In its recent Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report 2023, Zendesk has found that immersive experiences are becoming increasingly important for companies that want to gain a competitive edge, as 61% of customers prefer experiences that are natural, easy, and seamless.
“Customers have high expectations, little patience and many options when it comes to who they do business with. This year, our CX Trends shows that this shift in behavior has prompted leaders to invest in technology that creates immersive, seamless experiences. These new standards of customer service are critical to boosting customer acquisition and loyalty, as well as profitability,” said Adrian McDermott, Chief Technology Officer, Zendesk.
The report highlights that Artificial Intelligence (AI), conversational experiences, personalization, customer well-being and sentiment, and integrated teams are important factors for businesses to deliver immersive experiences, which will be the future of CX.
Customers expect AI evolution
Leveraging AI in customer service is becoming more prevalent, and customers are becoming more accustomed to it. Out of those who regularly interact with customer service bots, 72% have reported an improvement in the quality of service and that bots are efficient in answering simple queries, respond faster than human agents, and consistently provide accurate and helpful information.
The report also suggests that customer expectations have changed, as 75% of users expect AI interactions to be more natural and that AI will be able to answer the most complex questions.
Fluid interactions continue to be relevant
Customers are driving the trend towards conversational experiences because they prefer interactions that are seamless and natural to put them in control. For instance, when a customer stops an interaction, they expect that the next representative will be able to continue the conversation where they left off. As a matter of fact, 70% of customers are willing to spend more on brands that provide a seamless experience across all points of contact. Additionally, 64% of customers will spend more if their issues are resolved quickly and efficiently.
Businesses are still trying to catch up, as 71% of leaders are dedicated to reimagining customer service, and 60% plan to enforce conversational customer service experiences.
Customers expect more personalization
The report shows that 59% of customers want companies to leverage the data they have on them to provide personalized experiences that go beyond basic marketing, whether they are interacting online or in-store.
Many companies have a limited understanding of what personalization means and how to deliver it, which is not in line with the expectations of 62% of customers who believe that companies can do more to personalize their experiences both in-store and online. If companies can effectively deliver personalized experiences, they have the potential to build long-lasting customer relationships. As many as 77% agree that deeper personalization leads to increased customer retention.
Customer sentiment is changing CX
Businesses are often unaware of customer emotions. Despite attempts to improve customer satisfaction, 63% of business leaders acknowledge that these efforts have been reactive. Additionally, few companies have implemented formal methods for tracking emotional data, and only 22% of leaders and managers use customer sentiment to tailor the customer experience.
A poor experience with a company can lead to long-term emotional harm and turn customers into critics. Actually, 73% of customers will switch to a different company after multiple poor interactions, and over half will leave after a single unsatisfactory experience.
The future of CX
CX leaders understand the value of creating immersive experiences and see that support functions can lead to increased revenue. As many as 72% of business leaders believe merging teams and responsibilities related to CX will lead to greater operational efficiencies, while 64% are already planning to make it happen.
Technology continues to have a critical role in delivering exceptional experiences. As McDermott says: “The brands that invest in technology to provide a seamless, immersive CX will see a boost in customer acquisition and loyalty, and ultimately profitability.”