The Future of Customer Experience in 2022

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Jan 6, 2022

From brussels sprouts to intimacy, Gainsight’s Nick Mehta and Netomi’s Puneet Mehta offer a lively take on what’s ahead for CX leaders now that they have a seat in the boardroom.

In a recent webinar, Nick Mehta sat down to talk with Netomi Founder / CEO Puneet Mehta to discuss how customer experience has evolved over the past few years, and what’s to come in 2022 [Watch the full recording here]!

Here’s a recap of the discussion, featuring some of its top takeaways.

What’s changed with customer experience in the post-pandemic world?

Nick Mehta: Three key things have changed:

First, most human beings switched to a very digital lifestyle. Digital became the default mechanism for communication and life, whether it’s working, watching Netflix or ordering food. Everyone is now living their life online. This has caused people to expect digital-first, intelligent customer experiences.

Additionally, the pandemic has caused an incredible variance in demand. So many brands have experienced demand screech to a halt and then skyrocket again. There have been crazy fads, including brussel sprouts trending on tiktok one week and then grocery stores running out of them. With this variability of demand, companies need to know how to scale customer experience up and down.

Third, in the B2B space, the concept of customer success has blown up because software has blown up. The number of software companies has grown so significantly and there is this need for these software companies to deliver great experiences and outcomes to their customers.

What changes in customer experience are you seeing post-pandemic?

Puneet Mehta: Pre-pandemic, there was a thought process that, in order to build connections, you needed to have two people talking. There was a need to connect customers with agents. Suddenly, the definition of that connection has changed. The definition of connection is now instant help – being helpful in the moment.

The second thing is the increase in customer service tickets, whether this is a result of the global supply chain issues or travel resuming around the world. In 2022, support teams across industries are preparing for more tickets.

Third, we saw a big shift in the role of CX within an organization, and customer experience executives now have a seat at the executive table. The C-suite now really recognizes the need to provide incredible customer experiences.

How has customer experience evolved?

PM: Post-pandemic, conversations have become very goal-driven. We’re seeing people want to get to the point, and get to the point quickly. Customers are losing their patience and want a resolution quickly. Increasingly, good customer experience is going to be about understanding a person’s context, and having situational awareness. Someone standing on the corner of the street in the rain has different needs and expectations than someone sitting on their couch on a Saturday. The former individual would need immediate help, while the latter may have a bit more patience.

When do you apply automation to customer success?

NM: It’s important to realize that, for a lot of consumers, it is good for them too. A lot of us like the self-service experience and appreciate it more as we as a society are becoming more technical.

In the B2B world, digital customer experience is a strategy that should be applied to all customers, not based on deal or company size. Automation, however, might not be right for all touchpoints, but it can be right for all customers.

How do you define AI when it comes to customer experience?

PM: We think about it as ‘A’ standing for ‘Access’ and ‘I’ standing for ‘Intimacy.’ We’re delivering that combination of access and intimacy between businesses and their customers in a very goal-driven way.

What are your top CX forecasts for 2022?

NM: First, I see the blending of digital experience and products. The more that customers are living in the product, the more there will come to be an expectation to receive support within the product itself, whether it’s a device, software, app or embedded product. It’s all about building the experience into the product, rather than having the customer need to go somewhere else.

Second, AI is more real than ever before. It’s not just a buzzword. Companies are starting to get a better handle on their AI strategy and starting to use it to understand what’s working and what’s not. AI will be used to help businesses make better decisions.

Third, there will be great consideration on how to keep the human element in the digital experience. It will be all about finding ways of humanizing interactions and ensuring that customers can connect in ways that might be digital from a scale perspective, but feel very human.

When it comes to customer experience, what are some common mistakes?

NM: In customer experience, there is a common mistake of falling into a trap of platitudes. Every company says that ‘customers are important, we care about them and we want to improve the experience’. A big thing for CX professionals is measurement, and not just focusing on NPS or CES. There’s a need to measure the entire process, to be able to demonstrate the impact and become an expert on the ROI of what you’re doing.

PM: People tend to get lost when it comes to CX. It’s important to find that one wedge of CX that will have that disproportionate impact on your customers. You don’t have to focus on a multi-year plan that will have a supposed 300% increase on the customer experience. Instead, start small, measure, and see if you can start to see an impact in under six months. Even if it is an initiative that improves KPIs 5% over 90 days.

Want to see the full conversation? Watch the on-demand webinar now.

For more information, visit:

7 Ways AI Customer Experience Can Enhance Your CX

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Feb 15, 2021

AI customer experience is emerging as one of the dominant trends in customer service – this article will explore what it is and why so many companies are adopting AI to improve their CX. Good customer experiences help people feel good about a purchase and a brand. This positive experience influences them to come back in the future. The more efficient and personalized the experience is, the more likely companies can turn a first-time customer into a long-term loyalist and advocate. 

Traditional businesses are now competing against innovative, digital-native upstarts that have grown customer bases by prioritizing the customer experience (CX). Good CX is no longer an option: 2/3 of companies compete on CX, up from just 36% in 20101. Consumer-facing companies across industries are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance user experience.

  1. What Is AI Customer Experience?
  2. How AI CX Works?
  3. How Does AI Improve the Customer Experience?
  4. 7 Examples of How AI Transforms Customer Experience
  5. The Final Word

What Is AI Customer Experience?

AI customer experience is a holistic view of how customer experience is augmented by artificial intelligence. AI CX leverages technology like machine learning (ML), deep learning, and natural language understanding (NLU) to automate all the little interactions that make up a user’s experience. The key difference between “AI customer experience” and “AI customer service” is that the former is not limited to rapid resolutions to customer questions and issues.

How AI CX Works?

One example of how AI augments customer experience is via an AI-powered chatbot. An AI chatbot can function digitally through messaging platforms like WeChat and Facebook Messenger, email, and on voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. Chatbot statistics show that the biggest benefits of AI customer support chatbots are eliminating wait times historically present with human-only support, helping customer service reps work more efficiently and automating mundane tasks so human agents can focus on complex issues. Companies using chatbots for customer service create happier customers who turn into long-term loyalists and reduced customer service costs. 


Our webinar with Freshworks, Practical AI to Transform Customer Service,
is a great intro to learn how AI can work inside your existing CX.


How Does AI Improve the Customer Experience?

AI can enhance CX in many ways. It streamlines processes and improves automated support to simplify everyday tasks. According to Gartner, “58% of consumers will use AI to save time, and 56% said they’d use it to save money. The more time they save, the more likely they are to purchase a product, and the more money they save, they’re likely to return to your business to buy again.2” 

Using AI to enhance the CX pays off in many ways:

  • Customers who rate a company as delivering a “good” experience are 34% more likely to purchase more and 37% more likely to recommend3
  • Companies with a CX mindset drive revenue 4-8% higher than the rest of their industry4
  • Companies that lead in CX outperform laggards by nearly 80%5

7 Examples of How AI Transforms Customer Experience

Companies are deploying AI to create much better user experiences in these seven key ways.

  1. Create Hyper-relevant Digital Ads
  2. Power Personalized Search
  3. Help Customers Find The Best Price
  4. Provide Immediate Answers To Questions
  5. Anticipate And Prevent Issues
  6. Empower 24/7 Support Across Every Channel
  7. Eliminate The Hassle Of Returns

1. AI customer experience creates hyper-relevant digital ads

According to Joanna Coles, the former chief content officer of Hearst Magazines, “People hate advertising.” This is because, according to Marc Pritchard, the chief brand officer at Procter & Gamble, ads are often irrelevant and sometimes “just silly, ridiculous or stupid.6

Advertisements are not going anywhere, but the experience is ripe for change: 

  1. 91% of people say ads are more intrusive today than 2-3 years ago7
  2. 83% of people agree with the statement: “Not all ads are bad, but I want to filter out the really obnoxious ones”7
  3. 25.8% of internet users were blocking advertising8

To address the challenges with digital ads and make them less intrusive, brands are harnessing AI to show hyper-relevant ads. Machine learning helps companies anticipate if a person is likely to click on an ad – based on online behavior, customer profiling, and audience segmentation.

For instance, predictive targeting allows companies to adapt ads to an individual customer and recommend products in an ad based on thousands of signals. These algorithms improve over time to provide increasingly personal ads. 

2. AI customer experience powers personalized search

AI is being used to help customers discover the most relevant products and streamline the online user experience. This is driven by the fact that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences9

Personalized search is typified by Netflix. The streaming company has rights to 13,612 titles10. To help customers more quickly find something they want to watch, Netflix’s AI crunches huge amounts of data to present a different home screen to each viewer. The recommendations are based on past viewing behavior and granular audience segmentation.


The streaming wars are brutal. Your CX must be stellar.
Improve it with our streaming video customer service eBook.


Online shopping is another example of personalized search enhancing the customer experience. eCommerce companies are using AI to surface highly relevant products from expansive online catalogs. Wayfair, for instance, has 37,173 coffee mugs.  AI-powered search provides a better user experience by eliminating the need for people to scroll through multiple pages to see the few products they might be interested in. AI-powered personalized search will only become more pervasive as 71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal11


Download a copy of our full Retail and CPG Customer Service Benchmark Report!


3. AI customer experience helps customers find the best price

AI is also helping customers find the best prices so they can be confident that they are getting the best possible price based on predictive intelligence around price fluctuations. For example, Hopper is a highly-regarded startup in the travel space that heavily relies on AI to provide an exceptional CX. The company “offers travelers flight recommendations based on highly accurate pricing predictions, uncovering price drops and exclusive deals relevant for the traveler.” Another way to improve to customer experience is through an AI travel chatbot to quickly answer questions and resolve solutions. 

4. AI customer experience provides immediate answers to customer questions

Netomi offers AI for customer service, providing instant resolutions to simple everyday queries like order or flight status, refund policy and requests, and other FAQs. Advanced customer service AI platforms can integrate with back-end systems like CRM and shipping platforms to provide personalized resolutions to an infinite number of customers at the same time. This frees up customer service reps to focus efforts on high-impact, complex customer situations – providing better customer satisfaction (CSAT) across the board. 

5. AI customer experience anticipates and prevents issues

Companies are also using AI for proactive customer service, which allows them to anticipate and solve problems and issues before customers are even aware. Examples include alerting a customer when a package will be arriving late due to weather delays, offering early check-in to a customer whose flight arrived early or proactively educating a person on how to care for a product. For instance, HP lets a customer know when their printer ink is about to run low and provides a frictionless way to repurchase compatible ink. This eliminates user frustration – improving customer effort score and the responses submitted during customer satisfaction surveys – and the need for a customer to reach out themselves to a company to resolve an issue.

6. AI customer experience empowers customers to get 24/7 support across every channel

There’s an increasing number of channels where customers expect to receive customer support. Human-only agent teams are expensive and hard to staff to manage multiple channels, around-the-clock. AI helps companies scale support across email, chat, voice, messaging, SMS and voice platforms. This allows customers to get the support they need on their preferred channels. Without AI, it would be cost-prohibitive to have a truly omnichannel experience that customers expect i.e., immediate, personalized, meaningful. 

7. AI customer experience eliminates the hassle of returns

Retail customer service is crucial, and returns are a huge part of the online shopping experience. Over 30% of all online purchases are returned. Although retailers have made efforts to make the return process as seamless as possible over the last few years, returning an item is still frustrating. AI helps improve the CX by anticipating when a return is likely based on items in a shopping cart or user behavior. For instance, if a person has multiple sizes of the item or has checked the size guide and return policy within the same session, it could indicate that a person is unsure of what size to buy. AI-powered chatbot tools are preemptively intervening to help the customer find the best possible selection to avoid frustrating and costly returns.

The Final Word

AI is drastically improving CX, delighting customers across the customer journey. And the result of adopting AI for CX is not just happier customers, but also a better topline: 84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in their revenue12.

Would you like to learn more about AI and customer experience tools? Our CX experts would love to chat about our chatbot platform.

Request a meeting today.

To learn more about improving the customer experience, visit:

References

  1. https://www.gartner.com/en/marketing/insights/articles/key-findings-from-the-gartner-customer-experience-survey
  2. https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2018-09-12-gartner-survey-finds-consumers-would-use-ai-to-save-time-and-money 
  3. https://www.qualtrics.com/xm-institute/roi-of-customer-experience-2019 
  4. http://www2.bain.com/infographics/five-disciplines/ 
  5. https://www.qualtrics.com/blog/forrester-economic-impact-of-experience-management/ 
  6. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/28/business/media/advertising-industry-research.html 
  7. https://www.vieodesign.com/blog/new-data-why-people-hate-ads 
  8. https://www.statista.com/statistics/804008/ad-blocking-reach-usage-us/ 
  9. https://us.epsilon.com/pressroom/new-epsilon-research-indicates-80-of-consumers-are-more-likely-to-make-a-purchase-when-brands-offer-personalized-experiences 
  10. https://cordcutting.com/blog/how-many-titles-are-available-on-netflix-in-your-country/ 
  11. https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2020/02/18/50-stats-showing-the-power-of-personalization/ 
  12. https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/09/24/50-stats-that-prove-the-value-of-customer-experience/