Top Customer Experience Trends In 2023
Forbes recently announced the top customer experience trends in 2023, based on the survey conducted in the US with 2,000 participants. The trend report highlights key findings of the survey and defines the factors that the customers consider while making certain consumption decisions such as buying from one company among its competitors, keeping their loyalty or switching to a competitor.
There is no doubt that as customer expectations shift rapidly, the experience that the company provides is as crucial as its products and services. In Forbes’ recent evaluation of the best CRMs for small businesses, almost half of the customers, 49%, state that the relationship a company nurtures with its customer base is as significant as its offerings. Therefore, we need to have a look at what customers care the most when interacting with companies.
What are the factors that affect customer loyalty?
- Customer service and rewards programs. According to the survey, customer service and reward programs are the top 2 factors to keep the customers loyal. Businesses should consider that customer service is not only about solving problems but it is the overall service that a company provides.
- Personal values alignment. Most of the time, personal value alignment is not prioritised as much as the tangible benefits. However, in the survey, 61% of respondents indicate that their loyalty is affected when a company’s actions and ethics align with their own values which include social and political stances, ethical values and environmental responsibility.
- Product quality: 70% of consumers are prepared to switch brands to a higher-quality alternative, valuing not just durability and aesthetics but also sustainability, energy efficiency, and a solid reputation for quality.
- Lifestyle and financial changes: 16% of consumers indicate they would change brands to better fit shifts in their personal or financial situations.
86% of consumers are comfortable with the involvement of AI in company operations
Once widely believed that customers were sceptical of AI’s role in business services and operations, Forbes’ survey now reveals that the majority actually approves of integrating technology into customer experiences, accepting AI as a solid component of business – customer interaction. These are the fields that the consumers approve AI usage:
- Product descriptions written by AI are evidently becoming a standard in consumer experiences, indicating a prevailing trust in AI’s capability to accurately convey product advantages and attributes.
- Marketing content produced by AI is receiving considerable approval from consumers.
- Chatbots and automated voice systems are no longer occasional features, but they are routinely accepted interfaces. They are utilised not only for answering frequently asked questions but are also trusted to solve problems and provide personalised service.
These insights are significant to provide a nuanced picture of consumer sentiment towards AI. Companies tuned into these nuances can better align their AI strategies with customer expectations, identifying the optimal point where technology improves the customer journey.
Are customers willing to pay more for quality customer service?
According to the survey, 48% of the customers are willing to pay more for quality customer service. This makes it obvious that customer service is gaining higher priority as the consumer’s time and trust are increasingly hard to win. So how can brands satisfy their customers with customer service? What matters for a quality customer service according to the survey can be listed below:
- Knowledgeable staff. 55% of consumers value knowledgeable staff. So training programs should be always revisited, invested and improved for a quality service.
- Fast response times. It is not just answering faster, but it also involves the agility in adopting the new circumstances and market conditions. Also, speed always goes along with the quality of the service.
- Human Interaction. 40% of consumers still prefer human interaction for resolving issues over chatbots and automated systems. This shows that companies should consider building human + AI service models to satisfy both groups while increasing efficiency.
- Clear, consistent messaging. Being clear and consistent is a must for every kind of customer interaction.
Consumers are willing to invest more for a service experience that respects their time, understands their needs and communicates clearly. So customer service is definitely an area that companies should focus and invest in.
46% of customers will buy more when given a personalised experience. So what forms of personalization matters most for the customers?
- Offers & discounts remain highly attractive to consumers, but effectively capturing their interest requires promotions tailored to their specific needs and shopping histories.
- Product recommendations. Companies should enhance algorithms by integrating data like user reviews and social proof to offer more comprehensive and persuasive product recommendations.
- Text message marketing. Receiving a message from a brand can give a sense of exclusive access or preferential treatment. Companies send WhatsApp Business messages for marketing purposes, aligned with communication habits of their customers.
- Targeted address & email marketing. They maintain substantial influence due to the evolution of targeting mechanics from broad demographic categories to detailed behaviours and preferences.
- Personalized packaging, such as including a thank-you card, can elevate a standard transaction to a memorable experience.
The survey shows that personalization really matters and companies have to have a concrete strategy for personalization that opens the door to increased sales and long-term loyalty.
Half of customers are open to sharing personal data in exchange for a personalised experience
Customers, recognizing the value of their data, are prepared to exchange it for the right price. So, under which conditions are they willing to share their data:
- Transparency. A remarkable 62% of consumers require clear information on how their data will be used by the companies.
- Benefits and customization. Consumers, valuing practicality, are willing to share personal information in exchange for perks and refined experiences.
- Speed. Almost 50% of respondents are ready to exchange personal information for quicker interactions such as a swifter checkout or more instant customer service.
What are the most important services for companies to provide?
Evolving shopping habits now prioritise certain services, which frequently define the purchasing process, highlighting consumer expectations in the current retail landscape. Let’s have a look at these services.
- Shipment tracking. Over half of consumers expect regular updates on their online orders. Brands have to consider providing real-time updates into their mobile apps or websites and easy ways to track shipping like e-commerce chatbots.
- Shopping via social media. 41% of consumers desire a seamless transition from social media browsing to purchasing, thus AI-powered virtual assistants on social platforms are increasingly popular for providing a smooth and effortless shopping experience.
- Contactless payments. Businesses can address this demand by implementing tap-to-pay and mobile payment solutions, as well as AI-powered virtual assistants that facilitate credit card payments during the conversation.
- Buy now, pay later options. Offering financial flexibility appeals to 36% of consumers and can be a decisive factor for those contemplating a purchase.
- Curbside pickup. 28% of consumers, notably those with busy schedules, have a sustained preference for the convenience of enjoying services without exiting their vehicles, transcending merely a pandemic-era innovation.
The survey Forbes conducted provides valuable insights on in which areas companies should focus on and invest in regarding customer experience. Customers have different expectations, including adoption of technology like AI, contactless payments, high quality customer service, alignment of personal values and more. Brands should definitely take them into consideration as we live in an era where the consumer’s voice shapes the brand’s offerings, in terms of the overall experience as well as the products & services. Brands that see the importance of them and adapt accordingly will stay relevant and define the expectations for the near future.