In 2018, consumers have tons of options when it comes to connecting with brands, including interacting through digital and social channels as well as through artificial intelligence (AI). No, chatbots did not completely take over the world, but we think they are here to stay…at least for now. As brands look ahead to 2019 and beyond, they will continue to face the ongoing challenge of creating lasting, positive interactions with consumers. But to do so, brands need to avoid silos and develop strategies that integrate both human and artificial intelligence. We believe both strategies will continue in 2019 and beyond because ultimately neither one will replace the other. What else is on the horizon? Here are three trends to watch for in the new year.
A personalized experience is no longer considered a luxury when it comes to digital customer support – it’s an expectation. Now more than ever, consumers want a real human interaction and the feeling that brands understand and know what they want. One way this is being achieved is through the use of messenger apps. It’s predicted by 2021 there will be more than 2.4 billion messaging app users worldwide. So how do you achieve personalizion through a messenger app? Through two-way dialogue and the use of emojis to give the conversation a casual tone. The modern consumer craves interactions that are tailored to them and for brands to know when to approach them and when to stay away.
As consumers evolve so do their needs. Consumers want an instant answer to their questions, no hassle refunds, and on the spot discounts before they complete their shopping cart. Reward programs, free and same-day shipping, and in-store pick-up are all incentives consumers view as quick execution, instant gratification, and a healthy respect for their time. Leading brands in this area are also making investments in disruptive technology solutions to more quickly connect with consumers. This includes utilizing augemented reality, which gives consumers an accurate predicton of what they can expect before purchasing a product – saving them time, money, and the hassle of a return. Brands who are able to deliver that instant gratification and fast service may find themselves leading the pack in 2019.
Artificial intelligence (AI) to date has primarily been in the form of chatbots, self-service, and delivering convenient assistance to customers for simple transactions. Chatbots allow brands to provide 24-hour cost effective support. Even though chatbots didn’t take over the world this year, they aren’t going anywhere. In a recent survey, 15% of American adults have used a chatbot within the prior 12 months. So, what’s the perfect storm for CX when it comes to chatbots and dialogue? Authentic human conversation is once again valued as an essential component of customer relationships. This means brands need to create strategies that integrate both artificial intelligence (AI) and human interaction. Focus on human conversations and create spontaneous interactions that build rapport, trust, and satisfaction through both AI and human response.
Brands that successfully adopt personalization and convenience across both human and artificial intelligence channels will be in the winners in 2019 and beyond. Welcome to the new norm.
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