By: Leigh Segall, Chief Strategy Officer at Smart Communications

As customer expectations change faster than ever, it may feel difficult to pin down which key digital customer experience trends should be priorities for businesses. Even in this continuously shifting environment, it’s possible to identify the major forces shaping the customer experience (CX) and establish plans and processes to meet these ever-increasing expectations.  

To better understand customers’ changing preferences, Smart Communications recently surveyed business leaders and consumers from around the globe. As we dug into their thinking about communications practices in the financial services, insurance and healthcare industries, interesting patterns began to emerge. In this post, we highlight a few of the key findings, plus how Smart Communications can help enterprises tackle these digital customer experience trends head-on. 

Trend #1: Businesses Will Try to Close the Communications Satisfaction Gap 

Communications are at the heart of a great digital customer experience. So much so that how enterprises communicate with their customers can determine their level of satisfaction with a business overall. Aside from offering effective products and services, there are few areas of business more essential than customer satisfaction.  

The challenge is that across the financial services, insurance and healthcare industries, there’s a disconnect between how well businesses think they communicate versus how customers feel about it. That gap — up to a 20-percentage points difference — represents a big opportunity to rethink customer engagement.  

By ensuring communications are timely, personalized and digital-first, businesses can ensure the end-to-end customer experience builds trust and loyalty.  

How Smart Communications Can Help 

By investing in a technology platform that empowers interactive, two-way conversations, businesses can ensure an exceptional experience across channels and devices. Businesses who operate across geographies and multiple brands can benefit from the Conversation Cloud™: the only scalable, pure cloud customer communications management platform. It’s specifically designed to take away the pain of template management while enhancing the ability to collect information, all while making it easy for customers to initiate conversations, regardless of channel.  

Trend #2: Businesses Will Take Customer Channel Preferences More Seriously to Avoid Negative Impacts to the Digital Customer Experience 

Today, customers are increasingly willing to speak up and share exactly how they want businesses to interact with them. And for enterprises, it’s more important than ever to ensure customers’ preferences are taken into account.  

According to our research, 61% of consumers said that information being provided through an inappropriate channel was a major source of frustration. And yet unfortunately, our research suggests that on average, only around half of communications are distributed to customers based on the channel they prefer.  

A key digital customer experience trend moving forward will be revamping communications efforts to ensure greater alignment with customer wants and needs. Enterprises must adopt interactive, omnichannel conversations to succeed.  

How Smart Communications Can Help 

It’s one thing to know how customers want to be communicated with – and quite another to deliver on that – especially as the complexity of communications grows just as new channels continue to proliferate. It’s important to partner with a technology provider with the right solutions and real-world expertise to deliver on the “right channel, right place, right time” promise. Our experience working with the world’s most sophisticated businesses across financial services, insurance and healthcare gives us the necessary resources to provide amazing digital customer experiences via orchestrated, omnichannel interactions at scale.  

Trend #3: Businesses Will Continue Migrating to the Cloud 

Customer expectations around digital are greater than ever. And while interactions across healthcare, insurance and financial services are very different from impulse buying on Amazon, consumers are comparing every interaction to their last best digital experience. 

That’s why it’s more important than ever to have the infrastructure in place, allowing enterprises to compete with companies that deliver incredible digital experiences day-in and day-out. Unfortunately, legacy systems simply aren’t built this way and struggle to keep up with the pace of change.  

While not a new trend, leading firms will continue their migration to the cloud. Our research shows that on average, 57% of business’ core systems will be cloud-based within the next 12 months.  

How Smart Communications Can Help 

We get it – the idea of moving systems that serve as the foundation of your business can be scary but  it doesn’t have to be. The benefit of partnering with Smart Communications is that you can quickly go “pure cloud” for your customer conversations – or ease into it over time by starting with our powerful integrations that connect with your legacy systems. The world is moving to cloud – there’s no doubt about that. But, you can control how it happens in your business with tools like Migration Studio. The important thing is to remain focused on the customer – and Smart Communications is the leader in enabling incredible end-to-end customer experiences.  

What’s Next?  

When change is the only constant, it’s nearly impossible to predict what might come next. But, investing in the customer will always pay dividends. We hope that knowing these digital customer experience trends will help your business achieve greater success today and in the days and months that follow. To learn more about each trend, and how you can prepare for it, download the full report, The State of Customer Conversations.