Customer Experience (CX) is a strategic source of competitive differentiation for progressive companies. Businesses seeking this advantage need to move swiftly towards the technology driven capabilities that help them provide a seamless experience to the users, which can be termed as smart or intelligent.
Chatbots and Virtual Assistance powered by Artificial Intelligence are the disruptive tech solutions that hold the key to the future of customer experience. A significant shift is taking place in the way brands communicate with their customers and prospects.
IoT endpoints and omnichannel interactions are steadily evolving into smart CX environments. These factors are enforcing a multimodal design through incorporating support for a gesture, face or emotion recognition through Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, to create a superior customer experience.
These factors could well lead to a purchase sequence that starts with a voice command, following which the user gets to experience the product via mixed reality, and ends up buying it through a combination of biometric commands. An even more advanced scenario could be a machine-to-machine purchase where no humans are involved in the entire process.
While these predictions may come true much sooner rather than later, the following are some the CX trends that could have a major impact in 2018.
1. Messaging and Chatbot Integration
Enterprises have understood the value of messaging apps such as FB Messenger, WhatsApp or Google Duo, and are keen to use the advantages they bring. Firstly, these messaging apps are quite popular among primary Target groups, who have now got used to the user-friendly UIs of these apps. The fact that they already know to use the app makes it easy for the users to receive support from the customer service teams.
Moreover, messaging offers the unique ability to keep the context of one customer within one chat flow, which leads to higher quality service. Also, unlike a phone or any other channel, messaging apps help build a permanent link with the customer. The year 2018 could see a major evolution of these messaging based support services and could even go further to integrate it with the Chatbots as shown by Icelandair. The company has introduced a novel method that lets customers search and book a flight using the Facebook Messenger app.
The Icelandair’s messenger-bot requires no additional downloads or plugins. Users just have to open the FB Messenger, start a conversation by typing in their information such as the travel dates and destination and book the flight.
Another example is PizzaExpress, which allows users to book a table in a little over 60 seconds by talking to their Chatbot on FB Messenger.
2. Interactive Email
When it comes to choosing a channel to reach out to the customers, email has always been a reliable technique. The innovation of interactive emails could make it much more exciting for both the consumers and brands in 2018.
Through interactive emails, brands can let users check their products by providing options such as by drop-down menus and navigation tabs, which could allow them to conclude their purchase decisions within the email. If brands can get the subscribers to place an order entirely from their inbox, it could be a game changer for online businesses and could revolutionize the buying mechanism.
Moreover, the usage of tabs and rotating carousels can multiply the limited space of the email many times and allow the brands to showcase much more product information to the users.
Navigable features are the primary aspects of Interactive emails and interactive navigation can help the users in making quick decisions. However, when rendering these features on mobile, care should be taken to ensure the users aren’t distracted from the call-to-action, while still making it easier to get required info without having to click through to the main website.
3. Intelligent Virtual Assistant
Virtual Assistants are already being used in a variety of applications across industries and are likely to continue their progress. The year 2018 could well be the point in the timeline where AI-driven interactions would get beyond being a mere feature and become specialized products in themselves.
The modern Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs) are being powered by artificial intelligence to emulate human interaction and perform specialized tasks that are essential in delivering superior customer experience. Machine learning and Deep Neural Networks are the key AI initiatives that are adding perceptive capacities such as reasoning learning, and understanding to machines. By evolving continuously, these intelligent machines have now become capable of emulating the human-involvement across each step of the customer journey.
IVAs are not just improving the customer and brand interaction but are also empowering the next generation of multichannel experience that allows for seamless connectivity. By blending AI with human intelligence, organizations are seeking to maximize their operational accuracy and efficiency.
As consumers grow comfortable speaking with a bot, progressive companies can maximize the value generated by the ensuing convenience and productivity. Apparently, communicating and working with intelligent machines wouldn’t remain a novelty anymore and would become a necessity in the near future.