On Thursday, December 6th, we were thrilled to invite Forrester analyst Faith Adams for an exclusive webinar, hosted by Usabilla’s Katie Hickey, which explored Forrester’s Customer Experience (CX) predictions for 2019.
Along with the predictions, the session covered the intrinsic value gained from tuning in to your customers through feedback analysis and how a Voice of Customer (VoC) program is a clear path to improved ROI.
You can also watch the full webinar recording by registering here.
Current state of CX
The CX industry is changing quickly. In the past two years, firms have placed CX higher on their list of business objectives, with 76% of execs saying that improving CX is a high or critical priority. As the focus shifts more and more to great CX, customers demand more, which sets the context for the 2019 CX predictions laid out in the webinar.
Ironically, even though CX is growing in popularity companies still struggle to bring their Voice of Customer strategies to life. It seems that even those invested in VoC are simply holding their ground, but not necessarily improving.
Customer demands are always rising and evolving. Faith Adams reports that although businesses will excel and improve their customer experiences, 2019 will not come without its own challenges.
Predictions for 2019
1. Making a business case for CX
If CX pros want proper support from management teams in 2019, Forrester anticipates they’ll need to amp up their business plans with better ROI models and more mature measurements. As Usabilla CEO Marc van Agteren says, “ROI will have a new meaning, Return on Innovation.”
Because CX transformations are massive, take years, and cost millions, CX pros must build more compelling business cases for continued CX investment, which can prove complex as the below image shows. The evidence is there. In one study, Forrester found a 5.1x revenue growth for CX leaders over laggards. But without the connection between CX quality and business outcomes, CEOs will question its importance.
Large enterprises like IBM, USAA, and Citibank are beginning to supply well-circulated evidence of the ROI of investing in VoC but making the business case for VoC is complex. In 2019, CX pros will have to stay focused on ROI-driven cases like these to influence their own executives to buy-in.
CX advocates must break into the boardroom, push for better digital experience programs and demonstrate the financial benefits of implementing VoC programs to hesitant execs.
2. Abounding job opportunities
Forrester anticipates that 2019 will bring no shortage of opportunities to CX job seekers. In this hot job market, CX experts will have the luxury to be choosy about where they work. For companies on the hunt for CX pros, the challenge may be in distinguishing talented candidates from those who simply underperformed at their previous gigs. Adams jokes,
CX pros have this inherent desire to fix things
This is ringing true with many clients at Forrester. In 2019, Adams mentioned she’ll be curious to watch the progression of those companies who want to maintain their CX talent as well as sustain a solid budget for talent. Enterprises will have to be incredibly realistic about the depth and length of your digital transformation, so you can allot the correct amount of budget.
3. Customer success management will grow for B2B
Customer Success Management (CSM) is on fire in the world of SaaS software, and Forrester predicts that in 2019 it will carry into other industries as well. Support teams and automated, intelligent software will also free up CSMs so they can devote their efforts more on evaluating and optimizing the client experience.
Outside of the SaaS space, companies are beginning to invest in Customer Success. For example, Equifax is retasking their existing associates to pilot a Customer Success program. Associates are being organized in tier groups and developing skills that complement the traditional CS function.
At the core of Customer Success is relationship building. Relationships with third-party vendors are a key aspect to successfully propelling VoC strategies and digital transformation forward, so Adams sees these relationships growing in importance in the coming year.
4. UX professionals will evolve from doer to leader
Forrester sees that in 2019, companies will prioritize hiring designers with a proven ability to influence and who excel in relationship building. Design thinking is a core professional competency, requiring an intuition for what is good design and an understanding of when to engage a designer and when to make the call on your own.
CX pros often play the role of politician, communicating across departments and getting people to do things they don’t necessarily want to do. Herein lies the power in their ability to be both a doer and fill the role of leader.
As VoC programs are cross-functional, it’s important that product, UX and essentially every team step up to the plate in 2019 – and Forrester predicts that UX professionals will be the ones to lead the way.
Takeaway: more feedback, more value
Feedback is communication, which is synonymous with building trust. The option to directly leave feedback on your site about a bug or problem is a real driver of connecting with customers and improving your product.
Understand what CX means to people in an organization. This shows you how they define CX and helps you identify what’s important to them. In this way, you can build that relationship and set the tone for where you both go in the future.
Customers don’t care whether they’re interacting with marketers, UX designers or product teams. All that matters is whether the experience meets their needs, is usable and that, in the end, they are left with a positive impression of the brand or product.
Katie Hickey shares,
Get rid of the C or U in CX or UX. The customer only cares about the experience.
Communicating feedback throughout your organization, across various teams often poses a challenge, which is why Usabilla offers case management capabilities that differentiate Usabilla from traditional ways of collecting feedback. Check out how in quick video below.
Closing the loop with VoC
VoC is critical to shaping the future of great experiences, and the benefits can far outweigh the costs. This can only happen when the true value is perceived, which means CX pros need share that with the appropriate stakeholder to close the loop and drive CX change.