Customer Service Trends

CUSTOMERS 2020 The future of B-2-B customer experience

The Customers 2020 findings provide a clearer picture of what customer experience will look like in the not-too-distant future

The year 2020. In saying it, we tend to picture a time much further in the future. In reality, however, seven years pass in the blink of an eye–especially in the fast-paced, competitive world of business. Just think of all the changes taking place right now, among B-to-B companies. Customers know more, and they expect more. Fast forward seven years, and there’s little doubt the bar will be set even higher and new priorities will have emerged.

Who will win

So, who wins in the year 2020? Arguably, it’s the most forward-thinking companies– those that consciously and deliberately work at anticipating the future needs of their customers and devise strategies to deliver Those that win in 2020 are the ones who begin preparing today

This is the driving premise behind Customers 2020 – an insightful, thought-provoking study designed to reveal the customer experience industry of the future What will customers demand? What customer intelligence will be most critical? How should this information be effectively managed and used? What new roles will customer experience professionals and their teams play?

Walker collaborated with CustomerThink and the Chief Customer Officer Council to conduct a robust study, which included in-depth interviews, roundtable discussions, and an online survey Walker collected and synthesized input from nearly 300 customer experience professionals from large, multinational B-to-B organizations, representing a range of industries

A clearer picture

The Customers 2020 findings provide a clearer picture of what customer experience will look like in the not-too-distant future In this report, Walker takes the message one step further, illuminating the evolutions that companies can and should focus on now to exceed customer expectations in 2020–and to win

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At Walker we see the customer experience industry going through rapid change. Not only do we want to understand and anticipate this change, we want to impact it. This report highlights the changes we’re seeing.

The changes

CUSTOMERS WILL DICTATE THE EXPERIENCE: Customer expectations in the future are the outcome of movements that have been underway for decades Changes such as the explosion of digital, the empowered customer, and the acceleration of innovation are having a profound impact on customer expectations

The customer of 2020 will be more informed and in charge of the experience they receive They will expect companies to know their individual needs and personalize the experience Immediate resolution will not be fast enough as customers will expect companies to proactively address their current and future needs

COMPANIES MUST ADAPT OR FAIL: As customer expectations shift, companies are forced to adapt Enlightened by what the future has in store, many companies are already laying the foundation for 2020 Others are stuck in a historical view of customer experience management and will fall behind if they don’t react soon

To be relevant in 2020, companies must focus on leveraging big data to create a single source of truth and making customer intelligence accessible throughout the enterprise Companies must also consider “insight generation” as a sales enablement function and emphasize proactive and personalized customer support to effectively grow and retain customers

CAPITALIZING ON THE CUSTOMER REVOLUTION: The B-to-B companies that will win in 2020 are beginning to prepare now by: Recognizing the shift that’s taking place: Customer expectations are changing, and companies need to recognize these changes and evolve, with emphasis on leveraging big data and advanced analytics to personalize the experience and anticipate current and future needs Aligning the right resources: Enlightened companies must view the customer experience as a strategic, C-level initiative In the future, the responsibility of a “chief customer champion” will become more common, serving one purpose–to create an unrelenting focus on the customer throughout the enterprise Focusing on the right metrics: What gets measured gets managed, and what is being measured today will evolve to meet customer needs of the future Today, many customer-focused metrics such as Net Promoter™, satisfaction, and loyalty are narrowly focused on solicited feedback from surveys While solicited input will continue to be used, companies will progress to include a more holistic measurement of customer engagement

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