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Customer Experience

Customer Experience Predictions for 2024

A hand holding a crystal ball to symbolize the CX predictions for 2024 that our experts shared.

As we begin a new year, it’s time to look at customer experience predictions for 2024 from some of the world’s top experts. (If you’d like to check back in with last year’s predictions, you can do so here.)

Not surprisingly, artificial intelligence (AI), and specifically Generative AI products such as ChatGPT, were front and center in many of our experts’ customer experience predictions for 2024.

Related: How Use ChatGPT to Enhance Your Customer Experience

Customer Experience Predictions

What should CX professionals expect for 2024? We turned to eight CX experts — thought leaders, authors, speakers, and consultants — and asked for their 2024 customer experience predictions across a variety of elements.

First, we wanted to know what is one thing CX professionals need to be prepared for in 2024. Three experts went broad with their answers:

  • “2024 will be the year of the CX resurgence. There is evidence that CEOs realize the critical importance customer experience has to customer retention, loyalty, referrals, sales growth, and employee opportunities. Companies are investing in customer experience like never before and it is paying off. More and more organizations are finally realizing that the customer experience they deliver is their biggest competitive advantage. The key to building long-term customer loyalty is not through chasing price or luring new customers with discounts, rather it is time to focus on building a positive experience so engaging, so memorable, that your existing clients can’t stop talking about you to others.” — John R. DiJulius III
  • “The CX expectations change based on the age of your customers. As we move to using more technology be sure your customers (not you) feel the experience is easy, intuitive, and friction free. Younger generations, while they still like the phone (about half the time according to our research), will still adapt to newer technology faster than older generations. So, one size does not fit all.” — Shep Hyken
  • “I have no big evidence for this, but it feels like CX is in for a big rebranding in 2024. I would not be surprised if the scope of how we think about the work will evolve…and many organization leaders start calling Customer Experience something else all together.” — Nate Brown

AI In The Spotlight

The other five experts focused their answers on AI:

  • “The right and the wrong ways to use AI for CX efforts” — Brittany Hodak
  • “As all kinds of technology — especially AI — become more integrated into CX, there will be a counterbalancing emphasis on human elements such as empathy, emotion, and personal connection.” — Scott McKain
  • “The discussion will focus on artificial intelligence, which is set to play a pivotal role in customer experience. However, AI itself won’t serve as a unique differentiator. Similar to how the internet, mobile technology, and social media were vital game changers but did not directly lead to immediate customer satisfaction, AI follows a similar trajectory. It’s essential for CX professionals to realize that although AI will be a central topic, the true distinguishing factor will be the culture centered around the customer.” — Steven Van Belleghem
  • “The rapid evolutions and expectations around using AI. C-Suite execs are clamoring for more AI usage and integration, while customers are wondering why and how it will benefit them/enhance their experience. CX professionals need to be ready to bridge the gap accordingly with clear explanations, specific use cases, and care consideration of customer data, privacy, and relationships.” — Joey Coleman
  • “Customers will have access to knowledge and language through generative AI tools. While most of the forecasting is about how AI will influence companies who serve customers, I believe customers will rely on these tools in bigger ways in 2024. This means customers will have quick access to things like terms and regulations, and will be more willing to ask for specific outcomes. Brands should prepare for smarter customers who will be more proactive.” — Jeannie Walters

My take: I do think Generative AI is the biggest thing to happen to customer experience in a long time, and companies cannot ignore its impact. However, we have to learn from the initial introduction of chatbots, when some companies immediately concluded that they could —and should — replace entire Customer Service departments. That obviously didn’t turn out well. The best technology enhancements, particularly with AI, will complement human skills and not replace them.

Technology Will Help Shape CX In 2024

Next, we asked how our experts envision the role of technology in shaping CX in 2024.

  • “2024 will find CX professionals leveraging AI to not just respond to customer needs but predict them in advance, offering proactive solutions and support.” (McKain)
  • “Technology will help our customers get smarter as are able to have better conversations with chatbots to get answers to questions and learn about new products. It will also make our customer support people smarter, as good/powerful information will be just one smart prompt away.” (Hyken)
  • “Artificial intelligence is poised to revolutionize customer service, resulting in increased productivity and enhanced automation. Additionally, consumer purchasing behaviors are set to undergo significant transformations. An increasing number of people will begin utilizing AI bots for decision-making and gathering information about significant purchases. It’s crucial not to solely concentrate on the efficiency gains offered by AI but to also closely observe and understand the evolving buying behaviors of your customers.” (Van Belleghem)
  • “As tech to support omni-channel experiences becomes more prevalent, friction will disappear for customers who engage with brands at multiple touchpoints. Frustrations like having to re-enter your information or repeat your issues or history will begin to disappear for brands who are prioritizing tech-optimized CX.” (Hodak)
  • “AI will increasingly be incorporated in obvious and non-obvious ways. The best companies will embrace and experiment with the technology, while being careful not to overpromise its benefits.” (Coleman)
  • “While artificial intelligence is already improving the customer experience, it will dramatically improve the employee experience over the next decade. Tedious tasks that once took agents hours upon hours to complete — be it boring data entry or replying to repetitive questions — will be relegated to computers. Along with its subfield machine learning (ML), there are numerous ways in which AI will impact the employee experience and boost employee satisfaction, in turn helping them create a best-in-class customer experience. AI will make the role of customer service agent far more rewarding and enjoyable.” (DiJulius)
  • “Everything everywhere all at once! Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and customers are now used to hyper-personalized, rapid service. Technology is how we can scale these experiences and those who don’t invest will be disappointing customers.” (Walters)
  • “The future of CX is not some new technology. It’s still just people serving people, but in all kinds of exciting ways. The more we try to compete against AI, the more we are missing out on the opportunity to use it in unlocking very human gifts and fostering better human connections. This is the true future of service — technology combined with the human relationship to help customers achieve things they would have never thought possible!” (Brown)

My take: Aside from AI, self-service tools will continue to be of critical importance — especially for younger generations. Most customers prefer to at least attempt to self-serve first, but too often those attempts are thwarted by clunky and complicated website or mobile app UX.

Customer Satisfaction Challenges

Next, we asked: What are the biggest challenges you foresee in maintaining or improving customer satisfaction in 2024?

  • “With increasing technology comes greater responsibility for privacy and security — so businesses will need to strengthen their data protection measures and be more transparent about how they use their customer data.” (McKain)
  • “I think the legal battles around where AI gets its data may impact how companies are currently using AI in customer service, online, etc. These challenges could delay or create abrupt issues based on how they are handled and how companies prepare for some of these outcomes.” (Walters)
  • “Two things must happen. First is the adoption of the latest technologies, including ChatGPT-type solutions. Customers are experiencing excellent digital service from other brands and companies they do business with — and they expect the same from you. They compare you to the best experience they’ve had, so keep that in mind as you roll out new technologies… [Second is] ongoing training, if even just for a few minutes each week or month, must be in place to keep your employees up-to-date with the changing customer expectations, which seem to be more demanding than ever. If a problem moves from digital support to human support, your people must be ready.” (Hyken)
  • “The bar of customer expectations is increasing year after year. Understanding new expectations, constantly evaluating your service culture, will be a crucial asset.” (Van Belleghem) 
  • “I think the biggest challenge for 2024 will be the same as it was in 2023, and in 2022, and in 2021: Keeping employees satisfied. Dissatisfied employees lead to dissatisfied customers, period. Companies must continue to prioritize the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of their employees because those employees are — quite literally — the living embodiment of the brand who are shaping customers’ perceptions at every turn.” (Hodak)
  • “It’s never been easier to end a long-term relationship than in 2024. The rise of competition within and adjacent to your industry makes holding on to existing customers more important (and more challenging) than ever. The best organizations will deepen their personal and emotional connections with customers in 2024.” (Coleman)

My take: Making customer feedback more actionable. Most companies do two of three things right when it comes to customer feedback: They collect it, and they analyze it. But creating a report highlighting the latest NPS or customer satisfaction scores alone doesn’t get at the core question of why. Why did our scores go up or down, and what are we doing about it. Hence, the third step in customer feedback: taking action. We need the surveys and numbers to actually mean something, so we must take action as a result of what we learn. This can be doing more of what customers love, stopping what they hate, or starting to do something new based on their suggestions. Finally, it’s called a feedback loop for a reason: When we return back to the customer with our findings — especially when we’ve listened to and implemented their suggestions — we can solidify long-term loyalty.

The Best Brands For Customer Experience

When I host workshops with clients, I love asking people what their favorite brand is and why. Some people name the “obvious” choices Amazon, Disney, Starbucks — which is just fine because those companies have mastered CX by becoming truly customer-centric cultures. Others mention their local hardware store or independent movie theater or even a taco truck, which is also great because small businesses can be excellent examples of CX. So let’s see what our experts said when we asked them the same question:

  • Amazon (Hyken): “They excel in digital support with a human backup if needed. They are the ‘poster child’ for the complete self-service CX — both in the sales process and the customer support.”
  • Chick-fil-A (Brown): “Exceptional product backed by a consistently excellent experience. They do a tremendous amount to support and help local communities.”
  • Efteling (Theme Park in The Netherlands; Van Belleghem): “They have a true DNA of being friendly, helpful and happy. It’s a place where everyone smiles without someone telling them to smile. They smile because they want to and because they are proud of being part of the team.”
  • LEGO (Coleman): “Because I’m an AFOL (adult fan of LEGO) and consistently impressed with the quality of their product (my grandchildren will be playing with sets I played with as a child) and their service (it’s EXTREMELY rare to be missing a piece). As if that wasn’t enough, the speed/ease with which the resolve issues (missing pieces arrive for free within days from an easy form on their website) is incredible. LEGO is also constantly coming up with interesting and unique ‘gifts’ for members of their loyalty program and finding new ways to connect with their most loyal customers.”
  • McDonald’s (Walters): “I wouldn’t have said this last year, but McDonald’s seems to be refocusing on understanding customer needs. Their flagship CosMc’s beverage-first concept store and working with designers on adult Happy Meals is innovation focused on who their customers are today.”
  • United Airlines (McKain): “The (relatively) new executive team at United led by Chief Customer Officer, Linda Jojo is doing an excellent job managing the challenge of changing the culture of an enormous organization even with a myriad of problems that they encounter.”
  • Walmart (Hodak): “This may be an unpopular opinion, but Walmart has done SO MUCH to improve its CX in the past couple of years. The Walmart+ app, including its companion Walmart In-Home, provides a really fantastic, seamless experience. It’s so convenient that I rarely go to Walmart stores IRL, but when I do, everything from scan-and-go to in-app payment just feels really easy. I also love the UX of seeing your ‘savings’ when you log into the app. According to the app, I saved 146 hours and $1,567 in 2023 by using features like free delivery and free shipping.”

My take: Starbucks because of its welcoming and comfortable environment, consistent drink preparation, and endless personalization options. I feel like I could be blindfolded and know I was in a Starbucks anywhere in the world just from the smells, the sounds, and the comfy furniture. They also really know their customers what they did during COVID was genius — and do their best to make every guest feel special.

Customer Experience Book Recommendations

We asked our experts for their most-recommended CX book. Below are three of their favorites, notwithstanding several mentions of their own works (more on that momentarily). The links to purchase generate a small referral fee for this site but do not affect your cost.

  • Belonging to the Brand by Mark Schaefer – buy it
  • Employalty by Joe Mull – buy it
  • Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara – buy it

Just in case you missed last year’s list, here it is again:

  • Built To Win by Annette Franz (2 votes) – buy it
  • Customer Obsessed by Eric Berridge – buy it
  • Customer What? by Ian Golding – buy it
  • FUSION by Denise Lee Yohn – buy it (listen to Episode 48 of Experience This! for more)
  • The Experience Maker by Dan Gingiss – buy it (more on this book here)
  • The Power of Moments by Chip Heath & Dan Heath – buy it
  • Winning on Purpose by Fred Reichheld – buy it (listen to Episode 151 of Experience This! for more)

And here is one critical read from each of our esteemed experts who are also authors:

  • Creating Superfans by Brittany Hodak – buy it (listen to Episode 183 of Experience This! for more)
  • A Diamond In The Rough by Steven Van Belleghem – buy it (more on this book here)
  • I’ll Be Back by Shep Hyken – buy it (listen to Episode 137 of Experience This! for more)
  • Never Lose A Customer Again by Joey Coleman – buy it (listen to Episode 23 of Experience This! for more)
  • The Relationship Economy by John R. DiJulius III – buy it
  • The Ultimate Customer Experience by Scott McKain – buy it

My take: See all of The Experience Maker’s favorite business books in one place on our Amazon Storefront.

Customer Experience Voices

Finally, we asked for one CX voice that isn’t being heard enough in the industry. The answers, in alphabetical order, along with links to their LinkedIn profiles:

What Are Your Customer Experience Predictions?

What do you think? Did our experts nail their 2024 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.

Photo by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash.

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