Sabio identifies AI-enabled Virtual Assistants, Messaging everywhere, IoT-enabled embedded service, responding to regulatory pressures, and better UX/Customer Journey design as key trends for 2018
Digital customer engagement technology specialist Sabio has identified its Five Top Trends to help organisations deliver an improved customer experience during 2018 and beyond.
In addition to core foundation technologies such as Virtual Assistants, Messaging and Internet-of-Things enabled embedded service, Sabio also highlights new regulatory compliance pressures, such as GDPR and MiFID II, as well as the requirement to invest heavily in User Experience design skills and customer journey mapping expertise as key trends for 2018.
“Over the last year we have seen brands working hard to close the gap between their digital and traditional customer contact channels, however we also recognise that great technology alone still isn’t enough to deliver brilliant customer engagement,” commented Sabio’s Chief Innovation Officer, Stuart Dorman. “Disjointed experiences – whether online or in the contact centre – frustrate customers and waste their time. That’s why in 2018 we need an increased focus on the critical design and User Experience issues that can quickly disrupt well planned customer journeys. We simply can’t expect our contact centre agents to keep on spending their valuable time fixing processes that are typically caused by poor quality UX design.
“At Sabio we’re seeing a renewed emphasis on Virtual Assistants, Messaging and Internet-of-Things (IoT) enabled services as core technologies that will have a significant impact on customer engagement during 2018,” he continued. “Intelligent Assistant technology will increasingly help organisations to provide a consistent Digital Front Door experience across all their key channels, immediately accessible Messaging will help to make it even easier for consumers to engage with organisations, while the latest generation of sensor-enabled services can provide brands with a real opportunity for differentiation. We also believe that, instead of seeing just the downside of compliance, organisations should see regulatory pressures such as GDPR and MiFID II as opportunities to really get their customer data in order.”
Sabio’s Top Five Technology Issues for effective Digital Customer Engagement are:
- Virtual Assistants quickly becoming a customer’s first point of contact with an organisation – Analyst firm Gartner has predicted that 85% of customer interactions will be handled without human contact by 2020. That’s just two years away, so expect 2018 to feature increased take-up of Virtual Assistant solutions as they become the customer’s first touchpoint within an organisation – whether that’s on a website, filtering social media requests, or simply serving as a front-end for customers requiring a human-assisted contact centre interaction. Expect a continued increase of intelligence within virtual assistants as they are able to learn from contact centre staff, ingest more data to answer more questions and integrate more deeply with back end systems.
- Use of Messaging services continues to explode – Most people now use some form of messaging app, whether WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Apple’s iMessage. All the major vendors have now introduced additional business chat plugin services, making it much easier for customers to discover, engage, transact and make payments through their favourite interfaces. Expect 2018 to see an increased focus on messaging, with chat plugins integrating with existing customer engagement systems, as well as the introduction of additional capabilities such as voice and video calling.
- Connected products triggering new levels of customer service demand – As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to scale, we’re moving towards the trillion-sensor economy as embedded sensors enable a new generation of connected products. We expect this to start blurring the traditional distinction between products and services where the service becomes fully embedded into the experience of using the product. As a result of this we expect 2018 to create new demands on customer engagement channels as embedded service solutions initiate their own demands and create their own distinct ‘customer’ journeys. In turn this could potentially lead to significant savings in terms of more streamlined maintenance and optimised performance.
- Regulatory pressures from GDPR and MiFID II requiring a customer data rethink – With the introduction in May 2018 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and of MiFID II requirements in January 2018 around the quality, accuracy and completeness of finance market customer communications, organisations will need to ensure that compliance becomes an integral part of the customer experience they offer. With potentially significant penalties for non-compliance, Sabio believes that service providers need to look beyond minimum viable compliance and, instead, adopt a more permission-based and active approach to customer engagement.
- An increased focus on the critical UX component of successful Customer Journeys – It’s only by successfully combining UX and CX disciplines that organisations can deliver consistently brilliant customer experiences. Until recently the very real disconnect between digital and traditional contact centre channels meant that too many disjointed customer experiences went unresolved. 2018’s best practice customer journeys will draw on real-time Voice of the Customer data to remove the kind of broken processes and channel hand-offs that lead to real customer frustration.