Emotion in CX, Introduction from UK CEO David Turner

David Turner, Webhelp UK Group CEO, introduces the blog serialisation of our latest whitepaper “Emotion: Establishing emotional connections with customers: What brands need to know” 

Commissioned by leading customer experience provider Webhelp, the series will look at what brands need to know about emotional connections with customers and feature a range of industry experts.

Great brands make us feel something. They’re there where and when we need them. The best ones go further. They chat, share, understand, fix, reward and put people first.

In the midst of the feelings brands inspire, how many of us really think about what we’re buying and why?

An interesting question as apparently 95 percent* of our purchasing decisions take place in the subconscious mind, which is overseen by our emotions.

If we look specifically at research from the retail sector, it has been shown that customers who feel an emotional connection to a brand are far more valuable to that brand, spending twice as much than those just simply satisfied with the brand; they also have a 306% higher lifetime value, stay with a brand longer and recommend more**. To thrive in today’s competitive landscape, it is therefore very obvious that brands must cultivate an emotional connection with their customers.

As part of this third chapter of the Webhelp Disruptor Series, we have once again commissioned research through polling experts YouGov. This time, we took a deep dive into the hot topic of ‘emotional connection’ and explored to what extent emotional connections exist between consumers and brands, what forms an emotional connection, and how people behave if they are emotionally connected to a brand.

While emotional connection can – and does – exist, it is not reported by all consumers. However, the extent to which our research revealed that emotional connection positively impacts consumer behaviours was hugely encouraging. People really do buy more, remain loyal and recommend more if they are emotionally connected to a brand. And it was no surprise to me to see just how crucial customer experience is to forming these highly profitable emotional connections…

And at a time when Webhelp has just launched its new brand vision of ‘Making business more human’, it was particularly interesting to see just how important being a ‘human’ brand is to consumers. Heartening reading indeed for us all at Webhelp – and no doubt other industry professionals who read this paper.

A word of caution however. As many brands undergo digital transformation, the focus on emotional connection – as well as ‘human’ brand attributes - must not be overlooked.

Often, given the number of channels that can be used to communicate with customers, brands forget that connection is essentially ‘human to human.’ But if brands are unable to establish and maintain strong emotional bonds with customers they will most certainly get lost in the choppy seas of competition…

* Harvard Business School

** www.prnewswire.com

You can follow the blog serialisation, and join the conversation, on the Webhelp LinkedIn and Twitter sites or read the Whitepaper in full below.

 


An Admiral Nurse’s story: Why the Dementia UK helpline is so important to families!

Webhelp is delighted to be working in partnership with Dementia UK as their corporate charity for 2020. When things get challenging or difficult, Admiral Nurses work alongside people with dementia, and their families: giving them one-to-one support, expert guidance and practical solutions. Today we talk to Admiral Nurse, Vicky Loewer, about her work on the Dementia UK Helpline and her personal commitment to fundraising.  

Tell us about the life-changing work you do with the Dementia UK helpline?

I have been working on the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline since 2016. It is such a fulfilling role for me as I come into contact with a wide range of people. As dementia specialists, the Admiral Nurses on the Helpline provide the most appropriate advice, tailored to individual circumstances.

It doesn’t matter what stage of dementia a family is at as we support families throughout the progression of the condition.

Can you give a real life example of how a call can make a difference?

There was one woman whose family member was showing signs of dementia but was refusing to accept support or to acknowledge that there might be a problem. I talked to the woman to gain a thorough understanding of the family situation, such as how their loved one was coping with day-to-day life.

I advised her to approach these symptoms as a general medical condition so their family member would be less anxious about a GP appointment. Dementia still has a lot of stigma but as Admiral Nurses, we shine a light on the condition and help families feel more confident about it.

On this particular call, I highlighted the importance of getting an appointment with a GP as this can be the route to a diagnosis and could rule out other treatable conditions, which may have similar symptoms to dementia, like depression. I spoke to the woman about the importance of building up trust and to see if there was anyone that the family member would be most comfortable with in taking them to the GP.

Are there any challenges in working on the helpline?

A lot of the work of an Admiral Nurse is being aware of family dynamics and finding the best route forward in light of these, which is a challenging as well as fulfilling part of the role. I’m passionate about raising awareness of the vital work which Admiral Nurses do. There’s a great team of Admiral Nurses working on the Helpline already but we do need to continue to grow to support the increased number of calls we’re receiving.

We know you are a keen fundraiser for Dementia UK, can you share any experiences or ideas that our employees could use?

I know quite a few local people who have family members with dementia so I decided to hold a Time for a Cuppa event at our local church hall.

The church warden advertised the coffee morning to all church members and placed posters on the church notice board which was a great awareness boost for the event. I also emailed the local school, which is connected to the church, and they kindly sent an email out in support too.

There was a great turnout on the day with over 50 people attending over a 3 hour period! It was fantastic to be supported on the day by three friends and another Admiral Nurse, Barbara Fitzpatrick. My close friends donated cakes and I made three cakes myself.

Tell us more about the Time for a Cuppa campaign…

The next Time for a Cuppa campaign week will be held on the 1st – 8th March but you can hold your tea party on any day – or month – that suits you! Just Invite some guests, bake (or buy) some cakes, take some donations and enjoy catching up with friends and family!

I would say the more cakes you have the better - so consider finding a way to sell them if they do not all go on the day. We sold over half of the cakes at the coffee morning and the rest I sold as an after-school cake sale.

Time for a Cuppa is such a wonderful event which brings people from all walks of life together. It’s a huge honour to be an Admiral Nurse and to help raise awareness of the vital work we do through events like this.

We will be supporting Dementia UK throughout the year and posting regular fundraising stories, led by our on-site Engagement Ambassadors at www.webhelp.com

To find out more about the valuable work of Dementia UK visit www.dementiauk.org

 

 

 

 


Why understanding emotion can be key to customer service!

Webhelp has launched a new whitepaper looking at the impact of emotional connection in CX.

The paper reveals the importance of establishing emotional connections with customers, and how brands can pin-point, monetise and measure those connections to drive value to their business.

We know that emotion is a huge part of the human experience. During the 1970s, psychologist Paul Eckman identified six basic emotions that he suggested were universally experienced in all human cultures. The emotions he identified were happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise, and anger. However, new research indicates that our spread of emotion could be much more complicated, which may have significant implications for how customer service is delivered.

Take a look at the infographic below for an overview of the new research and why harnessing emotion is so important in creating good CX.

Plus, Webhelp’s Disruptor Series takes a deeper dive into the issues facing the CX industry, including the impact of emotional connection by sector.

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE


Using emotion to connect in online retail

Webhelp’s latest Disruptor Series Whitepaper, highlights why, in 2020, it will be absolutely crucial that brands create deep and lasting emotional connections with customers. For the launch of our latest Whitepaper, ‘Emotion’, Kellyann McCafferty, Webhelp Account Director, looks at how emotion can strongly influence customers’ ability to bond with brands, especially in the retail and ecommerce sectors.

Preface: 27/04/20

Since publishing this blog, the world has changed dramatically, with entire countries entering strict lockdown periods and many regions operating under shelter in place instructions. The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to have an unprecedented impact on business and society across the globe and as a result the emotional component of CX is more vital now than ever before. Click here to find out more on our people first response to this crisis. 

So, how do you succeed in online retail?

The focus of a successful sales strategy, for many companies, will be firmly on brand reputation and visibility, price comparison, search engine optimization and streamlining the customer journey. With the overriding goal of getting the customer to the ecommerce purchase point.

It’s hard to deny that these are all fundamental steps, which we do very well at Webhelp. However, our experience tells us that, often brands do not concentrate enough on how their customers feel, through-out the whole cycle, and especially at the end of the journey.

This failure is the online equivalent of chauffeuring your customer to a grand restaurant, with a stunning red carpet entrance but ignoring their needs and giving sloppy service, once you’ve got them inside!

Marketing author Lindsay Kwan hits the nail right on the head, for industry blog platform Widerfunnel, saying:

“An emotionally resonant customer experience involves more than an e-commerce strategy that solves a problem or incorporates a marketing funnel that is easy to navigate… …are your customers landing on your e-commerce site and thinking this brand really gets me?”

I would agree that this is a huge (but avoidable!) pitfall for brands, especially those who rely on one time metrics like conversion rates and click through numbers, and then find their customers leaving hastily through the virtual back door!

Instead, we help our clients to use their data and insight to create predictive models, establishing the right touch-points for emotionally enriched customer relationships.

To stay with the restaurant analogy, we look after their customers from start to finish, we remember their birthdays (with a discount voucher), we take their coats, hand them that complementary glass of prosecco and ask if they’d like their favorite dish or to look at the new menu… and wave them off at the door, with the incentive to come back for a free dessert next time!

Good service at all levels is everything – and forms the emotional connection that can make the difference in your customer experience.

As Webhelp’s YouGov backed research from our new Whitepaper shows - when taken overall, customer experience was the top source of emotional connection with brands.

HBR.org

The paper shares expert industry insight on how emotion can have a huge impact on customer loyalty, share of wallet and recommendations, which is so important for retail - as David Turner, CEO, Webhelp UK India & South Africa explains:

“If we look specifically at research from the retail sector, it has been shown that customers who feel an emotional connection to a brand are far more valuable. To thrive in today’s competitive landscape, it is obvious that brands must cultivate an emotional connection with their customers.”

Emotion has the possibility to dramatically increase a customer’s lifetime value, as connected customers are more loyal, satisfied, and ready to buy more!

The Harvard Business Review states that emotionally engaged customers are at least three times more likely to recommend your product or service. They are three times more likely to re-purchase, and that (as their diagram shows) fully connected customers are up to 52% more valuable!

And, when we look closely at the market sectors that that UK customers are most likely to form emotional connections with, Webhelp data (as illustrated below) shows that ecommerce leads the way, with online sectors like Clothing, Grocery, Technology and Beauty coming out on top.

Ecommerce is booming with a growth forecast of 16% of all global sales in 2020, and brands that don’t strongly connect with consumers in this area, risk being rapidly left behind.

But the good news is, Webhelp has the right people, experience and insight to leverage emotion to create positive behavioural change and human connections with your customers, to insure they stay loyally connected to your brand. Read on to find out more.

In case you haven’t registered yet, sign up to receive fresh insights and invitations to exec events with our Webhelp Disruptor Series campaign https://www.go.webhelp.com/disruptorseries.


What should brands know about demographics and emotional connection?

For the third chapter of the Webhelp Disruptor Series, Webhelp takes a deep dive into the hot topic of ‘emotional connection’ and explore the following questions:

·        To what extent emotional connections exist between consumers and brands?

·        What forms an emotional connection?

·        How people behave if they are emotionally connected to a brand?

This infographic looks at some of the exclusive YouGov research within the paper, to find out how age, gender and social grade affects emotional connection.

Read our new paper to find out more.

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE


Whitepaper launch: Emotion, choice and being human in customer service

Author: Helen Murray,

 Chief Customer Solutions Officer - Webhelp UK, India and South Africa

Webhelp’s latest Disruptor Series Whitepaper, highlights just how important it is for brands to create emotional connections with customers. For the launch of our latest Whitepaper, ‘Emotion’, Helen Murray, Chief Customer Solutions Officer - Webhelp UK, India and South Africa, shares interesting consumer CX preferences, revealed by our newly commissioned YouGov survey of over 2,000 UK adults.


The best brands make us feel something, be it happiness, reassurance, confidence, comfort or nostalgia, they stir the emotions and make connections with us. In fact, emotional connection with customers is something as old as the hills, and is an extremely effective tool!

Emotional connection really matters - as our research shows it can have huge impact on customer loyalty, share of wallet and the amount and quality of recommendations made. It’s imbedded in all aspects of a brand – and yes, human to human interaction is hugely important, but with the right strategies in place, this powerful connection can happen across the full spectrum of brand activity.

The potential for emotional connections are there in what the brand stands for, its status, values and ethos, how it protects and respects personal data, the amount of trust and credibility a brand inspires, and of course at every step of the customer journey.

And Webhelp research confirms this - our YouGov backed survey of over 2000K UK adults, found that the top source of emotional connection was the overall customer experience, with a 53% share of the vote.

As consumers now have almost unlimited access to brands via multiple channels, establishing the right customer experience, with key emotional impact, has never been more critical.

According to the Office for National Statistics, virtually all adults aged 16 to 44 years in the UK were recent internet users (99%) in 2019. This figure rose for the older generation too, from 52% in 2011 to 83% for the 65 to 74 age group in 2019 – swiftly closing the gap on the younger cohort.

The knock-on effect of this is that the consumer audience has become increasingly informed and selective, with very high expectations of customer service, which are prone to clash with business agendas. David Turner, CEO Webhelp UK, India and South Africa, points out that:

“Often there are conflicting operational drivers. There can be a desire to cut costs, keep call times short, and replace voice with lower-cost channels. However, the whole experience needs to be designed to reflect what the customer is trying to achieve. Given customers’ increased ability to self-inform and self-serve, the motivation to speak to a real person can be because the need is complex or urgent.”

As you can see from the graph below, our recent research with YouGov – a full summary of which you can find in the Emotions Whitepaper (link) - shows that high levels of importance are given to most aspects of customer service. And, while speed (87%) was the top priority, choice (76%), human attributes (67%) and personalisation of service (60%) were both rated very highly.

These results are particularly heartening for us as, in October 2019, Webhelp launched its new brand vision of ‘Making business more human’. An essential goal for our sector, as many brands are undergoing a digital transformation, which - coupled with the number of communication channels to be juggled - presents a real danger of distancing customers. Brands must remember that the most engaging communication is essentially ‘human to human.’

Consumer desire for human contact and connection opens up vast potential for brands, as Polly Ashdown, Marketing and Communications Director, Webhelp UK, India and South Africa points out:

“Brands that really ‘get’ the importance of a human angle are focused on building trust, anticipating customer needs, and giving customers the edge. They know that consistency is key to trust and credibility, and focus on the entire experience, rather than one element of the customer journey.”

Our survey uncovered that being human was one of the top five sources of emotional connection with brands – the other four being; the overall customer experience, if a brand is easy to deal with, having similar values, and the quality of interaction.

John Leighton, Head of Customer Service for easyJet, recognises the importance of the whole package approach to emotional connection by saying:

“In terms of the human skills required to build emotional connection, we know that authenticity is key, and we are working internally and with Webhelp on how to make our customer experiences authentic.”

He continues: “We also know that advisor longevity is a key contributor to emotionally connected customers, and Webhelp is a strong force to be reckoned with in this area. For instance, advisor tenure in Cape Town has led to the highest levels of customer satisfaction across the entire company (easyJet estate).”

You can read more from John on how emotional connection is vital to easyJet’s brand positioning in the Whitepaper.

The survey also revealed that some very positive consumer behaviours result from being emotionally connected to a brand. These include; paying slightly more, loyalty, increased recommendation, and sharing of brand experiences. In contrast, only 4% of customers reported that having an emotional connection to a brand would not make them behave in a particular way.

Interestingly, the more affluent the demographic, the stronger the likelihood of affirmative action. Positive behaviours towards brands are, without exception, more prevalent in the ABC1 (the three higher social and economic groups) social grade. With 71% expressing loyalty and 57% willing to pay slightly more if emotionally connected to a brand, there are obvious benefits in creating emotional connections.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the future of CX is about managing and measuring what matters: emotional connections between brands and consumers – across all stages in the customer journey.

Brands must learn how to strengthen customer’s emotional connection, by providing intelligent ‘human’ conversations that can really ease complex or stressful interactions, something that we support our clients to do every day!

With that pressing need in mind, our ‘Emotion’ Whitepaper offers essential insight into the behaviours and actions that result from having a truly human connection with customers, and guidance on how to ensure that customers emotionally connect to your brand. Read on to find out more.

In case you haven’t registered yet, sign up to receive fresh insights and invitations to exec events with our Webhelp Disruptor Series campaign https://www.go.webhelp.com/disruptorseries.


Digital assistants: more than just a home bot

Artificial intelligence and machine learning opened the doors to a new innovation that promises to make everyday life, whether at home or at work more convenient: digital assistants. Voice activated devices quickly became the new must-have piece of intelligent furnishing in many households. Digital assistants can be used across many other devices, they can assist you even while being on the road and have become essential for businesses as well.

Checking commute times, doing research and setting reminders: the hands-free use allows you to multitask, reduces the screen time and frees your fridge from sticky notes. Besides making everyday life more convenient and efficient, talking to a digital assistant can make time on a commute more valuable. Technologies surrounding digital assistants, such as natural language processing (NLP), are improving constantly and are aiming to make the user’s experience as natural and helpful as possible.

Digital assistants change the way we interact with computers and the potential ranges further than just turning on a music playlist with a voice command. Businesses have begun embracing human-computer interaction (HCI) within an office setting, in order to boost productivity and work more smoothly and efficiently. “Productivity tech” can take over repetitive tasks, letting the employee focus on more complex tasks, by scheduling meetings, setting reminders and improving communication. For example, spoken phrases can be translated into a written text, which is a great tool to take notes in a meeting. Automating a meeting, by letting an artificial intelligence powered device listen and showcase data and insights relevant to the topic, will enhance everyone’s experience.

What can we expect from a future shaped by digital assistants? Major tech companies are racing to have the upper hand in providing the most fancy and helpful assistant technologies. New innovations are continuously being released and though they differ in many ways, they all share the way they operate: their core is an AI technology that relies on search engine and machine learning. Marketers face the challenge to adapt to the new way’s customers interact with brands.

In order to improve human interaction with computers, the digital assistant needs to function not just according to a specific program but behave proactively and responsively to the unique user. Thanks to machine learning, the AI base can “understand” and learn the individual user’s preference, memorize this information and implement it into their future search and suggestions. To enjoy a seamless experience the user has to be willing to share personal information.

As data security plays a major role in today’s world, it is a number one priority for providers of digital assistants to create a user experience that makes them feel safe. Devices come with an abundance of privacy features and software is being updated constantly. With the devices only being responsive when providing a “wake-up” word and by muting the microphone, companies assure privacy. To hide personal information from unauthorized parties, voice recognition and pins can be implemented. The user can block certain uses completely, such as making purchases and also review and erase information from the history. In the end it comes down to the user’s preference to choose which accounts they want to connect to the device and which information they want to share.

According to Tractica, by 2025 digital assistants will be used by over 1 billion people. Performing online purchases, operating home devices in an intelligent household and image recognition are the three rising trends we can look forward to, but we are far from realizing the true potential of digital assistants.

Are you using digital assistants? What is your experience? We would love to learn more, so leave us a comment below!


Why SEO is fundamental to every business

Few things are more important than SEO when it comes to driving traffic and sales to a website. Search engine optimization not only makes it easy for search engines such as Google to know what your website is about and rank you accordingly, but it forces you to think about the experience that the users will have when they visit it.

SEO goes far beyond using certain keywords in your content. Ten years ago, you could write a 500-word blog post with some relevant keywords in the title and subheadings and receive a substantial amount of traffic, but with each passing update to the Google PageRank algorithm, new levels of quality standards are imposed upon webmasters who wish to put their content in front of an audience. Today only the best of the best can make their way to the top.

To think SEO is to think quality

Think about what your clients expect to see when they’re considering making a purchase or hiring a service from you through your website: a clean design, good quality content with correct formatting, a clear structure, relevant images, graphics, etc. These elements inspire confidence and trustworthiness in your brand and there’s nothing more important than that.

If your text provides hyperlinks to other places on your site, visitors will find it easier to obtain additional information that will improve their experience and help them to make an informed decision. If your pages are organized in a silo structure for example, with more prominent pages being at the top and providing links to smaller, more specific pages, users will be able to navigate your website easily without having to use the search function so much.

Behind every SEO strategy there’s a logic that promotes the user experience. SEO does not exist to make your life harder, but to make sure that the websites that rank on searches are good quality, well-designed, informative and reflect the users search needs.

Organic search traffic is the most cost-effective type of traffic

There are some businesses that get by without relying on organic search traffic. They often have a very strong social media presence or YouTube channel that they use to attract subscribers and customers. Another strategy is paid advertisements to boost traffic such as Google AdSense or Facebook ads.

These are all important and valuable strategies, but they can be hard to master and too costly for smaller companies. SEO is relatively simple to understand and, although it takes time to get your website to rank well on search results, once it does the amount of traffic you can attract in the long term is invaluable for the specific audience you want to target.

SEO allows you to understand your audience

Thanks to Google Analytics and other free and paid webmaster tools, you can obtain very deep insights about your clientele. Which keywords do they search for? How do they behave on your website? Which time of the day are they more active? What demographic do they belong to? These are only a few of the many insights you can get from your website traffic. Based on this information you can build an effective marketing strategies and target your specific audience much better. This information can also be the knowledge base you need when you decide to implement some paid traffic methods.

SEO can provide a solid foundation on which you can build your brand, therefore the importance of organic search engine results and optimization should not be disregarded. Other forms of traffic generation can be built upon your SEO efforts but none of them will bring you the long term organic results, relevance and brand value that a thorough SEO strategy can provide.

How important is organic traffic for your business or blog? How have your SEO efforts changed over the past years? Tell us about it in the comments section, we love to hear from you!


Target audience definition – who, what, why?

Thanks to the modern digitalisation, the amount of data produced every day is simply incredible. A recent study revealed that, approximately 70.5 million new posts are produced each month equating to about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data a day! (Source: hostingtribunal.com)Many companies believe in sharing their brand message to a wider scope of people on the grounds that, the broader their reach, the more they will win new clients, but is that the right strategy? …probably not.

With the amount of information out there, if your company is not speaking to a specific audience, there is a high chance your message will end up drowning in that ocean of bountiful data. On the contrary, targeted marketing enables you to address your message to the right people most likely to do business with you. Defining your target audience correctly helps you to not only save on costs, but also earn more by only developing viable leads in your network.

 So how do you strategize to win in a B2B market?

Preparing to win starts long before you create that catchy hashtag for a social media campaign you would like to run. And while you maneuver through the definition process, the following questions should be your starters:

  1. What will your company bring on the table?
  2. Have you created your target customer personas?
  3. Have you done enough market research?

Core offering

Before diving into who your ideal customer is, you need to solidly understand what it is that you do best, what differentiates you from your competitors, why a potential customer would want to partner with you? What’s the number one reason your clients do business with you? What do they love most? What are their pain points? Answering these questions will help you to zoom in on your most suitable client.

Defining your core business will also lead you to tackle the question of who will benefit most from your offer, as well as what is your unique value proposition (UVP) that will set you apart from the rest. Having no UVP to distinguish you from your competition will lead you to compete only in terms of price. Identify what it is you do best in comparison to other players in the market.

Marketing personas

Creating in-depth marketing personas supports you to deliver content that is appropriate for your target audience. And because the purchasing decision in the B2B market segment is more complex, the analysis focuses on what the business needs most. Unlike in the B2C setting, one is tasked with the responsibility of identifying the unique needs of numerous decision makers in B2B.

Personalisation is your best friend when building B2B marketing personas. If you don’t dig deeper to discern your ideal customer profile, sooner rather than later, you will realise that trying to sell to everyone may lead you to actually selling to no one at all.  Answering questions such as, who is your best match? What is their buying process? How can you connect with them? will channel you to the right marketing persona.

Profound research

Before it’s all said and done, doing a thorough research about your prospective client will filter the funnel and leave you with only the right fit. From the tiny bits of information stored in your online platforms to the real conversations with your prospective clients. Tracking your site analytics and involving your colleagues who have customer data should be on board to share their perspective about the distinctive features of your customers. You can also use social media listening to find the right customers. Investing an ample time in digging up relevant information about your potential new client and the decision makers bring you one step closer to signing that big contract you have been working on!

What else should you look out for when defining your target market? Tell us below, we like to hear from you…


12 trends of CX for 2020

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.