Leading analyst firms as well as independent experts have been working in the past weeks to identify some of the key trends for 2015 as it relates to how companies can better engage, inspire and influence consumers to trust and prefer their brands. These experts discuss many trends, but among them one rises as a common theme: consumers expect brands to deliver pain-free, consistent interactions across devices and channels throughout the entire digital journey, especially as they continue embracing ecommerce and adopting mobile technologies.
Here are 2015 trends outlined by The 56 Group, Gartner, eConsultancy, Constellation Research and Forrester:
Paul Greenberg, The 56 Group: Setting the tone for 2015: CRM begat Social CRM which begat customer engagement
I used to spend a lot of time forecasting – “Here’s what I expect to see in 20-whatever.” Then I would look at how I did — and I had a good time both laughing at myself (for my errors) and patting myself on the back. But ultimately, the forces that drive the universe aren’t in enough of my control or anyone else’s to really give a damn about my — or any other — forecasts, predictions, prognostications or wild speculations. I can only control what I actually do in that universe and then try to understand, never faultlessly, the impact that my (or anyone’s) actions have on that universe or things in it. But I do have some observations that I want to throw out there that you can take or leave as you care to. They aren’t exactly random, but they aren’t exactly totally related either. However, they will define my 2015 discussions and analyses to a large extent. Read more.
Weak mobile customer service is harming customer engagement, according to Gartner, Inc. No rallying principle in the enterprise matters more than the creation of superior customer engagement and IT leaders will need to innovate in engaging customers on all channels and have the metrics to choose the right projects. “Marketing may fill the sales funnel, and the sales department can close a deal, yet it is the overall impression of the enterprise generated by the quality of customer service that differentiates one enterprise from another,” said Michael Maoz, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “Translating this general and departmental customer engagement concept into operational components across the enterprise is transforming the definition of customer service from an isolated function into an enterprise objective delivered across all points where the customer ‘touches’ the business.” Read more.
Graham Charlton, eConsultancy: 20 ecommerce trends and predictions for 2015
Just before Christmas I asked our expert panel of ecommerce professionals to look into their crystal balls and predict the trends that are likely to shape ecommerce in 2015. Here are 20 such predictions, from mobile to multichannel. The expert panel:
- Matthew Curry, Head of Ecommerce at Lovehoney.
- Dan Barker, e-business consultant
- Stuart McMillan, Deputy Head of Ecommerce at Schuh
- James Gurd, Owner of Digital Juggler
Natalie Petouhoff, Constellation Research: The State of Customer Service and Support Evolves in 2015
Constellation’s research team delivers its inaugural series on the state of the state. The state of the state research explores the impact of digital transformation, next-generation customer experience and matrix commerce from a systems perspective. It takes into account the political, economic, societal, technological, environmental, and legislative points of view. This research report explores a key area – customer service and support. This report offers insights on four of Constellation’s business research themes, Consumerization of IT and the New C-Suite, Matrix Commerce, Next-Generation Customer Experience and Digital Marketing Transformation. Read more.
Kate Leggett, Forrester: Top Trends for Customer Service in 2015
As 2014 winds down, I have taken the time to pause, and look ahead to what top customer service trends are surfacing for 2015 and beyond. Good service — whether it’s to answer a customer’s question prior to purchase, or help a customer resolve an issue post-purchase should be pain-free, proactive at a minimum and preemptive at best, deeply personalized, and delivered with maximum productivity. Here are 6 top trends – out of a total of 10 – that I am keeping my eye on. Read more.