2022 confounded many in the CX industry; the impact of surging inflation, geopolitical events, tight labor markets, and new tech developments meant the need to adapt to new realities. So, moving into 2023, what type of analyst firm would Ryan Strategic Advisory be without its own set of customer experience prognostications for the upcoming year?  With that said, the proverbial crystal ball has been dusted off.  In no particular order, watch for the following over the next 50 weeks:

  • Consumers push back against digital-only CX – recently, many companies have begun to abandon the voice channel entirely, forsaking the traditional telephone option for consumers and offering digital-only interactions. Probably the most high-profile firm to make this move was US-based Frontier Airlines. This may please some young, digitally adept end-users. But such moves have angered customers who lack access to devices or who feel less comfortable with non-voice communication. In 2023, watch for consumers across the vertical spectrum to push enterprises for a credible voice service option. Sometimes a customer just needs to speak to someone.
  • Reality check for emerging technologies in CX – hype is building around new technologies, in particular the Metaverse and ChatGPT. While both have the potential to fundamentally alter CX delivery, it is overly ambitious to expect this to happen soon. These platforms will need to go through significant growing pains before they become truly mainstream in CX management.  Perhaps 2023 will be a proving ground for Metaverse and ChatGPT — but it won’t be their red-carpet moment.
  • Emerging locations gain traction in offshore CX delivery diversification – 2023 will be a banner year for those offshore and nearshore destinations that are just beginning to appear on the CX map. The pandemic was a wake-up call for enterprises that lacked a diversified delivery footprint, and now the move toward sites outside of traditional offshore mainstays is gaining traction. Even so, deciding where to invest is becoming more complex. Select nearshore options, including Nicaragua and Serbia, have a more problematic business environment than in years past, due to their respective governments’ domestic and foreign policies. Over the next 12 months, watch for enterprises and their outsourcing partners to push heavily into new countries, including Barbados, Rwanda, Georgia, Kenya and Kosovo. All these markets are honing solid customer management value propositions, and are complemented by investment-hungry, business-friendly governments.
  • The airline sector becomes ground zero for customer anger – customer satisfaction levels are falling fast in 2023. This was recently quantified in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which placed dissatisfaction among consumers at the lowest point in almost two decades.  Watch for much of this discontent to be focused on the airline sector in the coming months.  Arguably, since the reopening of the global economy, no vertical has been as exposed to labor market tightness and disruption (especially due to weather) as travel.  The media has been quick to pick up on the airline sector’s inability to manage logistics and customer experience.  As seasonal travel increases expect more CX horror stories in the headlines, fueling demands by aggrieved customers for authorities to do something about poor service from airlines.
  • EX becomes the focus for driving CX excellence – there is a school of thought that the only way to keep strong talent on the frontlines of contact centers is to ensure that the employee experience is as positive as possible. In 2023, this will be the key mantra for enterprises and outsourcers.  To ensure the best possible outcomes, motivated and happy agents are essential. This will drive more investment in training, mental health, and career development than ever before.  Those firms that take this path will see the benefits in the form of better KPIs and improved levels of loyalty. The ones that neglect agent satisfaction will suffer attrition, quiet-quitting, and angry customers.

Image sourced under Creative Common license from Jernej Furman