Three CX predictions and how to get some value from them

Three CX predictions and how to get some value from them

At the end of a year and the beginning of the following year all kinds of research organizations and pundits make their predictions. So could I but then, this year I choose to have a look at some predictions and comment on them. After all, there are predictions for all sorts of areas, including CX. So, what I’ll do instead is having a look at some them. I’ll analyse their rationale and give brief recommendations on what can be done to help work with them.

This should be far more beneficial for you than me adding my own – probably redundant – predictions for 2023. 

So, here we go! These are my top three, along with some recommendations for enterprise software vendors and their customers.

One in five CX programs will disappear

One of the predictions of Forrester Research is that “one in five CX programs will disappear”. The good news is that at the same time one in ten will get stronger. This is largely, because businesses have not yet embedded CX into their business strategy. A second reason is that CX professionals still struggle with calculating and defending the ROI of a CX initiative.

Sadly, Forrester is right. I agree and am actually a bit more pessimistic. Many business’s haven’t yet managed to tie the outcome of CX initiatives to business results. And at the end of the day, an expense needs to have a monetary consequence. This means, more revenue or less cost, more profitability. Being able to establish and defend this link is even more important in times where general uncertainty tightens budget strings. 

What to do as a vendor?

Be specific. Tell your customers what your solution addresses, how and enable them to calculate possible returns. Do not only offer software but combine them with the services that help customers achieve the goals that they use you for.

What to do as a customer?

The obvious way is to resolve the implementation gap. CX needs to be made part of the business strategy and therefore supported with meaningful and measurable KPIs. This needs to be in combination with good knowledge of what customers actually want and value.

CX practitioners need to build the ability to tie business outcomes, ideally financial ones, to changes done by CX initiatives. Where there are no consistent strategic objectives, cut the elephant into slices, identify pain points while keeping end-to-end processes in mind and set up honest business cases to address these pain points.

The power of automation gets understood

While Engage Customer reduces this to chatbots, we will see more automation. Bots, automations, will increasingly take care of the mundane. This will take the form of process automation where no or little user interface is needed and chatbots or digital assistants, where user or customer interaction is necessary. Both will lead to savings in time effort and money as they take away workloads from humans. In the case of customers, they will also increase the customer satisfaction, if implemented properly. Especially when looking at chatbots, we can see how powerful the underlying systems are when looking at chatGPT. Personally, I am already looking forward to its next iteration.

What to do as a vendor?

Automation is only one part of the game. Automation projects are crying for fast returns that are measured rather in months than in years. Where you use machine learning, make sure that your models are sound and helpful right from the outset. Offer prebuilt conversations for major use cases that can be deployed fast, very fast. 

Too many businesses don’t know enough about their own processes. This makes it important to combine process mining with process automation. Help customers identify processes, identify their shortcomings, and to automate the most pressing ones.

And above all: Don’t sell a panacea. 

What to do as a customer?

Automation always raises the human fear of being made redundant. So, the first three orders of business are communication, communication and, yes, communication.

Or else there is no acceptance.

From there on, identify the jobs that fall into the category of mundane, automate them and show the benefit to your staff. The benefit being that they can concentrate on activities that require humans. 

Don’t fall for the hype that got created around chatGPT. While the results seem amazing, there is still a long way to real world use.

In 2023 and 2024 we will see which of the notions “human helped by the machine” or “human displaced by machine” is closer to reality. 

Trust will become more and more important

This one is actually a combination of each two predictions by mycustomer and Shep Hyken. Trust relates to the transparent and customer benefit orientated use of their data. Additionally, companies going beyond just business by standing in for sustainability showing ethics, standing in for causes, increases trust. I combined them, as they are closely related to each other.

What to do as a vendor?

As a vendor, it becomes more and more important to take a stand to societal questions. Don’t do only lip service but actually walk the talk. Especially, renewable energy or use of recycled materials can also be used as a business advantage by lowering own cost. Have a stance to privacy and exhibit it in how you as a company behave yourself. In other areas this might be child labour along the supply chain or seemingly simple things like immersing into the local economy.

What to do as a customer?

There is always the dichotomy between privacy on one hand and personalization, even individualization, on the other. As a customer of enterprise software, it is paramount to implement the software in a privacy compliant way. Be clear about what data you collect and why, instead of hiding behind a lengthy privacy statement full of legal phrases. Collect only minimal data that helps helping the customer in the right now. That will help you, too. Remember, your success is a consequence of making customers successful. Technology usually allows for more than is allowed. Regarding sustainability and ethics the same as for the vendors apply. Don’t just give lip service.

One more thing

In deviation from what I wrote in the initial paragraph, here is a prediction of my own.

I just couldn’t resist.

The amount of buzzword-bingo will increase

Year over year we see the rise and fall of new buzzwords, created by analysts and businesses alike, in an attempt to become differentiable from the rest of companies around. They mainly get “invented” to create hyperbole and in the hope of becoming a signal in the noise that fills all communications channels. Prefixes will go beyond “hyper”. Different positively connotated terms will be connected to existing terminology. Recent examples include hyperpersonalization, hyperautomation or intelligent RPA. 

What to do as a vendor?

Resist the temptation. Differentiate yourself not by inventing a new shiny term for something that is not that shiny but convince with data and results.

What to do as a customer?

Don’t get fooled by hyperbole. Look under the hood and understand what is actually behind the term. That way, it is easier to compare different vendors. 

In this sense, let’s get moving into 2023!