Brick-and-mortar retail locations will always be a comfort for shoppers, but each year online shopping continues to take a bite out of the competition and is increasingly supplanting on-premises shopping when it comes to customer experience.
But while online shopping increases in scope and popularity, the most successful businesses know having a complementary physical and online store presence creates a better overall brand experience. So what are some current and emerging technologies that drive and curate customer experiences?
Here’s a look at what’s happening now and what’s expected to come in the future.
Automation and Machine Learning
The technology that shapes today’s customer experience isn’t always seen, even if it is, at times, heard. Automation is one of these overlooked technologies. Case in point: Anyone who’s ever called a customer support line has experienced some form of automation.
Sure, automation allows for the funneling of customers to agents who are experts in certain areas, but call centers still get bogged down at times. That’s where chatbots can come in handy.
Indeed, employing chatbots as part of your customer service strategy can help decrease the number of customers – and the number of times these customers call to seek basic answers – your business has to serve via phone.
Meantime, automation via machine learning serves as a more seamless systematic data collection and analyzation process. In essence, this technology analyzes the criteria of negative and positive customer experiences, then isolates and learns the protocols it used in each positive experience and leaves out the protocols that contributed to those that are negative.
Omnichannel and Data Forecasts
Omnichannel support has become the expectation for most customers. While some consumers enjoy speaking with a live agent, others prefer checking online forums as well as social media and email to get quick answers or to resolve an issue.
Of course, all businesses must determine what type of omnichannel support they want to provide to customers. Fortunately, data forecasting can break down the data for each of these channels and determine what customers prefer, giving businesses a blueprint for where resources should be allocated.
Indeed, if a business can predict what customers need before they need it, workflows become much more efficient, the customer experience is more positive and streamlined, and businesses improve their image and brand loyalty. Utilize a cloud contact center to lessen the load in-house.
Some trends and technologies that have seen a definite uptick in use are mobile devices. Now, this shouldn’t surprise anyone, but smartphones are already the No. 1 source of customer experience with a brand. They have already overtaken computers as the most popular tool for e-commerce, and trends suggest this technology will be even more relied upon in the future.
Another emerging technology that’s likely to grow in scope and popularity is the use of artificial intelligence. Think beyond the abilities of devices like Amazon Alexa or Google Home and instead look at this technology as the face and voice of a company.
Soon, AI technology will be able to take orders, issue refunds, upsell and even serve as a mouthpiece and expert in meetings. While this may sound like something from a science fiction movie, the more AI takes on, the more time businesses have to troubleshoot human-specific issues.
Faster Than Expected
The surging nature of automation and machine learning has changed the customer experience faster than anyone thought possible. Look for data forecasts and omnichannel support to become ubiquitous across large and efficient companies in the future.
Many experts believe virtual reality will be yet another channel in the customer experience repertoire in the years ahead. And even though mobile devices have quickly become the standard, never discount them, and look for digital persona AI to take a more practical role in the business sector.