2018 Predictions – The Year Ahead

Alex Allwood Customer Experience, Digital CX, News

In this week’s 2018 Predications briefing, Forrester focused on 3 themes: Customer Experience, the Digital Crisis and the Rise of Intelligent Agents.

Forrester has branded 2018 ‘a year of reckoning’. The fate of Australian business has never been more uncertain with many brands unprepared or unable to adapt to new market conditions.

Whilst we’re seeing the signs of market positivity, there are a number of trends Forrester has flagged that will negatively impact businesses here.

These trends include: Higher churn from not meeting customer expectations; market share losses from inaction on digital transformation; market disruption will cause failure of traditional business models in categories that have so far been protected.

To future proof, businesses needed to lead for change, shifting from ‘wait and see’ to driving decisive action.

Theme Overview for 2018 Predictions
Customer Experience Hits a Wall: Whilst many Australian businesses have invested in customer experience initiatives their focus has been on ‘quick wins’ instead of meaningful operational change.

In today’s experience economy, customer expectations are now outpacing businesses ability to design and deliver relevant experiences that enhance customer value and competitively differentiate.

Forrester reports, 30% of companies will see a net loss in growth from further declines in customer experience performance.

For high performance CX brands the next frontier is employee experience. The focus is to stem the risk of transformation efforts being undermined by a workforce culture that’s not meeting expectations.

For executives paying lip service to customer experience, choosing to invest in surface instead of systemic change in their culture and operations will continue to risk their firms’ future sustainable growth.

The Digital Crisis: Forrester analysts predict that 20% of CEO’s will fail to act on digital transformation and put their organisations at risk.

Whilst cost is a barrier for digital transformation, over 60% of executives believe their businesses are behind in implementing their digital strategy.

Importantly, businesses need to shift their digital focus from delivering organisational efficiencies and productivity gains to utilising digital to solve their customers’ problems and unmet needs.

Rise of Intelligent Agents: Forrester predicts that in 2018, 10% of all purchase decisions will be guided by a platform such as Google’s Home, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple Siri.

Whilst digital platforms and intelligent agents are still in their infancy in delivering on consumer commands, the collection of behavioural data is becoming increasingly more sophisticated.

What is evident is that intelligent agents will use consumer data to influence decision making leaving brands at the mercy of Amazon or Google in selling their products and services.

As the gap widens between brands delivering experiences that meet rapidly evolving customer expectations and the CX laggards, it is a business imperative for executives to shift from incremental steps to aggressively actioning insights to abate the deterioration of their market share and future growth.