With 2016 now behind us, I’ve been thinking a lot about what changes we expect to see in the coming year. Here’s what I think is around the corner in 2017:
1. Getting serious with AI
If in the past customer experience flirted with AI, over the past year we saw them getting more serious – and now this is the year I would expect them to make it official.
Based on the number of features being added by tech vendors over the past year, I believe that machine learning and artificial intelligence will become a significant part of CX in the new year. I actually think that by the end of 2017 personalization based on machine learning will become an ever-present part of the digital customer experience.
What we’re seeing is that vendors are beginning to personalize every digital experience. I expect that enterprises will start by creating customer segments and then adapting offers to specific segments. These segments may be as small as “people who scrolled to 50% of the screen but did not make a purchase,” or “people who left feedback on a particular product page.”
2. Seeing total view of the customer
This is the year that more and more companies will strive to get a complete picture of their customers across all their devices. This means that “experience session stitching” will take on a far more substantial role in our landscape.
While basic session stitching (grouping a single user’s website or app visits or sessions) through analytics tools is already available, some pioneering enterprises are ready to take the next step: to seek the big picture, to understand the meaning behind every customer’s behavior on every channel and device.
In fact, there are vendors that are already able to track users across different channels, but this is still very much at high level. In the new year I expect that the revolutionary experience-led organizations will begin to be able to track rich customer data down to the millisecond. This is what we call “experience session stitching” – the ability to know exactly how their potential customers hover over certain elements, the path of their mouse or their finger as they scroll through a screen, as well as the pace of scrolling.
The possibilities are endless. It’s a new world where all of these factors can be synthesized to derive a deep, comprehensive understanding of all customers on all devices.
3. Creating a mobile first experience
This year I predict that more companies will move away from website designs for different devices to one unified experience across all devices. Maintaining several different platforms simply isn’t sustainable and in fact, there is no need for this differentiation any longer.
For example, rather than using responsive design to adapt a desktop site to mobile, our customer JanSport recently took the opposite tack. To appeal to its youthful demographic, JanSport gathered insights into what worked – and what did not – from its old homepage and applied them to create a new “mobile first” homepage design that would ultimately raise mobile conversion rates by more than 21%, with the overall online year-over-year conversion rate up by 7%. I expect this year we will see more companies adopting this approach as we continue to see increasing numbers of mobile visitors, who will continue to drive a far more significant proportion of online traffic and accordingly, online revenue.
4. Consolidating data
According to chiefmartec.com, there are around 3,500 marketing technology solutions (approximately 87% growth over last year!) available today, so it’s no surprise that today’s marketing economy shows massive fragmentation in terms of where companies are getting digital customer experience data. The choices include analytics, VoC data, digital customer experience management, and even social media and chats.
With this in mind, I expect this year that some leading enterprises will begin to consolidate systems that can unify all of their digital customer experience data. Their goal is to understand what is happening with their customers and measure the business impact of every issue. CEOs and CMOs will be emphasizing and investing in solutions that show inflection points and quantify the overall effect of being a customer-led or experience-led organization.
Here’s to an exciting, experience-filled year ahead! Happy new year!
Read more about my predictions for 2017 in this article. And If you find this interesting and want to know more about how Clicktale can help you better understand your digital customers, please contact us.