Discussing 13 Customer Experience Megatrends

In 2010, I wrote a report called 8 Customer Experience Megatrends and it’s now time to update the list of megatrends. I’m planning to publish a report in early 2012 with a new set of CX megatrends. As part of the process, I’m sharing a draft of the megatrends in order to get feedback. So please leave comments with your thoughts!

To prepare the updated list of megatrends, we’ve been doing a bunch of research which includes reading through responses from more than 300 CX professionals who recently answered our survey question: What trends do you think will have a significant effect on customer experience over the next few years? 

Here’s the initial draft of 13 CX Megatrends. As you’ll see, there are a few carryovers from the previous list. I’ve also taken some creative license to introduce new words.

Is there something missing? Do these make sense? How do you think the future of CX will play out?

The bottom line: We want to hear from you

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

10 Responses to Discussing 13 Customer Experience Megatrends

  1. Hi Bruce,

    I think the list is comprehensive and reflects much of what I’ve experienced in businesses in Ireland. Is the list prioritized? If so, I agree that employee engagement is probably the most significant trend, particularly as engagement and ‘ownership’ are such fundamental elements in creating an outstanding customer experience. Similarly, feedback from customers emphasises their frustration with ineffective self-service functions contributing to a desire to get through to a ‘person’.

    The one thing I’d bring out in addition to what you’ve listed is the need to drive retention through effective loyalty programmes and targeted, analytics-driven, campaiging. This remains a very pertinent topic for stretched businesses, focused on delivering ongoing value to their existing customer in a very challenging economy. For the time-being, i expect retention will trump acquisition as a focus area, reflecting the returns and economies that can be driven from a customer base versus the cost of acquisition.

    Regards,

    Andrew

  2. Bruce,

    It’s always great to get your insight. Thanks for sharing! I think you are spot on with all 13 trends. My company is already seeing point #1 in action. More and more companies seem to be embracing CX as an organization-wide priority and are rallying the support of all employees in all disciplines so they can deliver some major “wow factor” to customers this year. While the method companies use to do this will vary, I believe we’ll see those who are most successful and seriously dedicated to customer experience adopt or put plans in place to implement most if not all of the points you listed.

    We’ve also seen an increasing number of companies that are interested in analyzing their touchpoints and measuring the impact of each one on overall customer experience. CX professional are consistently telling us that they want to be sure the touchpoints they have in place are the right ones. They want to be sure that they are investing their resources in the areas that will enable them to provide the ultimate customer experience and deliver on the promises of their brand. Your points #12 (customer journey mapping) and #13 (including cx metrics) will help them know what those key “investment” areas should be, and will also point out the things they should potentially stop doing so they can shift resources to higher value areas and also focus on, as you said in point #10, customer value segmentation.

    Thank again for sharing these trends — if they hold true, it will certainly be an exciting year for all of us! I look forward to seeing your final version.

    Best regards,

    Jennifer

  3. Hi Bruce,

    Great list here, and quite comprehensive. It seems that many of the points address process or organizational changes, so you may want to consider calling it the 13 trends that will reshape CX management. Or you could summarize perhaps to 5 megatrends that underly 13 important points.

    From your list, I see 5 megatrends that form the underpinnings of these very applicable 13 points:
    1. The continued digitization of customer touchpoints,
    2. The proliferation of mobile,
    3. The “socialization” of communications,
    4. The wider adoption of advanced analytics, and
    5. Process/organizational changes that accompany customer-centric maturity.

    To your 11th point about loyalty, I’d add that we’ll probably see customers increasingly gravitate toward companies and brands that deliver a consistently well-managed experience because it will become clear which companies do not pay attention to customer experience as an operating priority.

    Thanks!
    JB

  4. Hi Bruce,

    Thank you so much for this comprehensive list. You should be commended for your continual focus on creating a systematic approach to the Customer Experience. You are helping drive this into a “science” that creates a clear pathway for success in the Customer Experience Management world. I do hope, however, that the emerging “science” of our business never forgets that, at the end of the day, all of the systems and technologies still must work together to support an “art”….the art of one person interacting with another to provide a great experience and build a relationship of loyalty to the brand, company and product. The art of the Customer Experience is still defined best by the service representative’s ability to listen to a customer’s story and then connect all of the systems, processes and technologies at their disposal into a solution that makes that customer “feel” valued. I know from your blog posts that you believe that….but my constant concern overall is that the emerging science of Customer Experience Management does not overshadow the power of really good behavior by reps who know how to shape the perceptions of their customers and create the outcomes that companies desperately need.

    Dr. John R Miller
    Pretium Solutions
    http://www.pretiumsolutions.com

    • rod butcher says:

      great point. Underpinning all of the trends for me, is the “softer” (or is it harder!) point about changing nature of relationship between company and customer and the recognition that we need to “humanise” our business, and give more to get more back, rather than continue to try to just take, take take.

      Good list, Bruce.

  5. Deryk says:

    Bruce, if companies are able to focus on even a few of the items in this list, they will be much further ahead than they are today. Many companies are still stuck on being unable to execute on much older “trends” that should be well past table stakes. Well done sir.

  6. Bruce Temkin says:

    Andrew: The list wasn’t really prioritized, at least not intentionally. I agree wholeheartedly that retention is critical. It’s baked into a lot of things on the list but I’ll think about of it needs some more special treatment.

    John: I think you are an analyst at heart (I mean that as a complement). CX management is probably more accurate wording and I like your characterization of the underlying trends.

    Dr. John: I totally agree. At the end of the day, it often comes down to human interactions. Best Buy’s customer experience may be dreamed up in Minneapolis, but it’s success is in the hands of 100K hourly workers interacting with customers (I made up those numbers). But I still think you can (and must) apply science to the art of interactions. Companies create environments that heavily influence how their employees behave; so they need to make sure that they establish the right environment.

    Deryk: I agree that many companies are still trying to get some of the absolute basics down. Hopefully we can collectively move the needle forward.

    Thanks for your great feedback! What else do people think about the list,

  7. Mateo says:

    Great list but in plain text it would be more accessible on mobile devices

  8. Nestor J Portillo says:

    Hi

    This is a great list. I am also selling inside my company the need to have content (How-to or break-fix) that is socially friendly. Today customers are creating and consuming content in different ways so it is an imperative to have the companies creating content that is easy to share in social media, that is easy to interact and consume in the 3 screens (Mobile/tablet, PC and TV) as well as enable more user generated content as it has credibility and can cover the long tail that is difficult for companies to cover.

    The design of the social friendly content needs to be “shareable” but at the same time needs to have a connection with the brand or the product. I read while ago an article from Coca-Cola and they explained a concept that really captured my attention, they were talking about content that is liquid and it is the best description of how the companies have to think about content because: a) It will be shared by your customers in different formats (e.g.: Tweet, Facebook Share, blog post or a forum post) and it needs to be flexible and meaningful; b) Needs to transmit sort type of affiliation back to the brand or the company as it is going to be altered and changed by customers. It is good to create content that is easy to share but it is important to do not break the connection between the content and your brand. A good examples are the VW and/or CocaCola contest where the user created the content (completely unmanaged) however it includes the brand several times (e.g.: VW Darth Vader).

    A big swing from Customer satisfaction to customer loyaltyand effort. With the proliferation of multiple channels it is important to think about customer effort when interacting with a company or a brand. Long waits on the phone, complicated website navigation, endless IVR options and “company jargon” usage in the content are not longer accepted by customers. Search engines are the default for customers looking to for information so concepts like discoverability, linkage and multichannel exposure are becoming very important these days. As an example I believe customer service team will need to embrace SEO as a discipline to surface self-help content or customer service offerings in one click. Today SEO efforts are perceived as a marketing discipline and no as a customer service discipline. I believe this will change very fast in the coming years.

    Hope this helps!

    Thanks

    Nestor Portillo

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