I recently posted an article to mark our 11th anniversary. The history of NEARSOL does go back a little further, to 2006, but 2011 was when the company grew from a small six-people operation to becoming a global company with several thousand employees and a footprint in some of the most influential markets for the BPO industry.
As I was looking back at the past decade, I thought it might also be worth looking ahead to the next decade. It can be difficult to predict the future because sometimes we see incremental advancements and gradual change and sometimes there is a new innovation that just changes business rules overnight.
So I thought about checking what the experts are predicting. I looked around to see what some of the leading CX analysts have been saying recently, just to get an idea of some of the important themes for the next decade.
Stephen Loynd from the US, the founder and principal at TrendzOwl, has been talking about the concept of ambient CX. He believes that we will increasingly see an environment where customers and brands are engaging in a much more fluid and constant way. This could be by talking to smart assistants, such as Siri or Alexa, or social media. Friction-free interactions that are more like an ongoing conversation will be normal.
Peter Ryan from Canada, the founder and principal of Ryan Strategic Advisory talked on his own podcast about increased personalization being important in the next few years. Peter said that it’s all about data and offering customers services that are designed specifically for the individual, based on their own preferences. A good example from right now is how Spotify sends out their ‘Wrapped’ summary at the end of each year. This creates personal playlists featuring your favorite songs and artists from the year. They have millions of customers, but they are creating services designed for each individual customer.
Mark Hillary from Brazil, who co-presents the CX Files podcast with Peter Ryan, has been talking about long term customer relationships as the driving focus of all customer strategies. Mark’s point is that most contact center metrics are designed to focus on individual calls or interactions, yet the end game is to build a 40 or 50 year relationship with the customer – not get them off the phone quickly.
This makes me remember a business case study I heard about from several years ago where the management team at Domino’s Pizza asked all their employees to visualize a $10,000 bill on the forehead of every customer. That’s how much each customer will spend on pizza if we look after them over the long term so if we need to lose a couple of dollars on a cold pizza today then just accept it and keep that customer coming back for more.
I think that one of the biggest changes coming in the next few years is a greater respect for everyone working in the customer service industry. I have written another article (check my published articles here) about this in more detail, but it’s worth mentioning again because I think this will be important.
Designing a modern customer service solution is now a complex – and often global – mix of getting the right blend of people, processes, and the most innovative technologies to all work together. When I started out in this industry I had no idea that I would need to start understanding data analytics and artificial intelligence. Now these are all essential tools that can improve the customer journey.
There is a lot happening in modern CX, but the good news is that this makes it one of the most exciting places to be working in the 2020s.