Research Report: What Will Customer Experience Look Like in 2030

By 2030 67% of customer engagement will be handled by smart machines. Do brands run the risk of trading empathy for efficiency?

Image Courtesy: WAP Strategies

According to a global research report the “Future of Customer Experience”, technology will be the major driver behind the reimagined customer experience (CX), and that brands must reconsider about their customer ecosystems to keep in pace with empowered consumers and evolving consumer technologies.

With the modern technology taking the front seat in today’ business scenario, the consumer behavior is highly dynamic as likes and dislikes continue to change with new products and services coming frequently in this competitive business environment globally. Keeping in mind the changing consumer behavior the research was focused on What will the customer experience look like in 2030? And how will brands evolve to meet the expectations of future consumers?

The research entitled “Experience 2030: The Future of Customer Experience” by research and analyst firm Futurum Research in association with SAS, the leader in analytics tried to find out the answers of such few questions through a global research. The survey started in May 2019, in which over 4,000 panelists, spanning three dozen countries across a range of consumer, industry and government sectors were surveyed.

Check out the key findings of the research:

Agility and extreme automation will drive customer experience (CX):

According to the research findings there will be a substantial shift toward the automation of customer engagements by 2030. The research suggests that smart machines will be replaced by humans and handle roughly two-thirds of customer engagement, decisions made during real-time engagement, and decisions around marketing and promotional campaigns.

Further, by 2030, 67% of customer engagement between a brand and consumer using digital devices (online, mobile, etc.) will be completed by smart machines rather than the human agents as of today. And by 2030, 69% of decisions made during a customer engagement will be done by smart machines.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that there will be a rapid growth in the relationship between humans and machines over the next decade,” said Daniel Newman, Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. “Companies will have to strike a delicate balance between providing highly empathic human-like experiences with the instantaneous results that consumers have come to expect. Technology will be the bridge as data, analytics, machine learning and AI will enable machines to deliver this balance in a more humanistic way that satisfies customers and delivers increased efficiencies to the enterprise.”

The evolution of customer experience from 2020 to 2030 (and beyond) will be shaped to a significant extent by the development and deployment of smart, immersive, and trust-enabling technologies.

Consumers embrace emerging tech: 
As per the study, 78% of brands believe consumers feel uneasy dealing with technology today in stores. However,  the study found that only 35% of consumers expressed this unease. This gap between the beliefs of brands and their consumers could be a limiting factor in these brands’ growth if they are not careful.
According to the survey results consumers are expecting to further embrace new technologies by 2030:

  1.  80% say they expect to accept delivery of a product by drone or autonomous vehicle.
  2. 81% say they expect to engage with chatbots.
  3. 78% expect to use an augmented, virtual, or mixed reality app to see how a product will look – such as how a piece of clothing might look on a shopper or how a piece of furniture might look in a home.
  4. 56% expect to be “visiting” remote locations or experiencing vacation and entertainment events through mixed reality devices by 2025.
  5. 8 out of 10 expect to use a smart assistant (such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa, etc.) to make an online purchase or control a smart home.
  6. 78% say they expect they’ll be controlling other devices with their wearables.

For brands, this level of consumer acceptance – and expectation – opens fresh opportunities for expanding consumer engagement. However, in order to meet growing expectations on both sides, brands need new capabilities to bridge the gap between consumer technology and marketing technology.

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“Tracing a customer through their journey entails a forensic understanding of the customer across endless journey permutations – customers want to be remembered and understood as they crisscross myriad channels, touchpoints and contexts,” said Wilson Raj, Global Director of SAS Customer Intelligence. “Brands must reinvent their operating models to act at speed. They need a holistic data strategy that they can personalize at scale, journey analytics capabilities that can adapt in real time, and enable a self-reinforcing cycle of tailored experiences.”

Emerging tech will underpin brand success over the next decade:

The future of Consumer Experience will be reshaped in large part by evolving technologies. The research questioned the brands what “futuristic” technologies they are investing in today to drive in new customer experiences and increase customer satisfaction by 2030.

“The empowered new buyer is capitalizing on emerging technologies and exerting tremendous pressure on the technology needs of marketing organizations,” said Raj. For CMOs, these forces create a “moving target” problem: It’s hard to gain a leading edge on something that’s constantly advancing. And this is problematic because consumers expect ‘always-on’ access and service and to interact with a brand on their terms.”

62% of brands are investing in voice-based AI assistants to enhance customer engagement strategies and as a customer support asset. Another 58% are investing in voice-based AI as an internal marketing and sales asset.

For augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), 54% of brands are investing in it to help consumers visualize the look or use of a product or service remotely. And 53% of brands are pursuing AR/VR tools to improve product use and self-help.

The study also observed that 83% of brands are investing or plan to invest in holographic technology for in-store advertising, interactive gaming and public events.

All these emerging and more complex customer engagement technologies suggest that brands must re-consider on their data management proficiency, analytical optimization processes and automated decision making capabilities. They must be able to utilized these new technologies to attain tangible business outcomes. These new applications will be potentially capable of ingesting, processing, analyzing, designing and deciding how to deliver multi-moment marketing that will continue to resonate into the future.

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Loyalty drivers in 2030:

Today 58% of brands mention high quality as the top factor likely to drive consumer loyalty, but most consumers think low costs or discounts as their top driver. But by 2030, mobile apps, high-speed access and ordering via smart home systems will be the top three technologies driving factors for consumer loyalty.

Brands agree, and believe that AI, machine learning and predictive analytics will play a major role too. Brands are looking at 2030 as an opportunity to deploy technology to both provide smooth engagement as well as the intelligence behind the engagement, needed to deliver deeper, more meaningful customer relationships and increased loyalty.

“Building loyalty is a critical component for brand growth, and over the next 10 years we will see increased nuance and complexity beyond the traditional price, quality and service matrix that has long stood at the core of loyalty propositions. In the future, the way companies embrace technology, drive speed to market (and consumer) and deliver and measure social impact will all play a bigger role in loyalty. This is already starting to happen today, and its importance will multiply by 2030,” added Newman.
The evolving importance of trust:

Gaining consumer trust is one of the biggest challenge in today’s scenario with increasing number of data breach cases every few days for which brands need overcome the trust gap that exists between brands and consumers. Consumers are cautious of how brands treat their personal data and feel powerless to change it. The research report finds that only 54% of consumers trust brands to keep their data private. In fact, 73 percent of consumers believe the use of their personal data is “out of control.” This is a challenge for brands as they work to balance the CX they can deliver as a result of richness of the user data they collect with the trust concerns of the consumer.

However, the research indicates that brands do understand the risks they face. 59 percent of brands strongly agree that securing customer information is the foremost factor in ensuring a strong CX. However, are brands ready? The research suggests some challenges as 84% are worried about changes in governmental regulations regarding privacy and their readiness to meet them.

“As consumers continue to use technology that opens their lives to others, they have dual expectations of businesses: Understand me as an individual and protect my privacy. Therein lies the opportunity to achieve balance when crafting customer experiences,” added Raj.


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