The enduring winners will be those who can successfully navigate technology and preserve the human touch. - PWC CEO Survey
1. Be proactive: Plan for your CX program with where technology will be in the future as opposed to what is already established.
2. Preserve the human touch: Recognise consumer and customer permissibility of tech to deliver a more human experience in the right customer touchpoint.
3. Let people connect: Use tech to facilitate a connection for your consumers/ customers. Connect to their interests and with people like them.
The CX community continues to molly coddle traditional insights processes, however there are bigger changes in technology that are changing consumer behaviour.
While some believe that technology is used to replicate or replace human interaction – the reality is that issuing tech solutions as complements to the insights process will enhance research overall, as opposed to treating it as a competition.
The research rigor has been built with decades of practice to help businesses understand their consumers/ customers, mitigate risk in the decision-making process and/ or give stakeholders confidence in their choices. Most insight practices and processes have been around for a long time and have proven to be valuable to help train new entrants, have guiderails, and boost confidence in data interpretation. However, the pace at which technology is evolving and permeating has changed consumers/ customers lives and CX now needs to catch up.
Here are five technology trends that CX needs to take advantage of in 2022.
1. Technology today has human characteristics
When engaging with an AI fueled bot or interactive app, 50% of consumers say that they enjoy the engagement when the technology is smart, friendly, and even funny.
Most survey approaches still sound robotic and treat consumers as they are test subjects in a laboratory. Consumers want to be heard, not studied.
Having a personality, using humour, and natural language makes insights an enjoyable process, while nurturing long-term relationships. And taking a conversational approach leads to deeper, richer learnings about your consumer.
2. Just let me talk to somebody, please!
Technology today can fly planes, drive cars, and diagnose medical conditions, but it can be frustrating cycling through online help and voice recognition systems. Most people prefer to talk to a doctor or would like a pilot to fly their families safely.
There are boundaries around the comfort and use of technology -- which will evolve with time and the betterment of technology. But today, while robots are doing amazing things, most people still prefer to talk to a human.
The areas where the uptake of technology is much faster can be seen in jobs that humans do not want to or do enjoy, I.e., mundane & monotonous tasks. Technology has the power to remove the negative aspects from, work such as bias and boredom, freeing up time and space for the uniquely human characteristics of creativity, intuition, conceptual thinking, and compassion.
At the front end of the CX space, where we engage with humans that is still more of an art and needs to be managed by humans. Overtime, the increase in tech uptake will be through augmented smart technology with human like touch.
Using technology to augment data processing and analysis is more prudent than automated surveys. Allow your customers to provide feedback in a conversational way, as opposed to subjecting everyone to the same workflow of questions.
3. We need to connect!
Being part of a community is integral to how we are wired. We as humans are hungry for connections and need to feel that we are part of something bigger.
Technology has created a global village where we can connect with anyone anywhere, easily – people learn, connect, and share on social media. To date, Facebook has more than two-billion active users and LinkedIn has half a billion professional users
Even enterprises are adapting to facilitate social media styled ‘chatting’ and instant messaging to allow staff to connect and share more.
Letting consumers & customers connect to others via their interests and views will create a platform to learn faster without having to ask. Through CX, insights programs need to think about ways to allow consumers to connect, share their experiences, and show their personalities – not just ask and tell – by investing in better listening capabilities.
4. Change has never been this fast. And it will never be this slow!
Technology is changing behaviour for most everyday tasks. Consumers move from asking the question to placing the order, quickly…and across devices. Another technology trend to watch for is the evolution of processing power, which gets twice as fast every 18 months. Learning from consumer behaviour online and the ability to process vast amounts of data faster, machines have started displaying signs of common sense.
As a CX practitioner, if you are only thinking of insights in the context of what is possible today, you will continue to be reactive into the future and will be left behind without even knowing it.
The ability to process and analyse large amounts of voice and video data is around the corner. Collecting and analysing video and multimedia insights will prepare insight professionals for the future state of data processing.
5. From "mobile-first" to "mobile-only."
Our industry focus is constantly shifting from ‘mobile-first’ to ‘mobile-only’. Today, consumers are rarely a few steps away from a mobile device and these devices have become the most important source for buying decisions.
For brands who want to influence consumers, it is no longer about conventional mediums like emails and traditional surveys. The influence comes via mobile phones.
Mobile technology needs to be the centrepiece of your CX and insights strategy. Recall research will transition to in-the-moment to gather feedback while consumers are experiencing a product or service. The influence of UX in traditional approaches will only increase overtime.
The Next Step
Enterprises across all industries have had to innovate over the last couple of years. The world is continuing to change at a rapid pace and CX professionals must be willing to step out of their comfort zones and embrace new technology to not replace current strategies, but to enhance customer relationships.
By remaining proactive in your adoption of emerging technologies, preserving the human touch across customer experience, and giving consumers a platform to connect, share, follow and engage, you will be able to better uncover deeper, richer insights so that your brand will endure through the ever-changing landscape.
- The Digital Humanist Manifesto created by Gartner includes three principles: (1) put people at the centre; (2) embrace unpredictability; (3) protect personal space.
- Bersin, Josh (2017). The HR software market reinvents itself. HR Tech Fest, Sydney, Australia.
- PwC (2017). 20 years inside the mind of the CEO … What’s next? www.ceosurvey.pwc
- PwC (2017). Bot me: A revolutionary partnership. How AI is pushing man and machine closer together. www.PwC.com/CISAI
- Driver, Abby (2017). Why humanizing technology is the next logical step. https://www.guided-selling.org/humanizing-technology-next-step/
- McKinsey Global Institute. (2017). A future that works: Automation, employment, and productivity.
- Facebook Newsroom (2017). https://newsroom.fb.com/company-info/
- Darrow, Barb (2017). LinkedIn claims half a billion users. http://fortune.com/2017/04/24/linkedin-users/
- Onrec (2017). Two-thirds of UK office workers want a personal AI-powered assistant. http://www.onrec.com/news/news-archive/you%E2%80%99re-hired-two-thirds-of-uk-office-workers-want-a-personal-ai-powered-assistant