Action, change, momentum: keys to successful customer experience in 2017


Customer expectations accelerate, companies struggle to keep up...


(1) Customer expectations accelerate, companies struggle to keep up: Advances in customer experience (CX) awareness will lead customers to max out their expectations of how a company should deliver experiences, belying the lack of uniform CX management and innovation in the market. Companies must be always omni-channel, customised, rapid, easy, ‘know me’ but yet private.

(2) Service failures will increasingly require abundant recovery: Expectations will rise around a firm’s ability to detect dissatisfaction and then speedily recover customer loyalty. Customers are now fully sensing the power of word of mouth – and the potential to grow consensus at a magnitude. Companies will need to pre-empt with passion, empathy and excel through service delivery.



(3) Beginning of the end for data gazing. This year, there will be more activity around the data collected and turning that data into action. Dashboards will be reduced to only the most critical components. A growing cohort of firms will become bored with tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and focus on business outcomes.

(4) The Eternal Question unanswered: who owns the customer? Firms will continue their struggle in defining the difference between a CCO, a CXO and a CMO, where they overlap and where gaps exist.

(5) Companies continue CX efficiency push. Firms will spend more on technology to provide their ongoing research, dashboards, analytics and integrations.



(6) Emotion, financial return on investment (ROI) join Net Promoter Scores as programme KPIs: A growing need to ‘round out’ the view of the customer will be enabled by improvements in emotion detection and survey-based ROI model sciences.

(7) Data strategy becomes paramount, remains elusive: Data strategy can be as important as the data you collect. However, the prediction is that companies will fail doing it themselves and will be forced to hire talent or consulting architects to make retroactive upgrades.

(8) Python grows as the ‘It’ language: SAS programmers are safe for the moment, but many will bypass R [a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics] and go straight to Python. Large-scale licences for older stats packages will decline as routine activities (regression-based driver analyses, segmentation) are pushed to faster, out-of-the-box solutions.

(9) Artificial intelligence continues its upswing: The continued development of AI solutions will begin to allow increasing identification and analysis for photos, videos, voice analytics, text analytics and anomaly detection. Applications such as service bots will continue to rise. Time-to-value on related research tool decreases and real-time analytics will start to become more available for those with budgets to invest. The space will be ripe for the low-cost disruptor.



(10) Perpetual catch-up: The CX team must move quickly to be effective, but chances are you’re still focusing on 2016 resolutions: optimising your website, activating social listening, connecting the dots between customer sentiment and customer behaviour. You’re already behind, so get moving!


Luke Williams is head of CX at insights firm Qualtrics.

DeeDee Doke, editor

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