The Customer Experience in 2020

Organizations should focus on three key opportunities to drive the future customer experience

Think about all the new technologies in the last 5 years that changed the customer experience (CX). Now imagine the same thing over the next 5 years. Scary isn’t it? By 2020, customers armed with more technologies than you can imagine will be demanding more from your organization’s customer experience. So, what can organizations do to create a winning customer experience in the future?

As Gene Alvarez, managing vice president at Gartner, told the audience at the Gartner Customer 360 Summit, the best CX leaders design their CX from the point of view of the customers’ motivations and goals, and then they build their brand around the CX; not the other way around. However, CX projects vary in complexity. Understanding the different components will help organizations focus on specific efforts that, in aggregate, will help improve the CX.

Gartner's Gene Alvarez discusses how organizations will need to adapt their customer experiences over the next 5 years during the Gartner Customer 360 Summit.
Gartner’s Gene Alvarez discusses how organizations will need to adapt their customer experiences over the next 5 years during the Gartner Customer 360 Summit.

The Future of Customer Engagement
The way customers, employees and enterprises will access mobile applications will evolve significantly over the next five years.

“By 2020, 40 percent of sales organizations will rely primarily on mobile digital technology for their sales force automation initiatives,” said Mr. Alvarez. “The types of devices and nature of application will greatly expand to support processes and real-time communication that were not possible with traditional computing technologies, such as laptops. This means that mobile strategies need to go beyond smartphones and tablets. These strategies must  move toward a multichannel approach to encompass and take advantage of concepts, such as the Internet of Things.”

By 2020, recognizing social media as a channel that is in use by the entire organization rather than on a department-by-department basis can help IT leaders and their customer service, digital commerce, marketing and sales counterparts orchestrate a multichannel, multipurpose CX.

While the customer engagement hub (CEH) may be futuristic for many organizations, today’s IT leaders that can identify social media’s role in the complete customer journey will be better positioned to enable transactions over social channels, or facilitate the customer journey from social media to other traditional or digital channels. This more clearly defined strategic goal has revenue generating and cost-saving opportunities for savvy CX leaders.

Using personalization and customer journey analytics technologies to enrich customers’ experiences will be key in the future customer journey and experience.

“Customers will not tolerate companies that have amnesia when it comes to remembering them and their preferences for recognition,” said Mr. Alvarez. “This makes it imperative for companies to recognize their customers and to serve them pertinent content that demonstrates the proper recognition and treatment.”

Customers believe that they have a relationship with a provider once they have transacted with that provider. They believe they should be recognized by the provider, and the experience should be mutually beneficial, and therefore designed with them in mind — similar to most relationships. This is particularly true where the seller or provider is seen as borderline privacy intrusive.

“If they collect all my personal data,” the buyer or constituent thinks, “then they should at least use all that data to understand me before they interact with me.” Moreover, they expect the relationship to be a positive one. They expect the provider to be competent and efficient, to provide assistance in solving their problems, and to honor promises made