Forbes just published their five top trends for those interested in where the Customer Experience (CX) is heading in 2017. The five trends listed in Forbes are:
- Internet of Things
- Machine Learning
- Data used to improve CX
- Smart diagnostics
- Mobile everything
I’d certainly agree on the first three points highlighted in the Forbes list. I think mobile everything happened at least a couple of years ago so I don’t think it needs to be on a CX trends list for 2017 and I think that smart diagnostics actually blends more with IoT. For example, the article talks about a broken washing machine that could communicate with the manufacturer by connecting to a smartphone. This actually seems a bit clunky to me. Why not just allow your washing machine to hook up to the wifi at home so it can be self-diagnosing problems in the background?
This is another issue I personally have with articles talking about the importance of the Internet of Things. In this 2017 prediction the example of a slow cooker you can turn on and off using your phone is given. Is that really going to change the world in 2017?
What is really important about the IoT in my opinion is that it creates an entirely new level of automated customer service. If all the items in your home are all connected then think about some of the opportunities that really creates. Yes, your washing machine can automatically communicate with the manufacturer if there is a potential problem, but your car could also do the same. Devices can make customer service requests without the owner asking or even being aware of the activity, meaning also that the brands need to start catering for these automated customer service requests.
But I would also add the two big “realities” to this list of trends to watch for in 2017. I know that some people have said that Virtual Reality (VR) will never happen, but I think the fact that the new Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox both support VR means that millions of homes will be VR enabled as we enter further into 2017. This will create a dynamic where companies selling valuable products – cars, vacations, new pool or kitchen – will be able to offer a virtual experience before the customer makes a decision. Eventually customers will expect this.
Likewise for Augmented Reality (AR) in retail. Brands are desperate to make the in-store shopping experience as personal as online and I think that getting customers to login to an app will go some of the way, but features like payment inside the app and overlaying the retail store with AR offers will really help to personalize that in-store CX.
But what do you think we should be looking out for in 2017? Please add your comments here or get in touch directly via my LinkedIn.