Although 2018 was hailed as a year of reckoning by Forrester in its predictions last year, reality didn’t turn out that way. Market situations and evolving customer demands were supposed to compel companies to move more aggressively towards building effective customer experience (CX) strategies. However many businesses realized that large-scale strategies such as CX and digital transformation are hard, costly, and, most importantly, challenged the way leaders ran their businesses. This resulted in CX performance being flat throughout 2018 with more than 50% of digital transformation efforts stalled as per Forrester’s latest reports.
In the same report, Forrester made several predictions for the coming year and predicted that 2019 is the year where organizations will shift focus from strategic ambitions to pragmatic, surgical efforts towards organizational readiness, reducing technical debt, data governance, and aging brands.
Following are few of the predictions made by Forrester that would impact the CX industry in general:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) builds a foundation:
Artificial Intelligence has been a hot topic in the last few years as firms look to adopt it in their day-to-day business practices. Though it’s greatly transformative, a couple of things held it back in 2018:
- Insufficient information architecture:
Artificial intelligence is data-dependent and data hungry. Most firms struggled with basic data governance issues. This can be the case when there is no data steward who can administer the data in the organization, take actions to fix data quality issues, protect critical organization data, reuse historical business data, and make better business decisions.
- Lower usage than expected:
According to McKinsey, in 2017, just 20% of firms leveraged AI technology in their businesses and 41% of firms said they were uncertain about the benefits of AI, which resulted in low AI usage. The trend continued in 2018 with firms willing to explore AI but remaining unsure about setting up the right expectations for their respective business outcomes.
Our take: Even though everyone is thinking about solving their biggest problems with AI, not everyone is equipped to use it. Complex processes, costly infrastructure, disruptive nature, lack of data governance, high stakes, and business readiness are just some of the immediate hurdles
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Key benefits of the POV program include:
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- No-risk, low-cost option to demonstrate value of predictive data science and get executive buy-in for critical business initiatives
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CX remains under fire:
Customer experience performance remains under fire for the third successive year since 2017. CX results show a threatening gap in customers’ sense of emotional engagement and loyalty. According to Forrester, 89% of surveyed CX professionals stated that the return on investment of customer experience is not well established in their companies. Just as in 2018 where CX has seen a strategic and structural disparity between what it needs to do and what it’s allowed to do or is capable of doing. CX will continue to experience the same inconsistency in 2019.
Our take: Making use of unstructured textual data containing customer interactions would be a good starting point to bolster your VOC project. Knowing what your customer wants, needs, and wishes for is paramount in delivering the experience your customers expect from you.
Even though predictions for the new year start on a grim note, Forrester believes that most firms will come out of 2019 stronger and more capable by getting the fundamentals right, which will set them up for even more ambitious strategies that align to market demands.