Customer Experience Predictions 2019: Part 1

Andrea Lowe | December 04, 2018

Customer experiences have changed a lot in the past few years. Technology has made it possible for customers to connect with companies in new ways, and this convenience has caused expectations to skyrocket. Effortless, friction-free experiences are now table stakes, as customers display little tolerance for brands that can’t deliver.

With expectations climbing every day, how can you be sure you deliver the experiences customers want today and are on track to continue delivering the experiences they’ll want tomorrow?

To help you plan for the years ahead, we’ll break down the top six predictions expected to impact the world of customer service and customer experiences in 2019.

CX Prediction 1: Chatbot Experimentation is Over

The past few years have been about all chatbot experimentation. Companies eager to get on the chatbot bandwagon were trying different things with their implementations, some even launching multiple AI chatbots in an effort to give customers what they wanted. With no clear strategy in place for what they wanted their chatbot to do, results were less than stellar.

In 2019, the freedom to have fun and experiment with chatbots is over. Moving forward, it will be all about strategy – where should you use your chatbot and how should it help customers? Companies need to know exactly how they want their bot to perform, and make sure it is performing correctly, or they risk facing backlash from unforgiving customers.

47% of customers will abandon purchases if they can’t find quick answers while they’re shopping online.
- Forrester

Companies who launched bad chatbots will also need to work to regain customer confidence, as their poorly planned pilot projects likely came at the expense of customers. Any negative experiences that might have helped the chatbot learn through machine learning were still negative experiences for customers, and many of those customers will still expect to have a bad experience when interacting with chatbots. Companies will need to clearly showcase how much value their chatbot can now offer customers in their moment of need.

If you’re looking to be more strategic with your chatbot implementation, here are six steps to follow to prevent it from facing customer backlash in 2019.

1. Don’t deploy a chatbot on its own

Chatbots need to be part of your entire customer engagement strategy, otherwise it will create a disjointed or dead-end experience for customers. Be sure your chatbot is fully integrated with all your other channels so your customer experience is consistent across touchpoints.

2. Don’t pretend your chatbot is human

Be sure your customers know they’re talking to a chatbot. Don’t ever try to fool them into thinking they’re talking with a human agent. Customers today are too savvy and will figure it out – if they feel like you tried to fool them, it could seriously impact how they view your brand.

3. Always escalate at the right time

If customers aren’t getting the answers they need, you’ll further frustrate them by making it hard to connect with a human agent. Always give customers a clear way out, and make your chatbot intelligent enough to recognize when a customer is getting upset, so they can transfer to an agent before any damage is done.

4. Keep it relevant

Chatbots are not set and forget solutions. Many companies underestimate how much effort it requires to keep chatbot solutions at the top of their game. Click to Tweet Customer preferences are constantly changing and you need to plan and provide the right amount of resources for maintenance and regular chatbot learning to ensure it’s always performing the way customers expect.

5. Don’t hide the chatbot

Design, placement and branding of your chatbot are all paramount so customers can easily find and engage with it. The chatbot must be part of the entire website or mobile experience and should be proactive in identifying appropriate moments to engage your customers.

6. Collaborate across departments

Don’t deploy your chatbot in a vacuum. Your marketing, digital experience, sales and customer care departments all need to collaborate on your chatbot deployment so customers get a seamless experience.

Hear more customer experience predictions for 2019 in our on-demand webinar. Listen now.