The next five years will see great improvements in the field of customer service. It’s all thanks to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), smart devices, and omnichannel communication. Nowadays, consumers are more concerned about their customer experience (CX) than they are about costs, which according to one study is true for 64% of today’s consumers. Jerry Gregoire of Dell explains these trends in one quote“The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.”

One of the biggest improvements we can expect to see in the next five years is omnichannel communication. This format simply refers to a brand’s ability to provide customers and clients with a consistent experience throughout all communication channels. Thanks to the fact that millennials are the largest working wage-earning demographic, omnichannel communication has become expected of companies in virtually every industry. Unfortunately, statistics say that a majority of companies may not be ready to provide this to customers right now. Forbes reveals that while 39% of CX execs believe that omnichannel communication is their “most important future performance consideration”, 82% find this expansion to be highly difficult. This data comes from a survey by Canam Research, which also said that 64% of the execs still see human interaction as crucial to resolving customer issues, while 24% believe this applies to chat, and only 9% agree that this also applies to SMS/text. Meanwhile, the same survey also revealed that barely half of today’s companies are actually utilising data analytics for digital transformation.

All of this underscores the massive gap between customer expectations and customer reality. Without data analytics, how can companies know which communication channels their clients and customers actually prefer? Optimising CX entails optimising data analytics, which in turn means leveraging the ability of AI to crunch customer data. Today, the most popular AI-powered customer relationship management tools (CRMs) are Salesforce Einstein (UK) and Zoho Zia (US). Both CRMs leverage analytics and AI to advise sales people about leads and provide proactive recommendations about what to do next. Through the thorough analysis of customer data – possible through AI – it’s become easier for brands to determine how to best interact with their customers. No wonder PC Magazine predicts that by 2020, 40% of all data analytics projects will be driven towards improving CX.

Meanwhile, the brands that have already done their homework (leveraged AI and analytics) are the ones that lead the front in omnichannel communication and innovative CX. Despite the ongoing feud between Google and Amazon, there’s no denying that these two data-leveraging companies have been responsible for great leaps forward in omnichannel communication. There’s a good chance that some of the most used apps on your smartphone are owned by one of these two companies. Through analytics, both Google and Amazon know what their customers want, which has allowed them to become key players in international business.

Some companies are even improving their services by providing highly customisable customer relations software to clients. This has led to creative and streamlined methods for addressing specific customer needs. Verizon Connect details how modern fleet companies now use Service Level Agreements (SLAs) which allows customers to specify job requirements. This includes driver qualifications, time windows, frequency, security clearances, and other job specifics that allow service/product providers to give the best possible CX. As these companies are already leading the way, you can expect the trends of AI-enabled customisable service and omnichannel communication to become staples in the customer service industry within the next five years.

Additionally, here on Geomant we can tell you that customers expect to be able to communicate with product/service providers like they do with friends and family. In relation to the aforementioned trends, customers who do not get what they want are more likely to share their bad CX – on the same social media, apps, and other digital channels they expect brands to be familiar with. If you don’t want your company to get left behind, it’s time to step up and give the people what they want.

Written by Allison Camille
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