3 Trends and Challenges for the CX Industry in 2019


In the increasingly crowded business landscape, there are a few specific focuses that organizations can invest in to give themselves a boost in attention and customer loyalty. Customer experience (CX) is an area that can provide both this increased attention and help maintain customer loyalty—that is, when CX is done the right way. In fact, nearly half (49%) of U.S. consumers would post a positive review of a brand online or on social media, encouraging others to shop with the brand if they’ve had a good experience. However, half (50%) also reported they have stopped doing business with a brand in the past year due to a negative customer experience.

CX is no doubt only growing in importance for businesses, and they’re continuing to realize the necessity of CX in meeting a variety of business goals. According to a report from Adobe, organizations with a cross-team CX approach were nearly twice as likely to have exceeded their top 2017 business goals. As customer expectations change, and businesses continue to invest more in CX to create heightened loyalty for their organization, the business of CX must evolve to keep up with these expectations, providing unique tools and ideas to differentiate themselves in this competitive atmosphere.

Let’s take a look at some of the top trends and challenges we’ll see through 2019.

Changing Expectations for BPOs

Business process outsourcers (BPOs) have, for some time, had a role as a partner to help organizations reduce costs, boost productivity and improve customer service. With emerging technology, a larger BPO landscape and changing expectations from clients, it’s essential for BPOs to figure out how to position themselves uniquely in the marketplace in order to succeed.

This change in positioning provides a challenge for BPOs internally as they’ll need to prioritize focusing on the real human element of customer service and customer experience, providing solutions for more complex interactions and homing in on the emotional aspect of the client. Ensuring that agent communication is at its best also means focusing on employee engagement. In fact, attrition has been cited as the top challenge for the BPO sector this year, and there are various solutions to this employee engagement problem, depending on the business. For example, implementing technology to help automate the more menial tasks will help employees feel their work is more useful, and therefore is likely to keep them more engaged, thus providing better service for clients.

Creating Personalized Omnichannel Solutions

The term omnichannel has been thrown around the customer service industry for years, and with the rise of social media platforms, technology like chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI), the desire for an omnichannel experience has only grown. The broad trend will stay relevant this year, but the opportunity, and challenge, is to create an omnichannel strategy that fits the very specific needs of each client, without providing too wide a range.

A fully adopted and deployed omnichannel strategy creates broad flexibility for the location of customer experience interaction, so it’s easy to get caught up with providing a strategy that reaches more touchpoints than necessary—or perhaps, not the right touchpoints. Utilizing technology such as AI, SaaS and data analytics provides CX companies with the opportunity to gather the insight necessary to personalize an omnichannel interaction strategy that best suits the client, rather than working with a one-size-fits-all model. Understanding a client’s full profile, how they interact with their customers, their preferred channels, which channels get the most engagement and more, allow for fully tailored omnichannel CX packages, which provide more opportunity for success.

Embracing Lesser-Used Technology

There is great opportunity for CX management companies to help their clients embrace new technology that will help streamline and sustain their CX strategies. One example of an area that many clients don’t embrace is speech analytics. This technology is a game changer in how we understand a customer’s experience and learn from each interaction. With 65% of marketing professionals reporting that improving data analysis is an important factor in improving customer experience, speech analytics is a solution as it can measure sentiment for any interaction, and is therefore able to provide massive amounts of data. The data can be specified for each client and can help to determine the best CX strategies moving forward for a particular customer base. With that data, we can determine trends as well as understand in which situations our employees may need more guidance in their service, or where our automated messages need to be adjusted.

Understanding which areas of a business to automate is another critical aspect in customer satisfaction, and as a client’s business evolves, there may be new areas to implement automation, or areas in which automation no longer works and a human needs to step in. That said, the other challenge facing the tech versus human conundrum is the transition between the two—how can we make the transition from an automated message to a human being as seamless as possible? This transition is arguably the greatest opportunity in customer experience this year.

For CX companies to succeed in 2019, it will be essential to build out an organization and a team that can handle the new normal in our industry—fast-paced with high expectations from clients. We’re in an exciting time in customer experience, and as investments in CX continue to grow, companies must ensure that they are highly nimble, providing solutions with a focus on integrating the newest technology.

Mike Small is Sitel Group’s CEO—Americas, responsible for all functional aspects of the group’s Americas’ organization: North America and Nearshore (Latin America) including Operations, Finance, HR, Sales & Solutions, Project Management, Workforce Management and Account Management. As Chief Client Officer for Sitel Group, Mike led the Americas Account Management team to significantly improve business growth for clients and help drive strategic value across all industries and verticals.