11 Customer Experience Trends for 2016 (The Year of Emotion)

WatchRecordedWebinarIt’s once again the time of year for me to publish my CX trends. In my post last year I named 2015 “The Year of Employee.” With this post, I’m declaring 2016 “The Year of Emotion.”

1512_CXTrends4In the upcoming year, CX will continue to grow in importance for companies and an even larger number of organizations will begin their CX journeys. In this environment, we expect to see:

  1. Culture Change Intensifying. WatchRecordedWebinarPeter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for lunch.” We agree and believe that customer experience is a reflection an organization’s culture and operating processes. As you can see in our video Driving CX Transformation, customer-centric culture requires mastering four CX core competenciesPurposeful LeadershipCompelling Brand ValuesEmployee Engagement, and Customer Connectedness. We saw a surge of interest in the topic of culture in 2015, and we expect even more executives to begin the long-term journey of culture change in 2016.
  2. Effort Metric Expanding.WatchRecordedWebinar Every interaction has three components: Success, Effort, and Emotion. Companies have started to use versions of an “effort” score as a key CX metric, because it provides a good mechanism for identifying areas of improvement. We expect this trend to intensify, and for effort to become a more mainstream topic next year. See the 2015 Temkin Effort Ratings.
  3. Customer Journey Designing. WatchRecordedWebinarCustomer journey mapping has become one of the most popular CX tools as it helps provide a customer-oriented viewpoint. While many of these efforts have been heavily focused on isolated mapping events, we expect to see companies use the lessons from CJM to drive more decisions and changes across their organizations. As this happens, we recommend that more companies adopt what we call Customer Journey Thinking©.
  4. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile… Continuing. Mobile continues to become a more dominant interaction channel… and through increasingly varied types of devices. In 2016, we expect more companies to get beyond the basic level of making mobile-friendly websites and launching mobile apps. Organizations will rethink their offerings and operating processes, baking in assumptions that customers and employees are continuously connected.
  5. Speech Analytics Piloting. As companies get comfortable using text analytics and collecting customer insights from unstructured data, they often focus on their largest interaction dataset: contact center calls. While the technology has limited the use of speech analytics in the past, we believe 2016 will be the tipping point and expect to see a flutter of companies with speech analytics pilots.
  6. Predictive Analytics Personalizing.WatchRecordedWebinar As companies connect rich customer feedback with reams of CRM and operational data, the value of predictive modeling will rise exponentially. In 2016, we expect to see firms that have built data hubs over the last few years investing in predictive modeling and using the insights to develop a more personalized treatment of customers.
  7. Metrics to Action Realigning. WatchRecordedWebinarVoice of the customer programs (including NPS), are a mainstream component of most CX programs. But these efforts overly focus on collecting data at the expense of taking action on the insights. The problem stems from a desire to measure and track everything, which ends up consuming much of VoC teams’ capacity and budget. Next year we expect an increasing number of companies to shift their emphasis from tracking metrics to enabling action. As this occurs, they will lower their reliance on multiple-choice ratings scales to focus more on unstructured sources (comments, contact center interactions, etc.) and will increase their use of more qualitative techniques such as customer interviews and ethnography.
  8. Value-as-a-Service Emerging. As consumers get comfortable with companies like Uber and AirBnB and use more iTunes apps and cloud-based applications, they are being trained to pay for things as they need them. The notion of buying something that you may or may not use in the future is becoming outdated. In 2016, we expect this consumer behavior to push more companies to break apart their offerings into bite-sized pieces. As this happens companies will need to earn loyalty more frequently and ensure that customers get value from the things that they purchase.
  9. Employee CX & Empathy Training. WatchRecordedWebinarAs more companies roll out their CX change efforts, we expect to see them look for ways to train large groups of employees – to teach them basic CX concepts and to instill a sense of customer empathy. Why? Because more firms realize that sustainable CX success requires engaging employees — not simply introducing processes changes and expecting “blind” compliance. In 2016, the need for this training will grow rapidly, and CX professionals will respond by working with their training departments and outside consultants.
  10. CX Profession Maturing. WatchRecordedWebinarCustomer experience has come a long way over the last few years, as CX practitioners have shared lessons learned and improved upon best practices. Nothing illustrates this maturity better than the Customer Experience Professionals Association and the increasing number of Certified Customer Experience Professionals. As this trend continues, we expect to see CX professionals become more focused on helping their organizations achieve business and brand objectives. This will change their role from experts of tools to collaborators of change.
  11. Emotion Arising. WatchRecordedWebinarOur research shows that emotion is the component of customer experience that has the largest impact on loyalty, but it is also the area where companies are least adept and often seemingly ignore. Over the past few years, neuroscience and behavioral science research has begun to fuel new techniques for affecting human emotions. In 2016, we expect to see a major jump in the number of companies that discuss, measure, and design for emotion. It will also become a hot topic at CX conferences.

The bottom line: Happy 2016, and enjoy the Year of Emotion!

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

8 Responses to 11 Customer Experience Trends for 2016 (The Year of Emotion)

  1. Good stuff, Bruce. I think Value-as-a-Service will continue to emerge. Companies like Uber will have more competitors crop up and loyalty will become more important.

  2. Faryal Hassan says:

    Great post Bruce! I especially agree with the point you’ve made regarding an increase in the use of mobile platforms. There is no denying the fact that more and more users are moving towards mobile platforms to conduct business transactions, communicate and attend to other things. Being in a similar line of business (mobile support at devContact), I could really relate to the points you have discussed.

  3. I particularly agree with your points on empathy and emotion Bruce – at a time when customers expect good service, it is those companies that can make an emotional connection with customers that will generate long term loyalty. More in this Eptica blog at http://www.eptica.com/blog/importance-emotion-customer-engagement Pauline Ashenden

  4. Helen Armour says:

    Interesting post Bruce! Much of what you say mirrors our experiences at Really Simple Systems CRM. CX is driving our development plans for the year and we are seeing a marked increase in mobile use and Value-as-a-Service. Our pay-as-you-go Premium Edition CRM is our fastest growing product.

  5. Totally agree that mobile will be a trend that we see come onto the scene in 2016. Mobile web chats are not being utilized even half as much as they should be, which could take customer experience to the next level.

  6. Terje says:

    Thank you Bruce! For me also the data in customer service – like emails and calls – are not utilized yet and I hope that during 2016 there will be some pilots!

  7. Deb Katz says:

    Great post! I’d like to suggest a 12th item. We’re seeing employees connecting on a more personal level with prospects and clients to build those deeper, more meaningful relationships. For example, knowing that your client likes hiking because you’ve spoken with them about this on numerous occasions. Think of the surprise and delight they’ll feel when you send them a link to a local hiking group they can connect with when they’re on vacation (another piece of information you know about the person). Emotion plays a big role in loyalty and retention.

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