EXPOCONTACT 2023: SEVEN KEY CX TAKEAWAYS FOR EVERY BRAND
When the world started to emerge from lockdown, businesses generally expected a period of recovery and opportunity as the world of BPO and customer experience absorbed new trends, technologies and behaviors.
What we in fact got was something very different. Rather than enjoying a predictable recovery, brands have now had to deal with other shocks, including an energy crisis and rising inflation. All against the complex backdrop of the climate change crisis. How can brands offer CX excellence in such difficult circumstances?
To find out the answers to this question, and to swap experiences and analyses, participants from all over the world gathered together at Expocontact 2023, both online and in real life. Seven key takeaways emerged on the latest CX trends, strategies and key technologies.
1 The world is more global than ever. Expocontact started out as an event for the Spanish-speaking world, but this 18th edition of the event was the most global yet, with participants from Argentina to Mexico, from Italy to France to the UK.
Everyone there understood that physical frontiers and even linguistic frontiers are no longer a barrier to collaboration, and that they would need to operate globally and multilingually in order to succeed in the 2020s and 2030s, while still remaining local champions for their clients and customers.
2 Now is not the time to stand still. Given the shocks and pace of change we’ve seen already in the 2020s already, some businesses are minded to pause for breath, or even try to return to old normalities.
This, explained Enrique García Gullón, CEO Iberia of Konecta, is simply not an option: “It is essential that we move forward. This reconversion should be based on three pillars: technology and digital capabilities to make services simpler, more immediate and easier for the customer; people, with a commitment to professionalization; and offshore production, a necessary element for the flexibility we need.”
3 Success in the 2020s and 2030s is all about the Total Experience. The concept of the Total Experience revolves around a new strategic vision to achieve business objectives, offering:
- the best employee experience to attract and retain the best talent
- the best user experience to design simple and efficient interaction points
- the best multi-experience to provide maximum quality and consistency from any digital channel
- the best customer experience to create strong relationships between the company and its customers to help to increase Customer Lifetime Value
To quote Enrique García Gullón again: ““Total Experience brings together all the experiences: customer, user, employee... and goes a step further to merge them into a unique and excellent combination”.
4 Be excited by technology but not dazzled by it. Everyone agreed that technology and digital transformation is a leading element in offering the Total Experience. But it is also evident that some companies’ approach to technology is causing them problems:
- Some are over-excited about it – seeing digitalization and technologies like AI are the answer to everything! Which means they may fall victim to hype.
- Other companies are too scared by it, falling into paralysis or pessimism about technology’s power to disrupt.
An enlightening and sensible antidote to both these mistakes came from Jorge del Rio, Corporate CIO of Konecta, in his talk on “Experience GPT: are we heading towards dystopia or utopia?” The answer, of course, was neither: artificial intelligence is an important part of what brands can offer the Total Experience and navigate change, but it’s not the only way.
5 Love it or hate it, you can learn from the metaverse. It was clear from Expocontact that some people in the CX sector would happily talk about the opportunities and challenges of the metaverse all the time; and that others would rather talk about anything else, thinking it’s just a fad.
Both ‘camps’ were in evidence at a roundtable entitled, “With the metaverse on the horizon: strategic trends to meet the expectations of tomorrow’s customer”. The takeaway was that the metaverse is one element in a much larger conversation, about how business success means reaching the place where the customer wants to be.
Participants explained how each social network, or new form of interaction or communication creates a new opportunity for companies to exceed their customers’ expectations. One reason the metaverse is such a hot topic is that it forces companies to address essential questions around what communication between companies and customers will be like when Generation Z – and even Generation Alpha – become a bigger part of the equation.
6 In the world of e-commerce, the UX cannot be ignored. A popular roundtable at Expocontact looked at the fundamental role of User Experience in the success of any e-commerce project. Any online sales website or mobile app that offers a poor UX will increasingly result in high abandonment rates and negative impacts on brand perception. Conversely, a well-designed UX will increase the customer’s confidence in making purchases and the likelihood they’ll return for future transactions.
Put like that, it sounds simple, but the challenge will be for brands to meet the expectations of different consumers in different markets while also managing their own resource constraints.
7 Don’t neglect the local. Events like Expocontact – where delegates cross continents in order to come together and share expertise – demonstrate the global nature of customer experience. But of course local understanding also remains important.
A great example of this was the final roundtable of Expocontact, dealing with the new Customer Service Law in Spain. All who attended had a useful lesson not just about this individual law but the importance of the local. In today’s world, where technological, regulatory and behavioral change is happening so quickly, brands more than ever need CX providers who can offer global scale but are also able to interpret and flex to local issues and behaviors.