In 2018, almost all verticals saw the emergence of new and invigorating technology trends. From the incorporation of advanced AI to self-serving kiosks, technology proved its mass importance, yet again.
With 2019 on the horizon, keeping tech trends top of mind is more critical than ever. By simply being cognizant of the new and emerging trends and implementing them where necessary, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and prepare for a successful new year, and beyond.
In this report, we’re taking feedback from our partners, key events, and clients to outline the biggest and most promising customer experience technology trends for 2019. In particular, the top trends driving both Voice of Customer, and Omni-channel Customer Engagement.
Voice of Customer
This year, listening to the voice of the customer proved to be a powerful tactic to exceeding their expectations. With new technologies emerging, voice of customer programs have become even easier to personalize and deploy in a timely manner. Businesses can now optimize the feedback received and obtain the most useful customer insights to drive return visits and increase revenues. In 2019, here is what to expect in terms of new voice of customer solutions and best practices:
More Timely In-the-Moment Surveys
Although sending a survey is an integral part of understanding the customer, the timeliness of deployment also has a major impact on customer response rates and overall team engagement.
The old standard of sending an email survey a few days after purchase or service causes for a delayed response which in many cases can be too late to recover. What’s more, teams won’t find the information relevant if it’s weeks or months later, something in-the-moment surveys have mastered.
A great example of effective in-the-moment surveys is Sodexo. This global food services company uses in-the-moment mobile surveys and on-site kiosks to win back at-risk guests and deliver an unforgettable experience. By using a simple interface, teams can prompt guests to share their opinions on food quality, dining area cleanliness, or share comments on disappointing as well as excellent experiences. Management and various teams can then use these insights to address problems and ensure that guests are satisfied, to improve the likelihood of a return visit, more positive online reviews, and take best practices and promote them chain-wide.
By the end of 2019, giving customers the opportunity to provide feedback in-the-moment with a few simple clicks, is something all industries will see as the new norm. However, it’s important to consider that in-the-moment survey deployment will put significant pressure on marketers. With it, they’ll need to determine how they want to pivot away from e-mail and towards in-the-moment customer feedback using on-site, in-app, SMS text, social, or messaging channels.
You may be thinking, “What is the difference between in-the-moment feedback and real-time feedback?” Simple, in-the-moment feedback is about pushing out or measuring the customer experience at the right time. Real-time feedback, on the other hand, is about getting the results immediately so you can respond and recover at-risk customers.
Take A&W Canada for example. To date, more than 15 percent of A&W’s guests are using the Loop Pulse™ solution with a Scoreboard to provide their input in real-time, a rate that is almost fifteen times higher than standard industry metrics. With the implementation of a customer engagement solution, they noticed higher response rates when the scoreboard was made visible to guests, suggesting that the real-time transparency adds an important element of gamification to the process – making guests more likely to provide their feedback.
This approach by A&W Canada engages teams and encourages guests to provide more timely feedback – so the customer experience is elevated and team members provide the best service possible. Further, real-time notifications allow management to address the issues immediately with a guest to correct or recover them before they have can go on social media or review sites to voice their issues publically.
In 2019, expect real-time feedback to be a major focus for customer-centric brands, as they start pairing customer feedback with AI, natural language processing, and Customer Engagement Management or CEM solutions to be actionable. Whether teams decide to respond to feedback on an in-store kiosk or within an app, having automated tools in place to alert teams in real-time will be a differentiator for brands in 2019
The Future of Net Promoter Scores
In 2019, Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys will no longer be sent out exclusively via email. As a business in looking to stay top of mind with the customer and to receive optimal feedback, it’s important that you go digital and incorporate newer technology with your survey. In 2019, more and more companies will modernize their digital NPS survey programs to deploy strategic questions throughout key moments of the customer’s journey and across multiple channels, to improve survey participation and enhance accuracy and timeliness of data.
As discussed extensively in a few Benbria articles, NPS has been dubbed the “ultimate metric for gauging customer loyalty” helping companies in multiple verticals gain a competitive edge. With changes in customer dynamics and a revolutionary digital age, pairing an NPS using old-school methods could prove to be out of date by the end of 2019.
Similar to a voice of customer program, omni-channel engagement continues to be a major focus for companies building out a CX strategy. With various industries using it as a means to provide fluid and efficient communication with customers – it’s predicted to skyrocket in 2019, for several reasons.
Rich Content Texting
Today, the GSMA estimates that there will be 350 million Rich Content Texting users by the end of 2018, and a billion in 2019. Quite obviously, the first trend one can expect to see for omni-channel engagement is how to take advantage of this new and richer texting experience.
For those new to Rich Content Texting, also referred to as Rich Content Services or RCS, the impact is significant. First, it allows businesses to seamlessly connect with customers by text, in a way that is just as captivating as messaging via over the top messaging apps – like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. It includes features that elevate the experience, including group chats, sharing high-res images or videos, using GIFS or even sending locations – characteristics that are non-existent with regular texting. With RCS, regardless of channel, team members are able to send a message to the customer and they’ll receive it in the same way they sent their message. A revolutionary way of building connections.
In 2019, the adoption of RCS will help simplify the communication experience for both your team members and customers – opening a whole new world of opportunity to engage beyond simple text messages and links.
WhatsApp & B2C Messaging Growth
In 2018, messaging channels took precedence and shifted the communication landscape between business and customer. For the new year, this usage is expected to rise even further with over the top (OTT) Messaging Apps continuing to focus on the lucrative opportunities of connecting customers with businesses.
This is a fast growing segment of the communications market and 2019 will be its most aggressive year. In 2016, WhatsApp had 18.8 million monthly active users and is set to grow to 25.6 million users by 2021, in the U.S alone. In addition, Facebook Messenger reported in 2017 a whopping 1.82 billion mobile phone messaging app users worldwide, which has since been anticipated to reach 2.48 billion by 2021. WhatsApp is now piloting business customers, of which Benbria is also participating with our enterprise clients, to turn it into a B2C channel to rival email, phone, mobile apps, and SMS.
Number of mobile phone messaging app users worldwide from 2016 to 2021 (in billions)
Full Journey Engagement.
Engaging customers in a transactional manner, at a single moment in their journey is a tactic of the past. A trend we forecast for 2019 will involve engaging the customer throughout their entire buying journey – from the moment they think about walking into your establishment, to well after they’ve left.
Connecting with customers at multiple touch points is a great way to keep your brand top of mind, increase direct communication with teams, and drive repeat visits. An effective way to do this is by adopting a Customer Experience Management solution that allows you to connect with a customer from a variety of touchpoints, throughout their journey. Whether it be from a kiosk at the entrance of your establishment, a text message when a customer is in the middle of their visit, or an email after they have left, engaging at multiple stages and on multiple channels will be an expectation for customers through 2019 and beyond.
By embracing the concept of exceptional customer experience and engaging at the right moment, you can drive both loyalty and revenue.
With 2019 on the horizon and technology continuing to grow at lightning speed – adjusting to future trends is essential to stay in the modern customer’s good graces. From Rich Content Texting to in-the-moment surveys, real-time feedback to multi-touch; 2019 is all about listening to the customer’s needs and adjusting your business objectives accordingly. Further, the wave of messaging channels opening up to businesses as a tool to connect with customers, combined with full-journey engagement technology to help build more loyal relationships, will make 2019 a great year for customers everywhere.