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Customer engagement and satisfaction have always been crucial elements of every company’s success. No wonder that according to the latest Zendesk report, 81% of respondents see customer experience as a growing priority for the next year.

If you're as much of a sucker for data as I am, you'll find these essential customer experience data points pretty fascinating. These eye-opening figures show where customer satisfaction is headed, what we can expect in the near future, and what can be done to increase customer loyalty.

I hope this insight will help you understand customer behavior and make the most of every touchpoint in your company. The ultimate goal? To enjoy long-lasting relations with satisfied customers!

Let’s get down to business.

The Importance Of Customer Experience

Good customer experience can be the competitive advantage you need to outrun your competitors and build long-lasting relationships with your customers. Take a look at some of the latest findings proving the importance of fulfilling customer expectations:

  • 77% of brands believe CX is a key competitive differentiator.
  • 86% of consumers will leave your brand after just two poor experiences.
  • 74% of consumers are likely to buy based on experiences alone. 77% believe CX is as important as the product/service quality.
  • 56% of consumers feel that the quality of the customer service they receive has a higher impact on how positively they view a brand than any other criteria.
  • Another source indicates that 30% of customers stop interacting with a brand after just one poor customer experience. At the same time, 46% of consumers will abandon your brand if your consultants are not knowledgeable.

Lastly, as PwC reports, 43% of all consumers would pay more for greater convenience, and 42% would pay more for a friendly, welcoming customer experience. At the same time, CX helps people decide between different buying options. Take a look at this map showing how many respondents in different countries agree with this statement:

I think these numbers speak for themselves. In 2023, you simply cannot afford to neglect the role of CX in your company.

Now, let's explore seven major areas that are shaping modern customer experiences. Each of them tells us a lot about what we can expect in the near future—prepare accordingly!

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AI Takes Over Customer Experience

The first trend I want to tackle shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. Customer journeys are more and more often supported by conversational AI chatbots and voicebots. And speaking of them, the aforementioned Zendesk CX report tells us that more and more customers expect brands to be taking advantage of this technology. As much as 73% of respondents said they expect more interactions with AI in their daily life.

Even today, chatbots play a vital role in customer interactions, enabling them to get answers to many questions quickly:

Interestingly, even more people (75%!) believe AI should be able to provide the same level of service as human agents. This means there’s still room for improvement concerning the real-time customer support these assistants can provide. Here, machine learning is a crucial technology that can take smart assistants to a whole new level of communication quality.

When asked about the importance of using AI-powered bots in delivering great customer experience, over 70% of CX leaders say it’s somewhat or very important.

If you’re still thinking about whether introducing AI to your customer service is a good idea, remember that 75% of respondents think brands should offer them a fully self-service customer care option to answer their questions. And here’s a real eye-opener: some estimate that 40% of live communication volume could easily be handled with existing self-service tools.

Zendesk also asked Canadian companies about how they are using AI for CX. Here are five of the most common applications:

  1. To answer general questions
  2. To provide customers with 24/7 service
  3. To intercept requests going to agents
  4. For order management and returns
  5. To improve agent productivity

In the near future, chatbots will become even more advanced. They will be able to handle complex customer queries and respond like a human consultant.

Customer Needs Must Be Answered Quickly!

According to Emplifi, 52% of consumers expect a response from a brand within one hour. Still, almost 40% of them have to wait much longer (over 2h) for a reply. If this sounds like your organization, this is a critical area of opportunity—particularly if your competitors can respond faster.

A study published by SuperOffice confirms the importance of fast response times. As much as 75% of respondents say it’s the most important attribute of good customer service:

If you want to provide a better customer experience, you need to ensure everything you do is data-driven. Do your agents/consultants have access to necessary data sources and tools enabling them quick and seamless communication? If they don’t, you have some work to do. The key to good customer experience lies in having all the necessary data readily available. Only this way will you be able to respond to customer queries and messages quickly.

For many companies, the main goal for the coming months is to shorten the response time, whether by introducing diverse self-service options or hiring more consultants.

Offer Personalized Experiences

60% of consumers report they are likely to become regular buyers after receiving a personalized purchasing experience.

Personalization has been a major trend in sales and marketing for some time now. According to Zendesk, 59% of consumers believe companies should use the data they collect about customers to personalize their experiences. At the same time, over 60% of respondents believe that personalized experiences and recommendations are better than general ones. According to Invesp, almost 60% of online shoppers claim it’s easier for them to find interesting products in online stores that provide personalized recommendations.

Here, the importance of customer data is even more obvious. Having access to information on customer behavior, past purchases, and activity on your website, you can create more customer-centric communication that’s tailored to each customer’s needs and interests. No wonder over 75% of CX experts want to integrate different types of customer data to create a holistic experience. This includes:

In the near future, companies will start using customer sentiment data to offer more personalized experiences. Even today, that’s what 30% of surveyed Canadian companies are doing:

Add Social Media Into The Mix

More and more customers want to communicate with your brand using social media. This probably comes as no surprise, especially for Gen Z and Millennials.

Do you offer at least one SM-based form of contact? It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive to run—Instagram DMs or Facebook Messenger is a great place to start. When you allow your customers to communicate with your brand via social media, you become closer to them and come off as more "human." Social media interactions are oftentimes perceived as more meaningful simply because they're direct human-to-human conversations.

The same source indicates that customers are especially keen to use this channel to ask questions before making a purchase and get post-purchase customer support.

Switch To Mobile

This question should also be a vital part of your CX strategy. In 2023, the majority of online activity happens via mobile devices—acccording to Statista, it was over 59% in Q4 2022.

Therefore, a mobile-first experience is a top priority—you need to have at least one communication channel that’s 100% mobile-friendly. It can be a chat box, a social media account, or a mobile app (of course, a well-designed mobile website is also a must). At this point in time, mobile-optimized touchpoints are essential.

Rethink Your CX Strategy

We live in omnichannel times. As Forbes reports, 65% of interviewees would likely become long-term customers of a brand that provided them with positive experiences throughout the entire customer journey. And that’s what customer service will become in the near future—a comprehensive guide and assistance throughout the entire customer journey, from the first visit to the website to the post-purchase service and other solutions growing customer retention (think loyalty programs, constant communication with regular customers, and special offers).

To increase customer retention, companies need to take a look at the big picture and treat CX as an integral part of everything they do. Only this way can you boost your bottom line and make the most of available CX data.

Many companies have already started creating a new, integrated CX strategy:

And that’s the right approach enabling you to boost the company’s revenue. I’m sure that companies will soon focus on rethinking their approach to customer service. I’m expecting to see new solutions enabling quick and easy communication with companies and other organizations.

Wrapping Up: Businesses Are Experiencing Positive ROI On CX

According to SuperOffice, there are three main reasons why companies invest in CX. Let’s have a look at them:

And that’s not just wishful thinking! Thousands of companies confirm that all these elements—gathering customer insights, implementing new CX initiatives, and effective customer experience management—are not just fancy slogans for big soulless corporations. This is the best approach that enables your company to decrease customer churn and increase CLV (customer lifetime value).

To sum up, I want to show you one final snapshot from the Zendesk report proving that companies in North America see a clear positive ROI on whatever it is they’re doing CX-wise:

So, where is CX headed? Based on available data, as well as my experience, I think customer service will soon be smarter and more effective, mostly thanks to conversational AI and automation.

What’s more, customers will be able to communicate with companies using many different channels without the need to switch between devices or accounts. Lastly, good CX will become a core business area for good—companies will treat it as an ultimate goal to keep the company running and not just one of many branches of what they do.

Now it’s your turn! For more CX insights, how-tos, and tips, get a leg up by subscribing to our newsletter.

By Hannah Clark

Hannah Clark is the Editor of The CX Lead. After serving over 12 years working in front-line customer experience for major brands, Hannah pivoted to a career in digital publishing and media production. Having gained a holistic view of the challenges and intricacies of delivering exceptional experiences, Hannah aims to help CX practitioners 'level up' their skills by amplifying the voices of today's thought leaders in the space.