The recent acceleration in digital transformation has changed digital channels and the way we use them forever. Digital experiences continue to evolve with significantly more channels and even more potential omnichannel use cases. Experts report that digital customer experience trends have become a top competitive differentiator, and companies that stay at the forefront of technology will dominate their industries.
Digital experience trends are driving your customers’ expectations and preferences. While the right technology is certainly key to success when it comes to digital experiences, the right strategy is still the most important component. That strategy must address the top digital experience trends happening now. As the experts in the customer experience industry, we have our finger on the pulse of these trends. Here are the top five you must consider as you move forward in 2022.
Centralizing Strategy and Platform
Centralization onto a single platform—or set of platforms—helps destroy existing silos, simplify tasks, and improve data management. It’s extremely challenging to build a holistic view of your customer without centralization. Unfortunately, many companies see this problem and apply the wrong solution. They attempt to centralize their operations by choosing technology first, and then the strategy filters down from that choice. When it comes to digital experiences, you have to prioritize centralization as part of your primary strategy.
After you determine the right strategy, you can then choose the right technologies to enable it. At Avtex, we talk about setting your “North Star,” which means determining your overarching customer experience goals first. Defining your North Star and determining measurable outcomes based on that philosophy forms the basis of a centralized strategy. From there, it’s a much simpler process to evaluate technologies that get you to your desired endgame.
Another important digital experience trend takes us beyond traditional self-service options like FAQs and knowledge-based libraries. Today’s superior customer experiences require superior self-service experiences. Sudden changes (like social distancing) in 2020 created an urgent need for more remote, self-service options that leverage artificial intelligence and virtual assistants to empower your customers to help themselves and find what they’re looking for faster. A CX strategy that includes the optimization of self-service builds a tremendous competitive advantage if your technology can scale to include increasingly smarter options as preferences and capabilities change. The key is to think beyond what’s possible now and to imagine how data can be leveraged in the future to motivate your customers and your employees to help themselves efficiently and effectively.
Driving Smarter Automation
Intelligent automation should be a major consideration for improving quality, decreasing labor costs, and accelerating agility in most aspects of your company. Perhaps most important, however, is that advancements in speech recognition, intelligent data, bots, and other AI solutions are the driving force behind the best customer experiences. Smarter automation requires the right technology, but once again it cannot determine your overall strategy. The idea is to first identify the most valuable areas of your operation to automate. At the same time, you have to evaluate where person-to-person interactions reap the highest rewards. The answers to both these questions will drive a stronger overarching strategy that supports high-value live interactions, promotes deeper and more long-lasting customer engagement, and helps you reach your goals that much faster.
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Making Data Live AND Actionable
Analyzing data after the fact is not enough anymore. Today, you have to use customer experience data to predict the next behavior, and the next, and the next. In other words, you need data management that delivers a real-time, current, and clear understanding of your customer. From there you need to build a bridge between that understanding and the next desired action. While processes and tools play a large role in making data live and actionable, it’s imperative to start with a strong data and analytics strategy that transforms raw data into accurate and predictive customer intelligence. Centralizing data by destroying silos within the broader data ecosystem can help create real-time, 360-degree customer visibility to better serve and propel the digital experiences forward. Incorporating trends in smarter automation by deploying AI technology as part of the overall stack can extract data more efficiently and inform every customer interaction more intelligently.
Moving to the Cloud
All of the important digital experience trends you need to address in 2022 would be better served with a strong cloud strategy at the foundation. While moving to the cloud can reduce costs for businesses by up to 40%, it’s not the only reason so many companies report that cloud migration has improved their operation. Cloud technology, for example, enables centralized strategies, real-time actionable data, and advanced self-service options. Removing silos and other obstructions to effective data management means moving away from on-premise systems and into the cloud. To be blunt, to stay competitive you’ll have to move to the cloud whether you want to or not. The good news is that there are far more advantages to moving to the cloud than you may realize. When determining the ROI of cloud migration you need to think beyond the obvious benefit of more scalable architecture and more flexibility when it comes to channel deployment. Addressing the most important digital experience trends begins with the right strategy, and that strategy needs to include a serious review of your current platforms. If the technology you’re using doesn’t have a cloud migration plan, it’s time to consider alternatives.
There may be other digital experience trends to consider based on your industry, your cloud maturity, and other factors. We’re confident, however, that addressing centralization, data, self-service options, automation, and cloud migration will help keep you ahead of the competition, and flexible enough to adapt to the ever-changing needs and preferences of your customers.