2015: A Year in Review
Throughout my academic and personal life, I’ve learned the importance of reflection; it helps us to take a step back, see the big picture, and process experiences. This processing prepares us for future experiences. Reflection is an important aspect of business, as well, and as the year comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on 2015 by taking a look at some of the most notable trends in SmartAction’s industry.
An omnichannel environment is one that allows a customer to begin conversations with a company in a variety of channels, and furthermore, allows the customer to migrate to other channels seamlessly – picking up conversations where they left off in another channel. These channels include phone, mobile, web, chat, and SMS-text. Companies have begun to prioritize these environments so that they can offer that effortless customer journey from one channel to the next. As a matter of fact, we did a webinar on this topic in August – check it out here – and we weren’t the only ones. It seemed like everywhere we looked, someone had written an article, hosted a webinar, or developed a position on omnichannel. People talked about it in 2014, but it exploded in 2015.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
What a buzz phrase this has become! It isn’t just the big-name companies that are investing in AI technology; its use has become widespread. And the fact is that every company should be investing in it. We’ve reached the point where practical applications for AI are infused into everyday life – online search engines, Siri, and Pandora Internet Radio are a few examples. But there is still much more to be learned. This article goes into detail about the reasons why 2015 was such a breakthrough year, including discussions on increased cloud computing power and why startup companies are now able to participate in AI development. AI is one of those topics that came to a head in 2015, but people aren’t going to stop talking about it in 2016. It will be top of mind for the foreseeable future.
Customer Experience and the Customer Journey
According to the new book, X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, customer experiences have become as important as the products that a company sells – if not, more so (read more about the book here). It’s no longer just about customer satisfaction; you have to be memorable, collaborative, and strategic. Most companies these days are designing entire journeys for their customers to embark on. It is the experiences with a company that spark retention and the best designed journey will win out. The key becomes leveraging the first two trends, Omnichannel and AI, to create an outstanding customer experience.
Looking to 2016, it is the combination of these trends and others that will set the bar for success and growth. You need to be able to use what you’ve learned about omnichannel environments, artificial intelligence, and the customer experience to strategically implement technology and business processes that best support your business and your customers.
About the Author:
Charlie Schrier, Associate Marketing Manager
Charlie is a double grad from Loyola Marymount University (BA, MBA) with degrees in Communications and Entrepreneurship. When he’s not putting out engaging content for SmartAction, he watches, coaches, and plays a lot of basketball.