home Customer Experience, Employee Experience The Future of Customer Experience: Where it’s heading in the next five years

The Future of Customer Experience: Where it’s heading in the next five years

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once famously said: “we see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

Offering good customer experience (CX) is non-negotiable for any business, and investing in the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform is critical to driving innovation and keeping up with ever-increasing customer expectations.

From personalisation, omnichannel experiences and self-service options to trust and transparency, several CX trends have been clear for a while. We’re also seeing the rise of voice and visual search, and ever more intelligent AI technology taking over human functions.

The emphasis is, therefore, on using humans for high-quality customer interactions, where automated and self-serve channels can’t solve an issue. The customer service team would be able to focus more on adding value and “active” support, including identifying a problem before it occurs.

With many companies relying on casual and temporary workers due to skills shortages, a powerful CRM platform that can do the following is needed.

  1. Faster, easier onboarding

One of the challenges emerging from the pandemic and Great Resignation has been a loss of knowledge due to unprecedented staff turnover. Not only does this put pressure on remaining employees, but it leads to poorer customer service, customer loss and brand damage. Getting new staff up to speed quickly and efficiently is vital because trust is critical; confidence rapidly evaporates when a customer doesn’t feel an organisation understands its problem or its products and services.

CRM platforms can provide standardised training programs for new employees. They may have collaboration features, such as messaging and file sharing, that help new employees get assistance from more experienced colleagues and managers. They can track performance, enabling managers to identify problematic areas quickly and offer additional training before CX damage is done.

  1. Tailored and active support

Personalisation is a leading benefit of CRM and CX platforms. Through data and analytics, they can be tailored to individual customers and deliver a more proactive CX approach, as all the knowledge they need is in the platform.

Predictive analytics can also anticipate customer needs and offer help before it’s requested. For example, if a customer frequently orders a specific product, the platform may suggest related products or provide information about promotions or discounts. With our CRM platform, we track over 300 individual data points of our customers to understand their context and predict what we can do to help them proactively.

  1.  Speed to resolution

Solving customer issues quickly is very important. After reviewing many studies and observing and researching what customers value, we have found that the most significant impact we can make on our customer support is to ensure we provide the correct answer to their questions as soon as possible — basically, respecting customers’ time as much as we do our own, if not more so.

But now more than ever, companies experiencing a similar growth rate to Sidekicker can end up with a varied and fragmented tech stack. This frequently will lead to a lack of visibility and delays in problem-solving and customer experience – these mean slower, less informed outcomes.

For many queries, this means using a range of self-service options that guide customers to their solution in seconds, such as providing FAQs, access to a well-furnished Help Centre, and chatbots that will respond to questions instantly.

  1. Powerful AI chatbots like ChatGPT

One of the biggest innovations this year has been the arrival of ChatGPT, and now GPT-4. While chatbots are not new, they have suddenly leapt forward regarding usefulness and human-likeness. Some of the advancements include:

  • Natural language processing and machine learning to provide highly personalised customer experiences in real time. By analysing customer data and interactions, ChatGPT can tailor its responses to match a customer’s preferences and history, making the experience more relevant and engaging. 
  • Automating tasks such as answering frequently asked questions or providing order updates frees human agents to focus on more complex issues. This reduces wait times and improves efficiency, creating a better overall customer experience. 
  • 24/7, multichannel support is increasingly needed as businesses move into new markets and time zones. Customers can interact through their preferred channel at their preferred time, meaning less need to hire night-shift staff or use overseas contact centres. 

Will ChatGPT eventually replace customer service staff? Even the bot itself says no: “As an AI language model, I am not designed to replace human customer service staff, but rather to assist and enhance their work.” 

We will continue to see AI as a game-changer in transforming the customer experience industry as more and more queries are resolved through automated and self-serve channels. Businesses will double up their efforts in harnessing the power of these new innovative tools to make customer service more accessible and efficient so employees can focus on higher-value work, and complex issues and deal with emotionally charged situations that require human interaction and empathy – ultimately providing seamless customer experiences.

Having a robust CRM platform has enabled us to connect our teams and our tech stacks to create processes that allow us to quickly resolve issues by having access to the correct information without barriers or having to consult multiple sources of information. Our agents are significantly assisted by our Self-Service and AI support. Where an agent will be replying, we rely on automation to provide context, set expectations, and prime them for the interaction so we can make their dealings with us as frictionless and expedient as possible.

This means that it is crucial to choose the right CRM and understand its capabilities fully so we can take advantage of the latest advancements in AI and automation as soon as they are available. This keeps us at the forefront of technology and how it affects our CX.

Tom Amos

Tom Amos is the CEO and co-founder of Sidekicker. He drives Sidekicker’s vision and strategy to build a market-leading platform where businesses can access Australia and New Zealand’s best community of skilled hourly workers–known as Sidekicks. Tom was most recently listed as #39, along with Sidekicker co-founder and Director Jacqui Bull, in Business News Australia’s 2022 Top 100 Young Entrepreneurs.