Customers are demanding. With so much information out there, and so many sellers, customers are a lot more informed than they were a decade ago. If they're not getting the right feedback then they're going to look elsewhere.
Technology is being used to make customer journeys more enticing and appealing. The customer experience is now a key differentiator for many businesses. But how will the customer experience change as technology advances?
This article explores what the customer experience scene could look like. So let's get started.
1. Shopping trends
Let's face it. Buying online is the most convenient way to shop. Clicking the 'Buy now' button from the comfort of your own home or whilst on the go has never been so popular.
This trend was somewhat given a boost during the pandemic lockdowns which saw online shopping soar to extraordinary levels. And it seems as if it's not going to abate.
Social channels look to have stepped up the customer buying experience. WhatsApp for instance has a 'Collections' feature that makes it easier for users to shop using categories. Instagram shows personalised recommendations in people's feeds, and Pinterest is also expanding its features that will allow users to buy things directly from the platform.
Jim Morrison famously exclaimed, "We want the world and we want it now!" in the Doors classic 'When the Music's over'. That statement has never been truer than it is today.
We're living in a time where instant gratification is the norm. Modern customers are a lot more informed nowadays. They know what they want and they expect the best level of (personalised) service possible. In fact, according to Forrester, customers expect a response within 5 minutes.
Speed. Convenience. Satisfaction. Are these the holy trinity for today's over-demanding customers? Well it appears that way because if none of the above are met then the customer experience is considered an abject one. This may seem harsh and outlandish but the truth of the matter is that instant gratification, even for those micro moments, is something that must be catered for.
This is being achieved by using advanced systems like AIs, CDPs, and DXPs, to ensure the speed to gratification is increased.
Instant quotes. Same day deliveries. Same day money transfers. Resolving issues with chatbots. These are gratification techniques that the modern customer expects and will continue to expect as tech advances. If you do these, then you must also do them well.
3. Offering something experiential
Doing that little bit extra can make a huge difference. And that's precisely what some businesses are doing to enhance the customer interaction experience.
Offering 'hands on' opportunities for potential customers to experience the brand and its products is becoming a popular way to build loyalty and advocacy.
Aligning customer needs with real life educational events like cooking classes, DIY workshops, competitions is nothing new. But there has been an increase in brands getting customers a lot more involved and immersed in the brand experience. Nike Rise is an initiative that allows customers to use technology to find the perfect trainers and then put them to the test in real life events and fitness classes.
Businesses like Graze, Craft Gin Club, Simply Cook and Hello Fresh, send sample boxes for people to try. This experience increases brand exposure and can potentially hook new customers to products and services that they never considered.
Offering something experiential can also filter down to augmented reality. Cadbury's 'Worldwide Hide an Egg' is a great way to engage customers in a fun and experiential way that induces interest and interaction.
NFTs are a new thing. They're ‘non-fungible tokens’ stored in a blockchain that can be sold or traded. As they're popularity grows, and as they filter more into the mainstream, we'll see them being mentioned and used a lot more.
How can NFTs influence customer engagement and experience?
NFTs can carry smart contracts which could influence customer engagement. For example, Kings of Leon were the first band to release an album as an NFT. Their tokens included 18 golden tickets that needed to be unlocked. Those lucky enough to unlock a golden ticket received great perks like front row seats to future concerts.
The NFT trend will continue to increase and more businesses and customers will become invested in it.
5. The Metaverse
The biggest change in customer experience has got to be the Metaverse. It's making massive strides in digital transformation with a confluence of AR and VR.
The idea of an avatar, your avatar, roaming the Metaverse via a sophisticated headset is real. Being targeted for pitching Metaverse products is not so farfetched.
Meta (previously Facebook) has invested millions in the Metaverse, and already this year there have been weddings and concerts in the Metaverse.
In addition, it won't be long before a fully-fledged Metaverse ecommerce offering will be heading our way. Indeed, Nike is already gearing up to sell products to your avatar. Nike’s purchase of virtual sneaker company RTFKT will enable them to produce digital samples of products without the expense of manufacturing physical ones.
As 2022 continues to unfold then more digital customer experience and marketing trends are likely to emerge that will further enhance the way products and services are offered.
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