With every new year comes new customer experience trends and innovations. On the horizon for 2018 is an increase in customer advisory boards, new job titles, and the next frontier of customer experience-related innovation management. But, what exactly does that mean for your business?
Read on for four customer experience trends and 2018 predictions that will affect your customer experience strategy, and the technology behind them.
Prediction #1: New routes to gain customer intimacy
As executives in the finance office begin to notice a declining correlation between Net Promoter Score (NPS) and ROI on their CX programs, new methods to measure baseline customer satisfaction attributable to added revenue will emerge. 2018 will be the year we begin to see an increase in customer advisory boards, which will allow brands to have a more direct connection to their segmented customers to learn more about the impact products and services have on those customers most likely to purchase them.
This is the interesting part—savvy brands will begin to use their customer advisory boards as proxies for field sales. With trust as the central component of buyer confidence, brands will use their managed advisory boards to inject that trust from customers directly—harnessing advocacy more explicitly to accelerate buying cycles.
Tech Trend: Customer experience technologies will need to play a key role in how brands create and manage their customer advisory boards. Think of it as the next generation of both the online facilitated brand community and a loyalty program working in concert.
Prediction #2: Increased focus on innovation management
Today, there are subtle connections between customer experience and innovation management. These connections will become much stronger in 2018 out of necessity. Smart brands already do the work of converting ideas about enhanced customer experience into an operational reality through cycles of measured innovation. However, the next frontier of customer experience-related innovation management will become more proactive, specifically tied to the buyer/customer journey—and, it will be far more customizable and personalized.
Tech Trend: We will begin to see innovation management software focused specifically on customer experience and it will be organized around the buyer journey. Not surprisingly, some customer experience journey software is already beginning to hint toward this. 2018 will see software, explicitly re-engineered to help people who design enhanced customer journeys, catalog exciting new enhancements into their customer experience innovation pipelines.
Prediction #3: Competition to own the customer interface
2018 may finally be the year we see more traditional enterprise marketing handing the buyer interface over to the customer experience crew—or at least a wholesale revamp of their target marketing analysis. As companies get more surgical about the distinctions between the different stages of “customer being” (pre-purchase, purchase, post-purchase), the sales and marketing function will borrow process from the post-purchase team and apply it to pre-purchase stage analysis. Journey-based work has demonstrated that we can successfully gain intimacy in the experiential world of the customer—now it’s time to begin applying it to the pre-purchase phases.
Prediction #4: Customer experience welcomes the “client” in 2018
There is traditional customer experience and then there is “client experience.” The client experience is similar to customer experience, but instead focuses on the partnership or relationship as the product. In traditional customer experience, teams are focused more on the quantity and volume of experiences, whereas in client experience the focal point is 100% about partnership quality.
2018 will finally usher in a more rigorous process to help the legal, CPA, investment banking, architecture, engineering, construction, and consulting industries adopt customer experience practices. We will begin to see a lot more content centered around the client experience that helps these industries redesign greater value exchange into their key partnerships.
Tech Trend: A lot more energy and technology investments will go toward creating accurate client segmentation and client journey work to help firms identify their key audience and address their needs with greater priority and precision. Look for new job titles like Partnership Economist, which will become instrumental in helping firms guard their most vital assets—their partnerships with key high-value clients.