There are a lot of predictions about what customers want from us over the next 12 months. What’s interesting this year is that there’s not a lot that’s truly new, and nothing is really “out.” Instead, it seems that what consumers want is a re-balancing of what already exists in terms of how we interact with them. Here are some examples.
Personalization vs privacy
This is going to be an interesting one to watch since both personalization in customer experience and privacy of their data are noted as important issues this year. Can this world really deliver on both? Maybe. But we need to stick to reasonable questions. If you’re providing a free service supported by ads, say so, and go ahead and ask me what kind of ads I want to see. If you’re selling me something, tell me what the benefit is to me of giving you my personal info. And protect any data you do store like your life depended on it (because the life of your business does depend on it).
AI vs HI
Real-time, real-world, human to human customer experiences are going to give some companies an edge in 2019. Balancing your use of automation with human intervenors is the task at hand. Robots in the warehouse might be a real cost savings, but chat bots trying to solve customer problems could send those customers elsewhere. Dividing your business processes into those that do or don’t need the human touch, will keep your customers coming back.
Virtual vs real world interactions
Isolation, loneliness, and depression are impacting those who are only connecting to others digitally. People are deliberately moderating or even unplugging entirely from social media in favour of face to face interactions. What’s more surprising though, is that brick and mortar stores are re-emerging as one component of a strategic mix of retail sales channels. Brands that build community both on and off line, will be more successful in also building loyal customers.
Some other predictions to consider:
- Symptom to solution apps and clinics will be sought after in the wellness category.
- Conversational search terms will be important with the increase in virtual assistants like Google Home.
- Live streaming and unscripted videos will become more persuasive than high production value.
- Long form content isn’t out, but you’ll also need an abridged version for those who just want the headlines.