Customer experience has fundamentally changed. In fact, today it is in a state of constant evolution alongside the development of technologies such as generative AI, automation and personalised computing.
Technology is shifting the way businesses facilitate the customer experience, be it through customer touchpoints such as built-in games, chatbots, personalised shopping experiences or otherwise.
From insurance, to banking, retail and even public services, customers are becoming more expectant of digital and tech-enabled experiences that make their interactions with businesses more seamless, stress-free and pleasurable. Here are six ways businesses will leverage tech to ensure these experiences for consumers in 2024.
1. Leveraging generative AI
Today, generative AI is becoming increasingly important and essential for any business’s customer experience (CX) strategy. It can, for example, be integrated into chatbots, which can provide automated, 24/7 customer support. That makes it easier for customers to resolve issues themselves quickly, something that many customers prefer (one piece of research, released in 2022, found that 81% of customers expect more self-service options).
“Using AI-powered customer support tools has other benefits too, including freeing up customer support staff to deal with more complex problems that need human intervention,” comments Andrew Bourne, Regional Manager, Africa at Zoho
Organisations can leverage generative AI to enhance customer experiences by employing it in content creation. For example, Bourne comments on the travel industry, saying, “An online travel booking platform could harness AI to curate personalised itineraries for each customer, taking into account their preferences, chosen destination, and budget constraints”.
This level of customised service distinguishes your brand from competitors. Add to that the AI’s capabilities in assisting with content creation, including blogs and social media posts, and you possess a formidable toolkit to captivate and engage customers continually.
2. Customer-centric personalisation
An emerging trend for 2024 is that technologies, including AI, machine learning, and more robust data analysis, empower the insurance industry to create intelligent underwriting for competitive pricing and tailored insurance products.
This means that consumers can make changes to their plans, submit claims at any time, and start or stop their coverage with a simple click, thanks to adaptable and tailored solutions. According to Mishaya Chettiar, Executive Head at Everything.Insure, “These technologies enhance efficiency in claims processes, risk evaluations, and policy processing. AI-driven insurance systems automatically adjust or suggest new offers based on changes to individual risk profiles or shifts in the industry”.
In 2024 customer-centric personalisation will undoubtedly shape a more dynamic and responsive insurance landscape.
3. Using collaborative approaches to ecosystem development
In 2024, the seamless integration of hardware and software ecosystems utilising foundational technologies to drive productivity and user experience will become increasingly important. This is according to Akhram Mohamed, Vice-President of Operations at Huawei Consumer Business Group South Africa.
“In fact, foundational technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G are already changing how people work, play, and live by facilitating efficiency and creativity. Those roles will only grow in the coming years,” adds Mohamed. According to the Intelligent Word 2030 Report, the total size of the global AI market will exceed US$2.8 trillion by 2030.
“To be truly effective,” says Mohamed, “AI technology must be implemented correctly. Building thriving ecosystems that are beneficial to both businesses and society requires matching the right technologies with the right scenarios. Open hardware, open software, and collaborative approaches are imperative to scaling ecosystem development and providing meaningful use cases for these transformative technologies.”
4. Combing tech and the personal touch for seamless service in 2024
Time could become one of the biggest factors behind a consumer’s decision to stick with a brand. Websites that are not user friendly, incompatible technology, lack of mobile friendliness, having to scan or fill in paper forms could cause a customer to turn back and never return to a brand they’ve had this experience with. Especially when these experiences occur within their banking and financial services experiences.
“While some fintech companies typically use outdated, white-labelled software which is not easily customisable and results in inefficient processes and clunky interfaces, Future Forex has built a system and processes specifically for the forex space,” says Joshua Kotlowitz, Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of Future Forex.
These systems not only enhance, simplify and improve client services but also offer several advantages, including full digitisation of processes and comprehensive automation. “Clients never have to print and sign a document or enter the same information twice,” he adds.
In 2024, Future Forex will take this digitisation one step further with the release of
an online platform that offers a user-friendly interface that allows clients to effortlessly manage their accounts.
5. Impact games are expected to be more embraced by businesses in 2024
“The biggest opportunity that we see is for technology to actually help put the customer at the very centre of the marketing experience – i.e. putting the market back into marketing,” says Lebo Lekomo, Head of Client Services at Sea Monster Entertainment. “ The way to achieve this is by leveraging the world’s favourite entertainment medium – games. Games offer a way for brands and businesses to integrate into their customer’s life story meaningfully in order to improve and enrich the relationship that they have with a brand”.
Lekoma says “Over the last few years, we have seen that connectivity has increasingly become the only true enabler for people, and experience has become the biggest differentiator that businesses can offer their customers. In a world where customers expect more from businesses, the ultimate question is therefore how do we leverage technology, not for its own sake, but in a way where businesses can get closer to their customers and actually engage and exchange with them in a real and valuable way? We believe that 2024 will be the year that mainstream marketing will truly embrace the full power of games and that more businesses will use gaming as a key part of their marketing and brand-building efforts.”
6. Using tech to evaluate performance and productivity
“Today’s top talent expects more from their company than just a paycheck. To adjust, companies will place a renewed focus on workplace culture and supporting employees both inside and outside of the workplace. These investments will lead to higher employee satisfaction, better retention, and overall business success. Companies that choose to focus on these areas will continue to lead,” says David Ard, Head of Employee Success, Slack and Salesforce.
In 2024, businesses will transform the way they measure performance and productivity to focus on outcomes like products launched or leads generated, instead of inputs, according to Salesforce. To do this, leaders will need to shift their mindset from measuring activity to measuring impact.