The year is 2022. It might seem far away, but it is only a few short years down the road. Believe me, when I first saw 2022 on my screen, I couldn’t help but recall television shows and movies, like The Jetsons or Back to the Future, that depicted the future. While hoverboards and flying cars aren’t in the immediate future, the customer experience definition that we know today will evolve. And one company or brand will no longer drive the customer experience to the consumer. Instead, a collection of organizations and businesses will deliver unique experiences for consumers.
In the spirit of CX Day, here are my three predictions of how the world of customer experience will change in 2022. While many of the shifts are in their infancy, these trends will have matured to not only be differentiators but also consumer requirements in the future.
Power to the People: Collaboration and Cooperation Create the New Competitive Edge
In 2022, consumers will expect connected experiences that aren’t driven by one brand. Customers will demand end-to-end experiences that seamlessly connect to their collection of brands. And these brands will shift their business models to adopt to new processes and meet customer expectations.
A brand will no longer shape behavior; the consumer will power the behavior they want to see from the brand. Consumers are empowered. And who could blame them? They now have a vast amount of choices that are just a few mouse clicks away.
The demand for connected and seamless experiences will require collaboration and cooperation among enterprises, government and non-profit sectors. Thanks to social media platforms, consumers have a voice—a direct channel to their brand and, more importantly, to their personal network of thousands of friends or followers. Relationships are built and sustained for many through these extensive networks; businesses that want to tap into those connections must figure out how to work together. How will a rideshare company continue their relationship with consumers beyond a simple pick up and drop off? How will you virtually remodel your home without ever stepping into a showroom?
Personalization, Privacy and Security
As artificial intelligence (AI), big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) continue to mature and become mainstream, only for me personalization will be a differentiator for brands and businesses. Consumers will require specific, customized experiences, and businesses will use their deep knowledge of customers and what makes them tick to deliver on those requirements. Kate by Genesys, for example, uses a combination of AI, bots and machine learning to personalize the customer experience.
Companies will not only meet customer needs in 2022, they will take it a step further to anticipate needs, tastes, challenges, moods and desires. How is it that Netflix and Amazon Prime know exactly which series to suggest you binge-watch next?
The risk: With great power comes great responsibility. There’s a risk of misusing customer data and a question of who owns that data.
Privacy as well as personal data control and security will be the new battle zones. This war will be one in which consumers prevail to control and manage their personal data. Businesses and enterprises will need to adjust and accept the fact that the customer footprint in this digital world still belongs to the customer. And that footprint can either walk to the business repeatedly or walk away quickly, depending on the customer’s trust in the security of their personal data.
To build trust, businesses must respect the fact that customers own their data and decide what experience they want—and with whom they want to share that data. Government will play a key role in defining policies and regulations that drive consumer trust.
A New Definition of Loyalty
Consumers will build loyalty to experiences—whether it’s one brand or a collection of brands, businesses and organizations.
Gone will be the days of a consumer being loyal to one brand. Welcome the consumer that is loyal to the set of experiences they encounter.
We see this shift today. Brands must scramble to create a better end-to-end experience. And consumers will shift to another brand if they have a poor experience. Did you have a bad experience with your cable provider? No problem—move to streaming. Have a cumbersome online shopping experience? That’s ok. There’s another site that offers the same or similar product with a much easier checkout process and an even better return policy.
The new definition of loyalty will align with a branded experience—not a product brand. And this disrupts our current view of loyalty.
It’s time to start the conversations; you must define the future of customer experience. Businesses must realize the power of consumers and the need to adjust business models, processes and operations today, to address the fast-coming realities of tomorrow.