It’s a new year, so why not start it off right with some powerful customer experience predictions from the world’s foremost experts?
The Year In Review
The year 2022 ended with some truly woeful customer experience moments, including Frontier Airlines canceling its telephone customer service and Southwest Airlines canceling thousands of flights during the heart of the holiday travel season.
Throughout the year, companies and their customers dealt with massive supply chain disruptions, soaring inflation and gas prices, The Great Resignation and quiet quitting, and quickly rising interest rates. Industries seen as peripheral to customer experience also endured huge changes.
Social media took a big hit in 2022, leaving companies wonder where to invest their advertising dollars and customer service resources:
- Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, announced abysmal earnings and watched its stock plummet 23% in a week. Its stock has lost 70% on the year.
- Elon Musk took over Twitter, fired a bunch of top executives and half the staff, reinstated a bunch of previously banned accounts, then started charging for the blue “Verified” checkmark even though 82% of nearly 2 million votes cast on Twitter said they wouldn’t pay even a nickel for such a privilege.
- In November, the FCC commissioner said the US should ban TikTok over security concerns
And the cryptocurrency market also raised questions of viability and future customer demand:
- Bitcoin, the best-known cryptocurrency which traded at $68,000 in November, ended the year at under $17,000 – a 75% drop.
- Rally.io, a cryptocurrency site dedicated to supporting content creators and creating community, abruptly closed up shop, leaving investors (and creators) scrambling to cash out at pennies on the dollar.
- In September, daily trading volume of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) on one platform was down 99% from its May high.
Customer Experience Predictions
So with 2022 being generously described as a bumpy ride, what should CX professionals expect for 2023? For those answers, we turned to a dozen experts and asked for their 2023 customer experience predictions across a variety of elements.
These experts are thought leaders, authors, speakers, and consultants. They hail from all over the world. Their favorite brands for CX are, not surprisingly, Amazon, Apple, Chewy, Disney, LEGO, Slack, Warby Parker, and Zappos. And they generously shared their thoughts in late December.
First, we wanted to know which seemingly outlandish prediction was most likely to happen this year, and the votes were completely mixed. In fact, every choice received at least one vote:
- Frontier Airlines restarts telephone customer service – 25%
- The healthcare industry is severely disrupted by a new startup – 25%
- Amazon stock hits all-time high – 17%
- CX budgets exceed Marketing budgets for first time – 17%
- Mark Zuckerberg deems the Metaverse a failure – 8%
- Elon Musk sells or closes down Twitter – 8%
Next, we asked with some amount of irony, which acronym will gain the most traction for CX in 2023. (Acronyms are notoriously difficult for customers to apprehend; see Why Language Is Critical In Customer Experience.)
Three-quarters of the experts voted for AI (Artificial Intelligence) while the remaining 25% voted for EX (Employee Experience). Sadly, no one voted for KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid), NFT (Non-Fungible Tokens), NPS (Net Promoter Score), or SMS (Short Message Service, a.k.a. texting).
We got to the serious customer experience predictions when we asked: What is one thing CX professionals need to be prepared for in 2023? A few themes emerged:
The importance of employee experience
- “A significantly increased focus on the importance of employee experience.” — Ian Golding, global customer experience consultant
- “Employees asking ‘why?’. CX and EX are inextricably linked, and as CX becomes even more of a hot-button issue, I predict EX will take the spotlight. Leaders should be prepared for employees asking ‘why?’ around all things experience — both the good AND the bad.” — Brittany Hodak, speaker and author
A focus on personalization
- “Personalization becomes individualization. Customers are not account numbers. They want to feel like the company knows them. Provide agents with info about the customer (last time they called, why they called, buying patterns, etc.) that will allow them to individualize the experience.” — Shep Hyken, Customer Service/CX Expert
- “CX professionals need to be prepared for rapidly changing customer expectations in 2023. The underpinnings of commonly accepted customer priorities like quality, ease of use, and value for money can be more nuanced, opening up the need for niche segmentations and personalization. And this will make CX teams more relevant than ever before!” — Shameel Abdulla, CEO, Clootrack
- “Be prepared for customers asking for personalized experiences. Every unique experience has the potential to go viral in the digital world.” — Pooja Sriram, Associate Director – Content Marketing, Sprinklr
Back to the basics
- “Prices and sales are up, service and experience are at an all-time low. Investing in CX training to rebuild customer confidence and separate from everyone else.” — John R. DiJulius III, Chief Revolution Officer, The DiJulius Group
- “Continuing to push the noodle uphill, staying the course and ensuring that the foundation (culture, leadership, EX) for a successful CX strategy is in place before chasing all of the shiny objects. Data is at the heart of designing and delivering a great customer experience, so centralizing customer data, making it accessible, analyzing it, and delivering predictive and prescriptive insights to personalize the experience will be critically important.” — Annette Franz, founder + CEO, CX Journey Inc.
- “The barriers to leveraging AI for real are dropping, so both customers and businesses are becoming savvier. It’s important to identify real use cases and prepare both employees and customers.” – Jeannie Walters, CEO Experience Investigators
- “The future of CX is not some new technology. It’s still just people serving people, but in all kinds of exciting ways. But, naturally, the technology will help to enable these creative new capabilities. This is the true future of service — technology combined with the human relationship to help customers achieve things they would have never thought possible.” — Nate Brown, Founder of CX Accelerator
- “Companies are facing hard times, but it is not up to your customers to care and forgive you for any suboptimal CX experience. To be blunt, it is certainly not their problem that you had to cut costs because your energy bill is 10 times as high as last year’s. Their energy bill is 10 times as high too. A big differentiator in these coming months and years, as long as this economic downturn lasts: CX that puts a smile on people’s faces and makes them feel good. CX that has a true emotional impact.” — Steven Van Belleghem, customer experience enthusiast, speaker and author
Tough times aren’t just in the rearview mirror
- “CX departments being cut out of budgets.” — Mark Michelson, CEO/Producer CX Forums
- “More layoffs are coming. Despite the importance of CX, CX professionals will be (along with recruiting) the hardest hit among layoffs.” — Rob Dwyer, VP Customer Engagement, Happitu
Customer Experience Resources For 2023
Knowing that executives, managers, and practitioners are constantly searching for the best customer experience content, we also asked the experts a series of questions to facilitate finding the next great resource.
First, we asked for one CX book that everyone should read. The answers, in alphabetical order:
- Built To Win by Annette Franz (2 votes) – buy it
- Creating Superfans by Brittany Hodak – buy it
- Customer Obsessed by Eric Berridge – buy it
- Customer What? by Ian Golding – buy it
- FUSION by Denise Lee Yohn – buy it
- I’ll Be Back by Shep Hyken – buy it
- The Experience Maker by Dan Gingiss – buy it
- The Power of Moments by Chip Heath & Dan Heath – buy it
- Winning on Purpose by Fred Reichheld (2 votes) – buy it
Note: The “buy it” links above are Amazon affiliate links. When you shop with them, this site receives a (very) small referral fee but your cost is not affected.
Next, we asked the experts to name one CX podcast that everyone should listen to. The answers, in alphabetical order:
- Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken (2 votes)
- Creating Superfans with Brittany Hodak
- Experience Matters with Shawn Nason (2 votes)
- Experience This! with Dan Gingiss & Joey Coleman (3 votes)
- Punk CX with Adrian Swinscoe
- The Customer Service Revolution with John DiJulius
Finally, we asked for one CX voice that isn’t being heard enough in the industry. The answers, along with links to their LinkedIn profiles:
- Jenny Dempsey – LinkedIn profile
- Ken Hughes – LinkedIn profile
- Shonnah Hughes – LinkedIn profile
- Alex Mead – LinkedIn profile
- Ragy Thomas – LinkedIn profile
- And of course, The Customer
What Are Your Customer Experience Predictions?
What do you think? Did our experts nail their 2023 customer experience predictions, or did they leave something out? We want to hear from you, too! Just share this article on your favorite social media site and add in your own predictions. Be sure to tag Dan Gingiss or The Experience Maker so we can see — and engage with — your post.