk to their customers.

And as we all know, happy employees = happy customers!

2. True Customer Experience isn't created in a bubble

If companies want to change for future success, they have to cater to the needs of the modern customer. Who is this modern customer, and how can companies respond to their wishes and needs?

  • The modern customer is not to be put in a box or can't be segmented. This is Generation C. They are breaking through barriers of demographics. Gen C isn't an age group, it's a mindset defined by creation, connection and community.
  • In light of this, companies need to 'unlearn' everything they have learned in the past. Since customer profiles are changing, old adages will not cut it anymore in the future.
  • Customer Experience is the true engine of innovation. The customer should be the starting point for any changes companies wish to make. Start from understanding and really knowing, then reverse engineer.
  • If they really want to understand their customers, it's important for companies to get out of the bubble. Many organisations design experience and map journeys within their bubble without speaking to a single customer. That simply doesn't make any sense, since your customers are your prime source of information when it comes to customer experience.

3. AI + Humans = recipe for success!

Artificial Intelligence still tends to scare a lot of people. But underneath the layer of 'magic' lies a system that can improve our lives drastically. More than anything AI can automate a lot of work, predict with insane precision and most importantly it can help humans in doing their work better and more efficiently.

DigitalGenius has amazing expertise on how AI is already helping organizations win in creating amazing customer service. Their AI learns from former conversations in a customer service department. This enables the platform to understand incoming chats and mails, to automatically handle it with bots (limited for the time being) and to suggest answers to the real reps.

There's an evolution going on in AI as well. It used to go from human to digital, but it's getting more human again as AI helps companies cater to the needs of their customers. It gives organizations an in-depth insight into customer conversations to improve customer experience.

4. Retailers have to blend the digital and the physical

Let's make one thing clear. Retail isn't dead and people will not disappear from it either. It will become more digital, but feel more human. Retailers however will have to adapt to the changing landscape if they want to stay relevant.

  • We see a lot of juxtapositions these days. Ecommerce versus retail, omnichannel versus multichannel. The solution is not to think in terms of digital and physical as separate markets, but to blend the two together.
  • Whether they buy something online or in a store, customer understanding remains key. Design your service and experience around them. Make sure you understand everything about them, what drives customers in real life? E.g. discounters need to understand that a large part of their audience is people living from paycheck to paycheck, which requires a different approach.
  • Keep in mind that in retail customer journeys are changing as well. In-store experience probably constitutes only 30% of the entire journey anymore. You have to improve the befores and afters if you want to deliver the most complete customer experience.

5. Authentic advertising is key

If you want to reach customers through advertising, there are some rules of thumb to keep in mind before you spend any budget on it. Pereira & O'Dell, a famous advertising and content agency advises to focus on compelling storytelling. Why?

  • People hate advertising, but they are willing to engage in amazing content.
  • Therefore advertising must bring value for customers as they are willing to spend their time on it.
  • Authenticity is probably the most important aspect of your advertising. Show the good, the bad and the ugly. When companies aren't afraid to show that they're only human as well, customers will be able to relate.

So to conclude...

If companies want to prepare for customers the day after tomorrow, their Customer Experience should:

  1. Be convenient for customers and employees,
  2. Always start from the customer's point of view,
  3. Rely on AI since it can and will improve everyone's lives,
  4. Be adapted to an increasingly digital world, without losing the human touch,
  5. Include clever and compelling storytelling that moves away from old advertising.