HGS Roundtable: Top Customer Experience (CX) Trends in 2019

Each year, we publish our list of top customer experience (CX) trends—our on-the-ground forecast of how BPO partners will be called on to cost-effectively address the next year’s CX and service needs.  For our 2019 predictions, we are honored to share unique and well-informed perspectives from an elite group of industry thought leaders. Thank you to each of them for taking the time to share their insights in this forum. It is truly HGS’s privilege to call you colleagues and clients.

This year’s report comprises 11 trends segmented into three sections Out with the Old, In with the New, and Outsourcing, Evolved.

With our “Out with the Old” trends, we turn the page on old CX models, and frame CX change in terms of shifting expectations and the need for fully empowered brand ambassadors to deliver optimized service.

“In with the New” addresses the wide range of disrupters—those capabilities and tools required to stay ahead of consumer demand. This innovation is designed to provide the right answer fast – and leans on self-service, mobile, messaging, social media, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation (RPA), and the effective use of analytics, everywhere.

Our final section is called “Outsourcing Evolved.” As companies like HGS celebrate 45 years of operational success, one might think this section should be called the BPO mid-life crisis. But some would say our industry is hitting its stride. In fact, according to a recent research report by Global Market Insights, Inc. the outsourced customer care services market is predicted to be valued at $110 billion by 2024. Commercial models and location options are maturing to provide the right set of resources to cost-effectively help clients compete in a digitally transforming world.  No model is better suited than the agile BPO to help companies operate better, faster, and cheaper. 

For these trends in full, visit our ebook.


1. EXPECTATIONS: Brands strive to meet the extraordinary expectations of today’s connected customer.

Michael DeSalles Michael DeSalles, Principal Analyst, Digital Transformation, Frost & Sullivan

Michael discusses how, in 2019, customer experience (CX) will be king. Companies worldwide are putting significant effort and technology investments into improving the customer experience, providing the people, process, and technology to support an omnichannel environment.


2. MODEL: 2019 will be the beginning of the end of the “factory-floor” model of CX management.

 Mattew DixonMatthew Dixon, Chief Product and Research Officer, Tethr

With this projection, Matthew discusses how, this year, we’ll see the old, “factory floor” model of service management (such as, scripted resolution, checklist-driven QA) fall apart, as service issues become increasingly complex, varied, and nuanced. What’s the reason for this? As self-service finally takes over and completely siphons off the easy issues from the call queue, what’s left is by definition more complex.


3. SERVICE: Customer service evolves to answer the unique needs of the subscription economy.

 Wendy ShlenskyWendy Shlensky, Vice President, Analyst and Advisor Relations, HGS

Wendy tells us how, in today’s subscription economy, customer service is a true differentiator. What started with newspapers and magazines has now evolved to real-time, contextual, and personalized product ownership experiences. Think Stitch Fix, Blue Apron, and Zipcar. 


4. APPROACH: In the age of brave new consumerism, personalization is more important than ever.

Jamie KennedyJamie Kennedy, Senior Manager, Social Engagement & Customer Experience, McDonald's 

With this trend, Jamie tells us how technology advancements continue to support smarter insights, and the use of that data at major brands has evolved to become shared and applied across a multitude of internal teams.


5. ASSISTANT: Smart speakers become digital CX voice assistants.

Ivan KotzevIvan Kotzev, Lead Analyst, Customer Experience (CX) Services, NelsonHall

In the past year, Ivan tells us, we saw consumers embracing smart speakers, with adoption of the channel stronger than expected. The installed base of Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod is growing rapidly in the U.S., U.K., and Germany, as well as Korea (Naver, LG)  and China (Alibaba Genie). 


6. CHANNEL: Social media is the highest-value consumer engagement channel.

Mrinal RaiMrinal Rai, Assistant Manager and Principal Analyst, ISG, and Rahul BasuRahul Basu, Analyst, ISG

According to Mrinal and Rahul, in 2019, influencers will increasingly become the fastest-growing marketing channel, as audiences rely on peer consumer recommendations to drive upsurges in conversion rates for brands. 


7. INTELLIGENCE: Artificial Intelligence (AI) will augment human interaction.

Ben TreshamBen Tresham, Operations Director, Hello Customer

With this trend, Ben predicts that, in 2019, talking to a bot will be more and more akin to a human and will help to automate and supplement human interactions.


8. INSIGHT: Data analytics are everywhere.

Mohit SaxenaMohit Saxena, Head of India Business, HGS

With this trend, Mohit speaks to our advanced capabilities in terms of getting the right customer data to optimize experience. Now the question is: How do we use this data in a meaningful way?


9. EMPOWERMENT: Consumers are more empowered with access to their aggregated electronic health data.

 Ryan HowellsRyan Howells, Principal, Leavitt Partners

In 2019, Ryan predicts that we'll see maturation of consumer access to health data—supported by initiatives like the MyHealthEData initiative, which aims to empower patients by ensuring that they control their healthcare data and can decide how their data is going to be used, all while keeping that information safe and secure. 


10. BPO will address business complexity and digital transformation in 2019

Mark HillaryMark Hillary, Founder, Carnaby Content and CX Files podcast

The complexity of the modern customer experience (CX) has changed the dynamics of the BPO supplier and client relationship. As a result, CX expertise will be relied on even more in 2019, according to Mark. 


11. The move toward nearshoring accelerates.

Peter RyanPeter Ryan, Principal, Ryan Strategic Advisory

With our final 2019 prediction, Peter speaks to how automation and customer experience mandates, as well as currency fluctuations, are driving organizations to revisit traditional contact center locations.

Read our trends here.

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