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HGS 2023 Predictions: A New Era of Customer Experience and Digital Transformation

vmblog-predictions-2023 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2023.  Read them in this 15th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

A New Era of Customer Experience and Digital Transformation

By Larry Fleischman, Senior Vice President at HGS

As we head into 2023, companies are faced with a difficult road ahead: inflationary pressures, staffing shortages, and an ever-evolving technological landscape await. Two things that should stay constant: the need to adapt quickly to changing customer needs, and to provide thoughtful digital solutions that create superior customer experiences (CX).

The post-pandemic world has had a major impact on companies in terms of their digital presence, as consumers were forced to shift from traditional brick-and-mortar experiences to predominantly (if not solely) online. This shift in preference has resulted in companies investing in digital solutions that resulted in better CX, a trend that followed us into 2022 and will continue to do so into 2023: over 65% of companies have stated they are increasing CX spending in the next year, by an average of 24%.

As the CX landscape continues to evolve in 2023, here are some key trends that will be affected in 2023.

Higher CDP Investments

With the rise of digital, companies now have more channels to target, a higher level of competition, and a much more fractionalized audience. The only way for companies to have an edge over their competitors is to deliver highly targeted, intent-based content and messages. Many companies use between 10 and 30 different marketing technologies to reach customers, and the amount of data being collected is growing at an exponential rate with limited cross platform integration, which causes data silos - meaning that data resides in one system rather than being shared across internal teams. This results in data inefficiencies, inconsistencies, and a reduced ability to use it for insightful analysis and future personalization.

That's where Customer Data Platforms (CDP) come in. These platforms seek to unify customer data into a system that creates a consistent database that can be accessed by other systems. It collects data from offline and online sources, standardizes it, and creates comprehensive customer profiles that create a single view of the customer.

Historically, CDPs have been tools and software that advertise to customers, and all they aimed to do was sell more of what the company was offering. In today's world, companies can implement this technology to allow customers to own their experiences when interacting with the company, breeding higher engagement and, ultimately, greater satisfaction.

In 2023, we will see more companies investing in CDPs in order to provide great CX while also rewarding customers for higher-engagement and increased "brand love."

Creating Customer Communities

Traditionally, companies wanted customers to focus on just the brand, but now they are shifting that focus onto the customer. In 2023, there will be a bigger shift toward empowering customers and rewarding or acknowledging loyal customers in order to increase brand loyalty.

A great example of what's to come is what we currently see in the gaming industry, such as the streaming platform Twitch. During the pandemic, Twitch grew into a major competitor in the industry: Between March 2020 to March 2021, Twitch grew around 80%, mostly due to its ability to create tight-knit communities of viewers who - though spread across the entire world - still feel acknowledged and rewarded for their engagement with the streamer on Twitch, as well as with other viewers.

Customers are looking for similar experiences in their interactions with brands: They want to engage with other customers, as well as with the brand, and they are looking forward to those conversations. The New Year will be all about getting customers engaged through community engagement tools and solutions that connect customers together and allow them to have those conversations. Community engagement tools and softwares span a wide range of capabilities and forms, from general social media engagement to specific cloud-based platforms delivered as Software as a Service (Saas) and even in-house platforms custom-built by companies to reach their exact audience.

In a recent survey revealing CX stats for 2023, 86% of customers said they are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. It's no wonder companies will be focused on creating communities of engaged customers - thus, a more loyal customer base.

Simulating Store Experiences

Another key element for delivering superior customer experiences in 2023 will involve creating similar digital experiences to those customers would have had in-store. For example, say you went into a shoe store and had a great interaction with an employee who helped you find the perfect color and style of a new shoe. When you get home, the shoe ends up being too small. Instead of going back to the store, you decide to return online, but you're hit with an hour-long wait time to speak to a representative. This creates a disconnect for you as the customer, having had an excellent experience in-store and a subpar one online. Was the convenience worth the hassle?

In 2023, there will be a concerted effort from companies to ensure that their online presence feels more store-like. This will be done through accelerated training efforts for employees as well as investments in technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, among others.

AI and machine learning will be used hand-in-hand to create more personalized experiences, delivering targeted offers and recommendations to customers similar to how an employee would help with the shopping experience in-store. The technology can be trained using behavioral and transactional data to develop a deeper understanding of customer needs; it also creates a more seamless and frictionless experience while interacting with a brand.

The Future of CX

At the end of the day, the concept of CX will be flipped in 2023. The digital world has made most customers want to create and control their own experiences. Companies traditionally try to position themselves as the creator, but we will see a shift toward customer ownership in 2023, resulting in more opportunities to interact with brands and other consumers.

Companies will still be creating the overall experiences, but customers crave value, connection, and community - brands will need to pivot to provide these opportunities of interaction to increase brand loyalty and overall CX through technology solutions such as CDPs, AI, machine learning, cloud technology, and others.                                              

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Larry Fleischman is the Senior Vice President of Business Development & Global Sales for HGS. In this role, he is responsible for driving profitable growth and market share for HGS via an operationally focused group that includes the direct and inside sales team, channels, and alliance partnerships.

Larry joined HGS in 2018 as Vice President of Global Technology Partnerships. During this period, he was responsible for leading all channel relationships and go-to-market strategy efforts, as well as playing a critical role in developing the company's first contact center transformation and consulting practice.

Published Monday, January 09, 2023 7:30 AM by David Marshall
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