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The Customer Experience of the Future

by Jessica Ekholm  |  April 24, 2017  |  Submit a Comment

Greater competition and growing user power have eroded traditional product- and service-based differentiation. Many businesses see the customer experience (CX) as a sustainable source of competitive differentiation.
In addition, disruptive tech such as AI (artificial intelligence), bots and VPAs will enhance and become integral parts of our future day-to-day customer experience. AI is increasingly becoming an important investment strategy for large personal tech vendors and is a key theme of start-ups in 2016 and 2017. Technology strategic planners need to rapidly invest in these areas to make sure they are ready to offer the smart, intelligent and seamless experiences users will become more accustomed to.
Over the coming years we will see a huge shift in how we communicate and interact with people, places and brands. Interactions with wearables or IoT endpoints in smart environments such as the connected home, car or smart workplaces will be driven increasingly by no-screen UIs aided by VPAs. Technology strategic planners must shift to a multimodal design through incorporating support for face/gesture/motion/emotion/object recognition and AR/VR, to create superior customer experiences of the future. A future purchasing scenario may be initiated through a voice command, continued through experiencing the product or solution via mixed reality, and finished using a combination of voice command and biometrics. Or going out even further our personal bots may initiate, predictively or not, the purchase for us and do a bot-to-bot (machine to machine) purchase where no humans are involved in the entire process.
However there are more pressing issues for organisations wanting to succeed in sales, marketing and brand management over the coming one to two years. The inherent core of CX is being able to create excellent customer journeys from pre- to post sales and beyond thus it is becoming ever more apparent that organisations need to focus on how CX initiatives can become a team rather a marketing only initiative. More urgent focus is needed to open up the communication channels between IT to sales to marketing and being able to use, current, siloed customer data to create coherent customer journeys. Apart from gathering and cross pollinating customer data bases organisations are also looking into how to use customer analytics, predictive and prescriptive. To that effect to support CX initiatives organisations are increasingly putting more investments in customer analytics tools. In a recent Gartner Research Circle survey of 165 members showed that in 2017 41 percent of organizations said they expect to increase investments in this area during 2017, while 84 percent said they expect to increase their CX technology investments as a whole with digital marketing analytics being the top technology to invest this year followed by customer journey analysis.

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Jessica Ekholm
VP Analyst
21 years at Gartner
22 years in IT Industry

Jessica Ekholm works as a Vice President covering customer experience (CX). Her CX focus is particularly on how to use AI to improve the customer experience, covering Voice of the Customer (VoC), NLP including sentiment analysis, emotion analysis, text and speech analytics. She also covers conversational platforms, chat bots and voice bots. Read Full Bio

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