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Customer Experience

Top 5 Customer Experience Trends For 2017

by Duff Anderson, on Jan 16, 2017

Editor's note: This post looks at Customer Experience trends and predictions for 2017. Make sure to check out our Top 5 Customer Experience Trends to Look For in 2019

The new year has arrived, and with the start of any new year comes the onslaught of predictions of what is going to make it big in 2017. Already, we're hearing this will be the year when chat bots, virtual reality and voice search gain a permanent foothold in our world.

In this post, like I have done in previous years, I'll take a look five 2017 customer experience trends that I think will change the face of marketing in 2017.

1. Mobile-first will be a key strategy

Mobile over the latest few years has moved from a prediction to a staple with consumers using it as their primary way to communicate with each other. eMarketer estimates that there were 4.3 billion mobile phone users worldwide in 2016.  

Marketers have already taken notice with many introducing mobile friendly websites and releasing mobile apps. At iperceptions, we saw more than a 50 percent increase in the number of Voice of Customer (VoC) studies we run on mobile which shows improving the mobile experience is becoming a high priority. 

But in 2017 the mobile environment will change. Mobile-friendly will not be enough. On October 13th, 2016 Google announced that it would release a mobile-first index in the coming “months”. This means that Google will prioritize mobile sites over desktop sites. In 2017, marketers should follow Google and prioritize mobile over desktop. Also marketers need to create end-to-end mobile experiences that delight consumers, leveraging the distinct capabilities of mobile to go beyond just being an optimized carbon copy of the desktop experience.

2.VoC moves from tools to expertise 

There is no questioning it; we are living in the age of the customer. To better understand today’s complex and multi-faceted consumer, Voice of the Customer (VoC) research has become paramount. But the discipline of understanding the voice of your customers is evolving. VoC is entering the maturity stage with most companies now collecting customer feedback in some form or another.

Also VoC programs are becoming more centralized with companies now collecting feedback across brands, countries and in different languages, moving away from each brand doing siloed research. This shift is adding complexity to getting a VoC program up and running meaning there is a greater need for more specialized expertise in running a VoC program. Selecting a VoC vendor will move away from being solely based on the tool but also in the level of support and expertize the vendor can provide to execute a more advanced VoC program.

3. Advertising becomes customer-centric 

Ad blocking is big business and is expected to grow by double digits this year, according to eMarketer. Already 69.8 million Americans use an ad blocker with most turning to ad blockers because they're sick of seeing irrelevant ad content that doesn't align with their intent.

To resolve this issue, digital marketers need to create ad campaigns that are customer-centric and align with visitor intent and stop annoying users and pushing them into the arms of ad blockers. Every ad a visitor sees must align with his or her unique intentions at appropriate times, whether those desires revolve around researching goods, purchasing items or simply browsing a site's catalog. Achieving this level of ad personalization can pay off.

In 2017, it will be the marketers that use their first party data to better target and ultimately create better experience for consumers that will win. 

4. Intent data will become the elixir of personalization

Personalization continues to make the rounds in trends articles this year. But beyond basic personalization from recommendation engines and email personalization, it’s full potential is yet to be realized. For example, Forrester Research found that although 91 percent of marketers prioritized personalization in 2016, many were still relying on segmentation to do so. One possible reason is that much of the personalization is demographics-based and feels neither relevant nor personal.

In 2017, I see a new era being ushered in with marketing providing a customer experience tailored to their immediate circumstances and intent of customers. For marketing to achieve this level of personalization it has to leverage contextual signals to create real-time personalization based on the nuances of immediate customer intent. 

5. VoC data will become the most important data source 

Today, marketing success means developing winning customer-centric experiences. That’s why digital Voice of the Customer data has grown from being a nice-to-have, to becoming the backbone of measuring and managing the customer experience.

Traditional VoC data is always leveraged to analyze the experience after the experience has already occurred. It is a dataset based on a small sample that is representative of the total population of your website visitors. As such, the effectiveness of this rich, customer-centric dataset would be most valuable if leveraged to create individual experiences in real-time. 

That’s why in 2017, VoC data will go beyond a small sample by combining it with machine learning to make accurate predictions about your website visitors’ intent, purchase horizon and at-risk purchasers for each visitor to your digital properties. With these capabilities, your VoC data can scale to provide a VoC-like dataset on all website visitors, not just the small sample of visitors who responded to a survey. This dataset can then be used to improve all aspects of your marketing efforts from retargeting to personalization to live chat.

Overall, this will be the year where marketers:

  • Are mobile-first and foremost
  • Prioritize VoC expertise
  • Create a more personalized ad experience
  • Create one-to-one experiences
  • Use VoC data throughout their marketing efforts

2017 is going to be an exciting year, as this will be the year when marketers put all the pieces together. 

Image source: Pexel

Duff Anderson
Duff Anderson

Duff Anderson is a visionary in Voice of the Customer research with over 20 years’ experience.

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