The future of customer experience – adapting to evolving customer preferences

Customer experience
John Robinson By John Robinson, Commercial Director, Ant Marketing

In the world of customer contact, understanding and adapting to customers’ evolving interaction preferences is crucial for sustained success. Customer experience (CX) is at the forefront of this evolution, as businesses strive to create seamless and personalised interactions.

In this article I explore how customers’ changing preferences will shape the future of CX, drawing insights from recent research to shed light on the emerging trends.

Personalisation: the key to customer satisfaction

Creating a personalised experience is something that ‘we’, as consumers, can fully appreciate. In recent studies, the importance of creating personalised experiences has been highlighted and directly linked to increases in customer satisfaction. A survey conducted by Accenture Interactive in 2022, named “Personalization Pulse Check” found that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognise, remember and provide relevant offers and recommendations. As customers become more discerning, businesses need to leverage data-driven insights to tailor their services and products to individual preferences.

Rise of omnichannel experiences

Customers now expect a seamless experience across various channels, be it online, in-store or through mobile apps. A PwC survey, “Experience is Everything” published in 2022 revealed that 73% of consumers use multiple channels during their shopping journey. The integration of these channels into a unified, omni-channel experience is becoming a necessity rather than a luxury. Businesses that successfully implement omnichannel strategies are likely to gain a competitive edge by meeting the diverse preferences of their customer base.

The growing impact of artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing an increasingly significant role in shaping customer experiences. Machine learning algorithms are able to analyse vast amounts of customer data to predict preferences and behaviours, enabling businesses to anticipate and meet customer needs. This insight can be utilised by agents or chatbots, enhancing customer interactions by offering instant and personalised assistance, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Social media as a customer service platform

Social media has transcended its role as a mere communication tool to become a primary platform for customer service interactions. A study by Sprout Social in 2022 called “The State of Social Media in Customer Service” found that 46% of consumers use social media for customer service. Acknowledging and responding to customer feedback on platforms like X, Facebook and Instagram is now an integral part of the customer experience, influencing brand perception and loyalty.

Sustainability and ethical consumerism

A significant shift towards sustainable and ethical consumerism is impacting customer preferences. This growing national consciousness, propelled by the climate crisis and improved ethical awareness, is driving consumer change and adaptations in their buying habits. Research by Nielsen in 2022, titled “Sustainable Shoppers Buy the Change They Wish to See in the World”, indicates that 73% of consumers are willing to change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact. Businesses that align with ethical and sustainable practices not only cater to evolving customer values but also enhance their brand image, fostering long-term customer relationships.

Emotional connection as a CX driver

Developing an emotional connection to a brand or business is emerging as a powerful driver of customer loyalty. A Harvard Business Review study named “The New Science of Customer Emotions” revealed that emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers. Brands that evoke positive emotions through their products, services and marketing efforts are likely to create lasting connections with customers, driving repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.

The importance of keeping up with evolving preferences

As customer preferences evolve, understanding and adapting to the shifts will be pivotal in creating successful customer experiences. Personalisation, omnichannel strategies, AI integration, social media engagement, sustainability and emotional connection are all key elements that will shape the future of CX. By staying attuned to these trends and leveraging the insights provided by recent research, businesses can proactively meet and exceed customer expectations, securing their position in the evolving market. Embracing the future of CX is not just a choice but a strategic imperative for sustained success and growth.