“Good enough” is no longer good enough when it comes to customer experience (CX). What’s driving that? Partly, it’s an elite few brands that are raising the CX bar high for every company, regardless of industry.
Here’s the catch, though: the bar isn’t rising the same height for everyone. Some industries face a greater risk of disruption than others. Often, it’s because they now find themselves in direct competition with CX elites (e.g., grocery vs. eCommerce giants). Or they provide a function or journey that, to a consumer, looks pretty similar to one where an elite is absolutely crushing it. (“I love how X brand does this: why can’t my pharmacy do it, too?”) In each case, CX transformation is necessary. But it’s also imminent.
Which industries need to take the biggest steps to reinvent their customer engagement? And what are those steps? Some thoughts below:
Instead of competing with eCommerce on catalog depth or price, retailers will continue innovating their in-store shopping experiences. This includes more intuitive touchpoints relating to curbside pickup, notifications and loyalty programs.
In the span of a few years, buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) options went from a nice-to-have, to a pandemic necessity for keeping brick-and-mortar locations functioning, to where there are now: a consumer expectation. What leading retailers are doing with BOPIS is expanding it to cover all the variations customers might want: offering not just in-store pickup, but drive-thru and curbside. The key is and, not or. They’re also speeding up the pickup processes and minimizing contact, as well as making it easier for consumers to validate their purchases (like no need for store associates to scan the customer’s phone).
Augmented Reality & Virtual Storefronts
Businesses are making more of their in-store experiences accessible digitally through augmented reality (AR). Virtual try-ons are a prime example. Early adopters of AR, like IKEA, are working to make their virtual storefronts a more seamless part of the buying journey.
2. Financial Services
Banks, insurance companies and other financial service organizations are starting to see a complete picture of each customer. That’s a huge deal in FiServ, where a company’s data has traditionally been fragmented across their numerous lines of business, from credit cards to property and casualty insurance. With a stronger grasp of each customer’s needs and preferences, these organizations will vastly improve key journeys.
Streamlined Claims Experience
Major insurance companies have enabled customers to upload photos for claims, and they can take their low-touch process a step further with AR. Imagine if a claims adjuster can look at a car collision loss remotely through the customer’s phone camera. Virtualizing processes for certain claims can speed up resolution to the degree that wows customers.
Banking AI Coming Together
While more banks are deploying AI virtual assistants to serve customers on the frontline, they’re also using AI to better serve them behind the scenes. Machine learning tools are speeding up fraud detection by 70% and improving accuracy by 90%. Now imagine those fraud detection systems connecting with a bank’s intelligent customer notification solutions to send out fraud alerts. Early detection, combined with quick notification, can supercharge a fraud prevention program.
Because they can be fraught with friction, patient journeys are ripe for improvement. A survey found that four out of five patients say even the most basic digital healthcare functions—searching for a doctor, accessing health records or making an appointment—need improvement. Watch for more providers to address these pain points by taking pages out of retail’s playbook.
Digital Swim Lane
Healthcare organizations continue to digitize more processes, and they’ll become better able to connect them. Look for more organizations to map out patient journeys in end-to-end swim lanes: from making/changing appointments to getting test results to paying bills. Orgs will more clearly walk patients through what happens next in their care. At the same time, they’ll gather more digital breadcrumbs they can use to better personalize experiences for those patients.
Like so many COVID workarounds, virtual care surged with new users, then it stuck with a large percentage of them who discovered how much they liked it. Telehealth usage leveled off at 38 times what it was pre-pandemic. It’s an opportunity for organizations to weave the doctor’s visit in with other digital touchpoints in a patient’s journey. Alibaba is linking telemedicine with insurance and online drug sales, for example.
Communications service providers (CSPs) see their consumer offerings sliding toward commoditization. That makes customer loyalty the B2C ballgame. Watch for CSPs to bundle more services to that end, like TalkTalk’s Netflix over Fibre package in the U.K, and leverage them in increasingly personalized offers. You’ll also see CSPs really honing their service journeys to keep customers happy.
Telematics for Service Updates
Many CSPs use GPS and telematics technology to monitor their service fleets. It’s quickly becoming standard for them to use it to update customers with technician arrival times, too. It’s a good thing: more and more customers will be asking, “If my rideshare app or food delivery service can tell me where the driver is, why not my cable/broadband provider?”
Remote Visual Support
It’s now commonplace for CSPs to use AR to help troubleshoot technical issues. According to a WBR survey, a third of CSP respondents use AR to support field technicians, another third use it to help customers make their own fixes/installations—and another third use it for both. What’s more, when CSPs deploy AR in their contact centers, they can help prevent truck rolls altogether (by 57%, from what we’ve seen).
CX Transformation: It’s Happening
If you’re taking a glass-half-empty approach, you could say organizations in retail, financial services, healthcare and telecom are the ones most vulnerable to losing revenue from having subpar CX.
I see it another way: 2022 will push those brands further than others to reinvent how they engage customers, and in ways that include the examples above. Necessity, after all, is the mother of invention.
Want to know more about how different industries are using their customer engagement tools? We have the data. Check out our State of the Customer Journey 2022 report, which you can download for free.