22 Jan CX Futurism Customer Service Buzz
What is this Futurism Thing and Where did it Start?
Futurism: “concern with events and trends of the future, or which anticipate the future.” The word also harks back to an artistic movement started in Italy in the early 1900s that turned away from tradition and toward technological evolution. CX Futurism builds on these ideas.
The social science and business worlds engaged futurism in the mid-1900s, developing methods of predicting future trends:
“Corporations also played a role in futurology’s rise. In 1967, Royal Dutch Shell began to experiment with scenario planning, or the technique of using storytelling to speculate about the future…By the early 1970s, scenario planning became a common tactic at Shell, helping the company to better account for political and social developments that might impact its bottom line, like wars, scarcity and environmentalism.”
In customer experience (CX) we’re not talking about eliminating the past entirely, but using it to plan for a better future experience. The tools, techniques are evolving and so are customer expectations.
“Good futurists don’t actually predict the future. Rather, they try to “intimately understand what is happening now, the interconnectivity of those things, the degree to which there is a combinational effect among them, and how ultimately that manifests in society,” – Doug Stephens
Futurism in customer experience includes embracing the future, and thoughtfully updating policies and tools to accommodate that forward movement.
Blake Morgan has been predicting steps in CX evolution for years now. Of the current year she says:
“2020 is an exciting year for customer experience. As we enter a new decade, customer experience is firmly positioned as a competitive advantage and something most companies are prioritizing. It’s never been more important to deliver a consistent, seamless experience for customers and to look towards the future to find innovative ways to meet their needs.” – Blake Morgan
Embracing Technological and Social Change
Humanity is ever moving forward. Upgrades are made and there is no going back. The caves of the cavemen might still be interesting to archaeologists, but most people want to live in a place with windows (even curtains).
There is always a new movement that highlights where humanity is now and where it is going. Products are created with this in mind, while others are discontinued or become niche. 90% of the developed world has mobile phones now. However, there’s little market for a pager anymore outside of the medical world and period piece films.
Digital analyst and anthropologist, Brian Solis, states in his Prediction Series blog that for 2020: “CX (customer experience) and competing for the customer of the future become mission critical.”
It isn’t just about technological changes. Just like in the futurism art movement of the 20th century, there is a social component. Millenials and Gen Z in particular seek an authentic experience. They also want to buy from companies that have a positive effect on the world.
Formats change (vinyl, tape, CD, streaming) and so do preferences (no sulfates, cruelty-free, sustainably sourced, ethically made). Looking to the future is providing customers products and experiences in line with their developing values. Holding onto the past just because that’s the way it’s always been done is how to get left behind.
Using New Tools
Tech tools are expected to be a huge part of the future of CX, artificial intelligence fueled tech in particular.
Sas sponsored the study “Experience 2030: The Future of Customer Experience.” The study showed between 53% and 83% of brands investing in AI, holographic and/or AR/VR tools to improve CX.
Another area of investment: customer journey mapping. The only way to know what part of customer experience to update is to know what the customer is experiencing. Annette Franz of CX Journey calls mapping a “learning exercise”,”Maps bring understanding. They highlight and diagnose existing issues and opportunities; at the same time, they capture what’s going well, too.” Complex, but information provided by identifying the customer journey is useful to every part of CX going forward.
CSAT.AI maps both agent and customer experience in real time with automated quality assurance. Fueled by AI, this tool monitors 100% of chats/emails and provides insights to enhance CX with empathy.
CX futurism isn’t just a buzz word. It’s using actionable data to ensure B2C relationships have a favorable future.