Cxtrendsin2019 Boxfusion

What are the CX trends we'll see in 2019?

  • 5 min read

A Q&A with Boxfusion Co-Founder Andy Stevens and CX Architect Yilmaz Ozturk.

With the new year ahead, it's time to evaluate the current customer experience (CX) dos and don'ts, and we should think about CX trends we expect to see in 2019. Here's what Andy and Yilmaz think.

What do you see as the key customer experience (CX) trends for 2019? #

Andy: I definitely think the shift to CX as key brand differentiator over product and price will continue. There is great pressure on CxOs to meet growing customer expectations, so they will be striving for best-of-breed solutions that deliver a joined up, consistent experience across customer touchpoints. Automation in the customer journey will continue to become more noticeable over the next year across industries, with artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots being applied to a lot of everyday customer interactions.

Yilmaz: Just to provide an example, we were lucky enough to help one of our logistics clients become an early chatbot ‘adopter’ within the industry - this would deflect customer queries about the whereabouts of their parcels to a bot, meaning customer service agents had time to focus on more complex queries.

The company started with a small proof of concept which bolted onto an agile CX platform (Oracle CX Cloud), and they’re now looking at advancing their CX in other areas.

What mistakes have you seen being made with CX initiatives? #

Andy: The mistake we see time and again is companies trying to do too much, too soon. The key is to start small and focus on the foundation, just like Yilmaz’ chatbot example. Technology trends are evolving so fast that companies should focus on the flexibility of their platform so that they are able to adapt to technology developments. You could spend months implementing a solution to a single trend in its silo but, by the time its live, the solution is outdated and your opportunity to stay ahead of the competition passes.

As part of that foundation, one of the crucial things for CX is data quality and this is where the saying ‘garbage in, garbage out’ comes to mind. What is artificial intelligence (AI) without good data? It will only be as powerful as the data it has been fed.

What are some of the most inspiring CX initiatives you’ve seen from brands recently? #

Andy: I’m most inspired by CX change programmes that make lives easier and interactions with brands more enjoyable. Melia Hotels and Resorts has recently introduced an experience that enables guests to open room doors, shop, spa and purchase meals from one wearable device - a wristband.

I’ve also found the integration of image recognition into everyday devices exciting. Snap Tech, for example, takes an image of a fashion item and locates similar items online. The Asos app is a great example of where this sort of technology is being used to drive sales.

Lastly, I would mention the Amazon Go initiative. Uber disrupted the transport industry by completely phasing out the human interaction their customers had with the driver post-journey; think about how quickly this started to feel normal. Amazon now have shops that allow you to purchase items without stopping to queue or pay - all via a mobile app hooked up to your Amazon Account.

Where are you seeing businesses succeeding with AI initiatives? #

Andy: For sales businesses internally, a virtual sales assistant offers speedy updates to sales staff such as meeting details and contact history. They also provide sales teams with the ability to record meeting notes, leads and opportunities without the need to log on to their CRM.

Yilmaz: We all know it can be difficult to get information out of the sales team and there are many reasons why it isn’t making it’s way into the CRM e.g. poor technology, no time and so forth. Digital assistants give sales professionals the chance to interact with the system easier, which enables the organisation to capture as much information as they can. Typing 'Remind me to call John Smith at ABC Bank tomorrow’ is much easier than logging into a CRM and clicking 10 times to find the notes field.

Andy: Another example of a successful AI initiative is virtual concierges. This is a clever way for hotels and resorts to enhance their customers’ in-stay experience by giving them the choice to instantly communicate with a bot about restaurant opening times, nearby landmarks, taxi bookings etc. Being able to do that from your room or while out-and-about is a great concept that makes your stay just that bit less stressful.

Yilmaz: I can also see chatbots being used to gather Marketing information. Circling back to Andy's example, after communicating with hotel guests in real-time, interactions can be used to capture guest preferences which then feed into the company CRM. If I keep ordering a particular beer brand today, the hotel will know to stock my fridge with my favourite beer tomorrow. It’s all about ‘surprising and delighting’, giving the customer a more personalised service that reminds them they aren’t just a room number.

What do you think is achievable for companies in terms of their CX strategy this year? #

Andy: Companies should focus on foundational components. Businesses need to gain the agility to react to shifts in technology and consumer trends, so the CX strategy needs to be manageable. If venturing into the world of AI initiatives, start with the core scenarios which approach the most common interactions with your customers. Observe how it is working, tweak it and you can build out from there.

Some industries move faster than others when it comes to CX and different companies will be at a different stage of their CX strategy (e.g. some will be in the middle of big internal technology mergers, some standardising how they use data and so forth). Therefore, it’s definitely not ‘one-size-fits-all’ in terms of determining your approach to CX change.

Crucially, we would advise companies don’t jump straight into emerging technology innovation without knowing how it will tie-in with their overall business processes and technology architecture. That way, you can be innovative in adapting to your customers’ needs, whilst also building for long-term, strategic, success.

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