The past two years have produced a collective shift to a predominately digital model for how consumers interact in their personal lives, at work, and with brands. The future belongs to enterprises that can deliver an intelligent, contextual, frictionless, and real-time data-driven human experience.
So for 2022, enterprises need proactive outreach orchestrated from real-time, integrated data. This requires digital-first, omnichannel engagement. As such, they must reconsider every aspect of a business, from the tools and technologies employees use to entire organizational restructuring.
According to Omdia’s IT Enterprise Insights 2022, enterprises have reported year-over-year progress in advancing and completing their omnichannel customer engagement strategies. For example, between 2020 and 2021, the percentage of those who said their omnichannel efforts are advanced (a customer-centric strategy has been established and all channels identified, but not yet holistically integrated) jumped from 23% to 28%, representing a nearly 22% increase.
Enterprises will be firmly on the path in 2022 to delivering personalized, omnichannel engagement via a digital-first model if they continue to integrate data, applications, unified platforms and artificial intelligence (AI) into their content and response workflows. Here are three trends to watch.
1. The Enterprise CX Market Will Take Shape
Advances in the cloud and other emerging technologies, a burgeoning digital engagement technology ecosystem, and faster adoption through innovation are all factors shaping an emerging market that Omdia refers to as Enterprise Customer Experience (eCX). The urgency to meet customers’ new digital-first demands has resulted in the growth of the tools, technologies, and platforms that enhance customer engagement.
Customer engagement management includes technologies to enable cohesive engagement within a specific department or function, while eCX includes the technologies and processes that bring together an entire enterprise to organize employees around the customer. This expanding ecosystem of technology vendors, partners, and service integrators works in tandem to integrate and monitor all customer activity, collaborate in real-time on that activity across the enterprise, and orchestrate appropriate and relevant actions.
2. Automation, AI, and Bots Will Create a Frictionless Reality
In the current climate, AI can bring about better and faster decision-making by rapidly connecting the dots that humans can’t see, and in a way that excels performance and outcomes. AI also has the potential to fundamentally change the face of customer experiences by removing friction.
Enterprises are realizing the implication of AI in enabling intelligent and seamless engagement. According to Omdia’s ICT Enterprise Insights survey, 71% said intelligent automation and AI is “significantly more important” or “more important post-COVID. Additionally, 63% said they have strategic or minor investments planned for AI-powered next-best-action, and 62% said they have strategic or minor investments planned for intelligent virtual agents.
As enterprises bring AI into their workflows and make it core to their businesses, frictionless customer engagement will emerge in three ways: via automated chatbots and workflows that respond to customers with next-best steps and solve for customers’ needs; by empowering humans to solve complex problems; and by enabling more natural, conversational interactions.
3. Data Will Become a Trust Currency
First-party data created a buzz this year as tech giants put an end to the use of third-party cookies. This trend helped give rise to “zero-party data,” which, like first-party data, is consent-driven, but is also data that customers volunteer to give and therefore is more explicit because it includes customers’ preferences rather than just their online behavior.
According to Omdia’s ICT Enterprise Insights survey, enterprises are concentrating investments on technologies to improve both zero-party and first-party data efforts . 65% said they had strategic or minor investments planned for customer data management, 59% said they had the same plans for data exchange and delivery, 61% for voice of the customer, 60% for real-time customer journey analytics, and 60% for speech analytics.
As enterprises seek out the infrastructure to collect voice of the customer insights and manage the entire customer profile and journey seamlessly in one system, without the need for third-party cookies, Omdia sees momentum building in technology investments that will better manage and operationalize data and make it actionable.
Enterprises Must Remain Focused on the Customer
Enterprises that aim to achieve omnichannel engagement must operationalize customer journeys by aligning those journeys to employee processes. To do so, they’ll want to consider customers’ requirements for additional channels, figure out how to implement digital and self-service expansions, and how to set up employee collaboration processes. This often entails an internal journey-mapping exercise and initial discovery workshops. Companies can also partner with vendors that can offer a framework that brings together CX strategy, data integration, automation, and employee expertise to design, develop, expand, and implement customer-centric initiatives at a faster pace.
To read 2022 Trends to Watch: Customer Engagement, go to www.omdia.com