As the countdown to Christmas continues, David Turner CEO for Webhelp UK, India and South Africa, looks at 12 themes that will be trending in CX for the coming year and looks back on a very successful year.

My personal highlight for 2019 was the sheer number of new brands that we were able to bring into the business. It’s always a pleasure to reflect that so many market leaders have entrusted us to deliver crucial customer journeys for them.

I think that, one of the main reasons they have chosen to work with Webhelp is simply the way that we do business. I have been very encouraged by the new brand we launched this year, and our aim to ‘Think Human’ has really resonated with our people, our operation and our client base. Our clients see us as being modern, game-changing and really value the human connection that we provide to their customers – which will only become more important in 2020.

I am also delighted that we have been recognised by 12 industry awards, which you can read about more here. As ever, I am reminded that at Webhelp, our people make us what we are – and I look forward to seeing what their knowledge, creativity and ideas will bring us in the coming year.

12 CX Trends for 2020

  1. Humanising CX

It’s clear as we move into 2020, that CX must continue to evolve swiftly to prevent dislocation between increasingly automated services and the people using them.

As such, brands must start putting human experience at the heart of everything – taking an end-to-end view of the customer journey and leveraging digital technologies to improve human interactions.

  1. Emotions

We know that deeper relationships can be built by creating positive emotions during the customer journey, and that this will only rise in importance as services become more automated. Recognising and being able to improve how customers are feeling, will help companies to inspire loyalty, and create a sense of satisfaction and belonging in their audiences. Webhelp Emotions infographic

To drive this change, the industry as a whole, must develop more insight and strategies around emotional Intelligence. And, in turn, use this data to create emotional connections with customers.”

  1. Regulation

Building on the introduction of GDPR in 2018 and the focus on data security last year, the regulatory horizon will continue to grow in complexity.

The widening differences in legislation between the UK, Europe, China and the US will have a significant effect on customer experience and brands must remain vigilant and aware.

  1. Data Protection

Interest in Data protection will remain high, with Webhelp commissioned research confirming that, over half of consumers believe that this should be the top priority for companies.

(53% of Consumers believe that protecting consumer data should be THE top priority for companies – webhelp/yougov 2019.)

Following on from the coverage of high profile data mining scandals in 2019, we will see even more media emphasis being placed on cyber-crime, and as a result brands will have to work much harder to establish digital trust.

  1. Economic uncertainty

There is no doubt that the UK and Europe are experiencing a period of economic uncertainty around Brexit, which will be likely to continue into 2020. This has created a more cautious market for customer experience, but the pace of global demand will continue to drive our industry forwards at a rapid pace.

Companies cannot afford to slow down as investment in in-source, outsource & co-source services, alongside Multi-lingual capabilities in the right geographic hubs will become key requirements in 2020.

  1. Personalisation

Personalisation, whilst not a new concept, will continue to have a huge impact in 2020. Webhelp Personalisation infographic

It is especially important for youth markets, as according to our recent YouGov backed survey, the under 24s prioritise personalisation of services over availability.

In addition, there is a widening gap between the amount of consumers expecting a tailored customer experience and the number of companies actually offering this.

(69% of consumers wanting an individualised experience, and two-thirds expecting it, and yet only 40% of brands actually offer it, oneCloud IQ research.)

However, personalisation must be done well to avoid market overload. It has the potential to alienate customers – who, for example, will not hesitate to unsubscribe from repeated and stale email offers, or block sales numbers.

  1. AI and Automation

In 2020, firms who wish to capitalise on the huge cost and scale benefits provided by AI and Automation, must be ready to combat negative consumer views. Recent Webhelp research indicated that the vast majority of consumers would choose to speak to a human, especially when dealing with bills, faults or complaints.

However, as exposure to AI and Automation increases in daily life, people are likely to become more receptive, especially when AI fulfils a specific consumer need, like personalisation or security.

To succeed, brands must strike the right balance between human talent and advanced technology services.

  1. Blended Human and AI Services

In the evolving digital marketplace, it is critical that businesses consider new strategies for the future of commerce without human-to human contact.

However, automated voice systems like IVR and VAs can quickly leave the consumer feeling frustrated and disengaged. Providers must carefully weigh the potential benefits of automation against the impersonal impact AI will have.

The key to success will be collaboration – with automation working ‘in front’, ‘alongside’ and ‘behind’ the advisor. Crucially – for the best possible outcome in CX – the human touch should never be far away.

  1. The rise of multi-language messaging services

Instant messaging and webchat services are growing in popularity, and this will continue into 2020.

This trend is grounded the ability for customers to choose a fast contact method based on the need to resolve a specific issue, and again the right mix of advisor, automation and AI is paramount.

As outsourcing continues to grow, AI and automation will be used in language services alongside messaging, to help enable highly skilled advisors across the globe to solve customer issues swiftly and easily.

  1. Platform flexibility

The devices available to consumers are rising, with most of us using at least 4-5 a day, including laptops, smart phones, tablets and intelligent home devices.

So, 2020 will see an increasing blending of platforms and services – for example, conversations could start in an app and move on to voice or email afterwards.

  1. Always on engagement

This will create a far more personal level of communication with customers – engagement will become a continuous dialogue, much like the way we keep in touch with friends and family. Webhelp Always on engagement infographic

To keep up, brands need to be more flexible than ever before and excellent communication and tracking between channels will expected by customers.

  1. Real-time analytics

Today’s customers already have high expectations of brands to anticipate and respond to their needs wherever and whenever that may be.

To meet these demands companies need access to real-time analytics to understand and connect with consumers throughout the customer journey. Customers who receive timely, targeted and personalised experiences will reward brands with an increase in customer loyalty and increased sales.