In 2017 Verint launched its inaugural Engage Index which provided the market with first-hand insights on how the customer experience (CX) interlinks with employee engagement, technology and innovation, which in turn drives business growth, profit and performance.
 
In 2018, Engage went ‘on the road’ and toured the region, from Singapore to Shanghai, Sydney and Auckland, to speak with leaders of global brands active in the customer service space. We spoke to them on the future of CX and what trends we can expect to see in 2019 and beyond.
 
Overall, there were three insights that stood out as directly impacting leaders and organisations in the CX industry.
 
  1. Invest in people and technology. While we live in a ever changing digital world and organisations invest heavily in digital transformation, the message is clear – customers want an experience that is both digital and human. Almost 70 per cent of people surveyed said the way to deliver an omni-channel customer experience is through balanced investment in technology and people. Additionally, 35 per cent said employee engagement can be improved through emotional intelligence training, further indicating the subtle balance between people and technology.
 
Gartner found similar results in their CMO Spend Survey 2018-19, where their lead analyst concluded a shift in marketing spend indicates that organisations are dealing with capability, resources and talent in increasingly complex ways.
 
Digital channels cannot replace the human touch in customer service. Instead, the two must work together to service the customers’ needs.
 
  1. Data security is high on the agenda. Customers will not trust a brand unless their data is secure. In this competitive landscape it is difficult to win customer trust. One area that can help win loyalty and repeat business is by securing customer data. Over 54 percent of those surveyed said customers are very concerned with organisations’ privacy policies. This rose from 52 per cent last year. 
 
Furthermore, 74 per cent of respondents said trust is the most desired customer perception. In order to win trust leaders must have the right privacy policies and processes in place to protect customer information.
 
  1. Strong leadership needed to drive a better customer experience. Building an innovative, customer centric culture from the top down is high on leaders’ priorities. Thirty nine per cent said this was the area they would invest in to remain competitive over the next 12 months.
 
Leaders also agreed that having someone on the executive leadership team who champions customer experience is a necessary investment – 85 per cent said the Chief Customer Officer owns the customer experience function in their organisations. A rise from 62 per cent last year.
 
Where to next?

While technology continues to disrupt the customer service industry, our research once again shows the future of customer experience is reliant on both people and technology. Forward-thinking organisations are taking advantage of technology to fulfil simple processes and using human power elsewhere to make real meaningful connections with customers.
 
Building excellent customer engagement is journey, one that must begin with strong leaders committed to building a customer-centric culture. It involves putting the customer at the heart of the organisation and having sysems and processes in place that can listen to what the customer is saying. When you get this right, delivering an exceptional customer experience becomes an organisation’s competitive advantage.