Customer behaviors and expectations develop quickly. To distinguish themselves, companies have to adjust their strategy continuously. The need to fulfill outstanding customer service has nevermore been more significant than now – customers use digital channels more than ever. They expect seamless journeys through their transactions, even when switching between those channels.

So, what are the new expectations of customers? How do you stay ahead of the competition in 2020? Take a look at our essential trends to consider in 2020.

1. Customer service is not limited to a department

As customer experience becomes the main criterion of choice, this area is gaining more importance within companies. While it used to be seen as a cost center solely dedicated to answering customer inquiries, it now has a more central role and is transitioning to a profit center.

We can see a growing interest in customer experience from the C-suite. A YouGov survey found that 97% of executives believe customer satisfaction is key to business success. When top management understands the value of CX, this transposes to the company as a whole. It contributes to driving investment in this area and develops a culture centered around the customer.

To further this vision, companies must rely on a connected ecosystem of tools. An open customer engagement platform provides a seamless experience and promotes the flow of data across divisions. Integrating this tool with CRM or BI enables the leverage of information from customer interactions, which can be used by other departments such as sales and marketing.

2. Customer experience becomes the main criteria of choice

In 2015, a Walker study predicted that, by 2020, customer experience would overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

Modern trends have confirmed this shift. With more competition and fewer opportunities to compete on product and price, customer experience is more important than ever. We now live in “the Experience Economy,” where customers value experience more than the actual product. Leading companies such as Netflix and Amazon reflect this evolution by providing a convenient experience minimizing the customer’s efforts.

HubSpot found that 93% of customers are more likely to be repeat customers at companies with excellent customer service. On the other hand, CITE Research found that customers have ceased doing business with brands an average of four times (five times if we focus on millennials) in the past year after a bad customer service experience.

Prioritizing customer experience is determined to have a positive economic impact: 84% of companies that work to improve this area report an increase in their revenue.

3/ UCaaS + CCaaS make customer experience better

The transition from on-premise to cloud solutions brings several benefits for companies, such as reduced implementation time, costs reduction, and more open frameworks for integrations. UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) and CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) are two of these main cloud services.

UCaaS is dedicated to internal communications between employees, and CCaaS facilitates interactions with customers. They used to operate in two distinct spheres, and these areas are now linked thanks to the Cloud.

This integration encourages a more satisfying customer experience. As aforementioned, customer experience is achieving a more central role and is not limited to a department. In that way, any employee can now have an impact on CX. When frontline employees lack information, they need to access those with the right expertise inside the company, ideally while engaged with the customer. Still, 70% of employees report they have to leave the customer communication app to consult with coworkers – increasing customer wait times and time to resolution.

Having a single platform for both CC and UC reduces the time needed to switch between appsimproving both the employee and customer experience. In a customer-centric organization, all employees have an impact on customer service. Integrating UCaaS and CCaaS is a necessary step to support this vision and is contributing to improved customer satisfaction, retention, and sales growth.

4. The majority of customer interactions are becoming digital

Digital channels are gaining more and more important for customer interactions. Email, social media, and now messaging has emerged as options to phone calls. Customers are used to these channels to communicate within their private circle and anticipate to use the same with organizations.

The multiplication of channels for customer service and new customer habits are supporting the growth of digital. More adapted to customers’ lifestyles, these channels allow them to contact brands on their terms. While the phone is still used, there is a general decrease in its use.

By 2022, Gartner predicts that 72% of customer interactions will involve emerging technologies such as messaging, mobile applications, and chatbots, up from 11 percent in 2017. They also predict that, by that time, phone conversations will make up merely 12% of customer service interactions – vs. 41% in 2017.

The growth of digital requires not only to adopt new channels but also a completely new approach. The new challenge for companies is to go beyond omni-channel to offer multiexperience. It suggests being able to provide seamless and effortless experiences across all digital touchpoints. It becomes apparent that customers are not thinking in terms of “channels” anymore: they naturally choose the contact method that is the most convenient to them.

To adapt to this evolution, brands must adopt an omni-digital strategy that allows you to centralize the management of channels. With this approach, silos disappear, and agents manage any channel with a single tool. We don’t know what customers’ preferences will be tomorrow: by becoming channel-agnostic, brands gain the flexibility to deploy new touchpoints where and when customers expect them quickly.

5. Live-chat use is declining

The death of live-chat is not happening anytime soon. Live-chat is still widely used and relevant for customer service, especially for sales. However, it has some limits, such as its synchronous character, the lack of conversation history, and the limited compatibility with mobile devices.

Messaging is the fastest-growing channel for customer service and tackles these limits. Its asynchronous character doesn’t require customers and agents to stay focused on the conversation. It keeps the conversation history with compatibility across multiple devices. Like live-chat, it can be offered while customers browse the website to answer their questions quickly.

Even though, Messaging is mainly adopted through external channels such as WhatsApp and Messenger. Plus, you can add messages to the brand’s mobile app, thanks to in-app messaging. This provides more control and flexibility on the features and data. The next wave of this technology will be cross-platform: in that way, the brand will be able to deploy its proprietary channels on mobile and desktop with continuity in the conversation.

6. AI empowers customer service agents

As a Forrester study points out, companies must start creating Human-Machine collaborations to free employees to do more meaningful work. There are many ways in which AI can be leveraged to assist agents in their daily tasks. By routing messages, collecting customer information, or providing a knowledge base, AI is saving agents much time. This approach allows them to focus on more value-add tasks such as solving complex issues, identifying opportunities for upselling, or creating a more personalized experience.

A collaboration between chatbots and agents also answers to customers’ expectations: 86% of customers believe there should be an “escalate to agent” option when talking to a chatbot. In that way, they enjoy the best of both parties: instant answers from chatbots for basic requests and interactions with an agent for more complex situations.

Customer experience will rule 2020

2020 will be defined by the central role given to customer experience. This shift began a few years ago and now becomes a reality for most companies. Brands convinced of the value of CX are prioritizing this area to match customers’ expectations more accurately. It is a challenge now to adopt the right strategy and tools, providing multi-experience.


Reading time: 6 min
Voice of the Customer, Customer Experience, Customer Experience Management, Customer Experience

It’s the age of the customer and the world’s biggest brands are duking it out every day for a greater share of our hearts, minds, and wallets. Customers hold more decision power than ever in an era where information about any company’s products and services is just a mobile search away.

Where does the Voice of the Customer (VoC) land in the priorities for your company’s overall strategy? Forrester’s Customer Experience Council survey shows that 79% of all respondents believe that measuring customer experience is a top priority.

Market research shows that the Customer Experience Management (CEM) market is estimated to grow from USD 5.06 Billion in 2016 to USD 13.18 Billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 21.1%.” If you’re not investing in CX, it’s very likely that your competitors are.

The stage has been set – now let’s jump right into the top Reasons to Invest More in Customer Experience (CX):

1. The ROI customer experience

Building customer loyalty and increasing revenue go hand in hand. When compared with customers who had negative experiences, those who had positive experiences were more likely to recommend, trust, try new products or services, purchase more, and forgive your company after a mistake.

2. What gets measured gets done

Measuring customer feedback is the first step to measuring up to your customers’ expectations. Whether you’re an advanced scorecard-driven enterprise or just beginning to think about CX, the most important thing to do is to start actively listening and measuring your customers’ feedback.

3. Time to set new customer experience goals

CX is not as fluffy as it may seem. There is real science and methodology to measuring and improving customer satisfaction (CSAT). There are many metrics to consider as part of your VoC program, but Bain & Company’s Net Promoter System and Forrester’s Customer Experience Index stand out as the gold standard top-line measures in the CX industry.

4. Elevate your operational performance

Operational performance and CSAT are inextricably linked. For example, it’s no coincidence that airlines with the best CX ratings also boast the highest percentage of on-time arrivals. The best CEM programs cause cross-functional customer-centric collaboration, which requires your company to break down organizational silos to be more valuable, efficient, and enjoyable to your customers.

5. Put the customer at the center of every decision

Your customers see you as one whole cohesive brand, regardless of how complex your organization, systems, and processes might be. When your customer interacts with your company, they don’t care about any bureaucracy, different divisions and departments, or roles and hierarchies.

6. Plug-in and empower your employees

Ready to take your CX program to the next level? Tap into your company’s most valuable assets – your people. The more customer-facing employees with access to a real-time view of customer feedback, the more awareness, focus, and unity there is around your company’s CX mission and goals.


Reading time: 2 min

CXREFRESH was incorporated to create a global community of CX leaders and thought leaders who will come together to create world class CX strategies for businesses to grow. In our quest to showcase industry leaders and iconic professionals on CXREFRESH, we got a chance to meet Mr. Kashish Ahuja, Chief Experience Officer, Excitel Broadband.

Know how Excitel is transforming CX benchmarks in the competitive ISP domain.


Kashish is a part of the core team at Excitel with primary objective of growth & expansion. He is a renowned business leader with 15 years of rich experience in managing various functions & digital transformations across industries. Known for his result-oriented approach, his key strengths are formulating robust strategies, building high performing teams; backed by strong execution focusing on Customer Experience, Value Generation & Cost Optimization. Before Excitel, Kashish held key roles in Customer Experience & Marketing with companies like American Express, Home Credit & Hyatt Hotels.

Excerpts from his interview: Q&A

Q. We see that very recently you have taken up a new job, what is your role now with Excitel?

A. Yes, it’s been a few months since I joined Excitel which is an Internet Service Provider, I am a part of the core team with growth & expansion as our primary objective. From strategy to execution, I am accountable for everything that touches the customer. It’s a new industry for me so there is learning, some challenges & a lot of excitement. At present, I invest most of my time in studying the existing CRM landscape, shaping up essential processes, profiling our customer, understanding their challenges & expectations.

Q. What do you think is great customer experience in today’s age?

A. Customer expectations are ever evolving, there is a shift in customer behavior every now & then. Due to cut-throat competition, we must learn to value customer expectations & consistently adapt. Personalization has become very important, they want you to know their preferences & expect customized interactions (tailor made for them). More & more customers now prefer digital channels to communicate, be it a Mobile Application/website or Social Media, Email/Chat – any company’s Customer Relationship Management needs to be constantly evolving with customer needs in order to stay relevant in the industry.

Q. How do you build a CX strategy?

A. I would do this in three steps – First, use available data from internal sources to understand what your customers feel, identify what triggers dissatisfaction & what they appreciate. Second, draw a customer persona, draft an engaging discussion guide covering all aspects that can help you understand customer sentiment w.r.t. a product/service, conduct some focus groups, personal interviews & digital surveys directly with the customer. Third, stitch it all together to address gaps & expectations, improve processes, arrive at what can be potential wow factors, you could use what they already appreciate about you or innovate using learnings from the research to create these ‘wow factors’  that give you the competitive advantage.

Q. How do you identify the problems in your current CX strategy?

A. In order to measure how good or bad your CX strategy is, one must periodically solicit feedback from customers, could be in terms of Customer Satisfaction surveys or even Net Promoter Score through any digital channel. Though, not too often, else it could irritate your customers but just enough for you to know how your customers feel about your product or service, how they think you are doing right or wrong & you must use these insights to constantly sharpen your CX strategy – this is the most important part of this exercise.

Q. How do you think you can create an unfair advantage in CX in this futuristic competitive business environment?

A. Proactive versus Reactive – Don’t wait for the customer to point out where you’re going wrong, have systems in place that are monitoring your relationship with the customers, even the interactions & based on some predefined internal triggers such as usage patterns & external triggers such as market trends, you can proactively know if something needs to be addressed so you can take immediate corrective steps to recover before you’ve lost the customer.

Q. How is your organization making personalized interactions better during this entire journey?

A. We’re always trying to make it easier for the customer, be it reciprocating each customer’s choice of communication channel, or be it implementing a strong omnichannel CRM system so we can capture details from all previous interactions across touch points, highlight customized offers for customer benefit in order to value & strengthen the relationship. We’re trying to use a lot of data intelligence to build a strong CRM system which enables us to deliver unparalleled personalized experiences.

Q. Why do you think that the CX strategies should not work in silos?

A. Customer Experience cannot be a departmental goal, it must be a culture that is embedded consistently – the very system an organization lives by. In a customer life cycle, they may touch different departments and CX should be a consistent binding force built into the DNA of all employees across the organization in order to ensure seamless customer experience. The team in action – breaking the silos @ Excitel HQ, New Delhi.

Reading time: 4 min
Customer Experience, Customer Satisfaction, CXREFRESH, CX

Human interaction remains a vital component of customer satisfaction, even in the ‘digital age’. 83 percent of world’s consumers prefer dealing with human beings over digital channels to solve customer services issues and get advice (77 percent). Almost half (45 percent) of consumers say they are even willing to pay a higher price for goods and services if it ensures a better level of service.

Physical or in-store experiences are also highly valued amongst consumers. 65 percent agree that in-store service is the best channel for getting a tailored experience, and 46 percent say they are more willing to be sold new or upgraded products when receiving a face-to-face service compared to online.

How leaders of customer services succeed

Organizations that want to rebalance their digital and traditional customer service channels should look to:

1. Put the human and physical elements back into customer services: Rethink your investment strategy. The focus should be on delivering satisfying customer experiences – not methods of interaction. Ensure your channel management approach delivers integrated experiences.

2. Make it easy for customers to switch channels to get the experiences they want: Build customer service channels that enable consumers to fluidly move from digital to human interaction to get the outcomes they desire.

3. Root out toxicity: Define and address the most toxic customer experiences across all channels. These experiences can directly impact profitability. Identify the experiences that have the greatest potential downside and leverage those insights to guide an investment strategy.

4. Guarantee personal data security: 92 percent of consumers say it is extremely important that companies protect the privacy of their personal information. By not selling or sharing customer data with other companies, and guaranteeing that safeguards are in place to protect it, consumers will be more willing to hand over personal information which can be leveraged to deliver better experiences.

Customer Experience    Customer Satisfaction   Customer Services   CXREFRESH   Global CX


Reading time: 1 min

Customer satisfaction is the key to customer retention, and it is a critical cog in the wheel for any growing business. That said, there is no real measure of customer satisfaction and what you don’t know could hurt your business.

Satisfied customers are also crucial to any business in more ways than one. First, they are bound to buy more products or services over a shorter period. Second, once you can establish customer loyalty, they will partake in word-of-mouth showing their advocacy. Third, they are bound to bring in referral customers to your business. Thus customer satisfaction adds a lot of value to a business cycle.

It is a known fact that a business will not act on a laundry list of improvements just to satisfy a few customers. However, it is essential to analyze the cause of why the laundry list exists and look for changes or developments that the entire customer group can take advantage of. So, a dedicated customer service team is essential to keep the ball rolling. Similar to the above, there are certain customer satisfaction myths that this piece looks to debunk.

Myth #1: Customer loyalty takes precedence customer satisfaction

This is highly misplaced assumption, and where loyalty is essential, satisfaction brings better results in abundance. Consider that loyalty can always be controlled with price discounts, offers, and freebies while happiness will come only with the use of the product. Pursuing the line of allegiance will perhaps, get more business in the long run but ignoring satisfaction will bring no business in the future.

Loyalty thus can be bought but not customer satisfaction.

Myth #2: Maximise customer satisfaction

Maximising customer satisfaction is not possible, period. Satisfaction is more of a personal vibe with the customer and is not in control of the business. All that the company can do is to optimize it with more features and better service. Any effort to maximize satisfaction through an increment in counters or through such efforts might improve it a niche above but at the cost of profitability.

Put profit above all and stretch only as much as you can to achieve optimal customer satisfaction.

Myth #3: Try and exceed customer expectations

This one is good for the textbooks. Meeting customer expectations is more realistic than exceeding them. On the ground level, how will you reach something that is not tangibly expressed? Customer satisfaction is a tight-rope in the sense that, you can never indeed establish what action will result in meeting the expectations.

The reality is that customer expectations should be met using excellent and friendly business strategies that add to the bottom-line instead of striving to invest in it. Meeting such expectations should be a pleasant accident rather than a calculated move.

Myth #4: Avoid customer dissatisfaction at all costs

If you have been in business for some time you will know that you are making 80% of your money from 20% of your customers. So, going by the 80/20 formula keeping customers who probably don’t add to your bottom-line may seem to be a loss-making proposition. However, this does not mean that you leave those customers out. If you use a good CRM and have customer profiles and data available, handling dissatisfaction from selected customers who add to your profits can be a joy. Customer dissatisfaction will always be there to some extent, eliminating it 100% is not possible or even profitable.

Myth #5: Minimize customer complaints

Businesses do not like complaining customers. However, such complaints must be dealt in a proper manner and not treat them as distractions. Listening intently to complaints can give you insights into your business process that can be bettered. Also, some customers never complain, which again does not mean that they do not have complaints.

Encouraging complaints and resolving them is the way to go. Failure to listen to them is to set yourself for failure.

Myth #6: The percentage of customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is a two-faced sword. There are scales – external as well as internal (for some businesses) that measure it on a percentage scale. Honestly, no customer is completely satisfied or dissatisfied. On the one hand, you are looking at a tangible expression of satisfaction, and on the other hand, you measure something that is a complete bundle of emotions and thoughts that are invariably bound to change. A simple scale or a percentage is no measure of satisfaction. It is only an indicator.

At the ground level, simplifying customer satisfaction can result in adverse decisions affecting your business long-term.

Myth #7: Customers are loyal

Customer loyalty is not about brands anymore. They have grown to get ahead of that mindset and are focussing more on customer service. Regarding customer satisfaction, they are happier where they get personalized attention to resolve any issues.

In this scenario, do not think that a customer is satisfied or loyal to you just because you are a well-known brand.

Myth #8: A satisfied customer is a loyal customer

Customer satisfaction is a combined measure of his or her attitude towards the brand, products, and services. Customer loyalty is entirely different and is a combined measure of opinions, behaviors, attitudes, repeat purchases and feelings. Customers can showcase loyal behavior without a loyal view and vice-versa.

So, assuming that a satisfied customer is a loyal customer can be quite misleading.

Myth #9: Customers always look at the lower prices

Many reports have been crafted on the subject, however, as per most surveys, it has been found that the percentage of customers looking for quality is a tad more than those looking for a reasonable price.

Irrespective of what your customers prefer, quality or price, it is always a good policy to consider the value you provide for the price. Focus on offering value for money.

Myth #10: Technology is critical to improving customer loyalty

Technology applied to produce good or services is internal to the organization. However, if you advertise the technology used, which is better than the competition, could be a USP. The focus of investing in technology should be to provide better goods and services rather than advertising it to gain customer loyalty. Also, the technology used for communication with customers should be chosen with care to facilitate more accessible and better customer interaction and not for the sake of it.

End of the day, a customer will look at the quality of goods for monies paid and in a more natural way to get through to you. He or she is not impressed by what you use. They are influenced by how better it gets for them.

Myth #11: Customers will be loyal if they like you

Amidst fierce competition, it will be foolish to assume that customer loyalty depends on how well he or she likes your company. In which case, your competition will make the best efforts to get into their good books. Assuming this end will be dangerous.

Customers are fickle, don’t ever take them for granted.

Myth #12: Loyalty building is expensive

This is the biggest myth of them all. Businesses, small or big need not worry about costs of loyalty building. Offering excellent products and services at the right price will build loyalty automatically.

If you are looking to build customer loyalty, you are on the wrong path, focus on your business and loyalty will come automatically.

Myth #13: To build customer loyalty, you will need personal interactions with customers

Personal interaction goes for a toss when a customer uses your product and finds it faulty or too expensive. Building relationships is a good thing to get more business but never assume that such relationships are going to build the loyalty factor.

Personal relationships and business never did mix, why do you think they are going to come to your aid today?

Myth #14: The more numbers of times you contact a customer, the more loyal he or she will be

Why would want to reach out to a customer, for up-sell or cross-sell? And, how many times a week do you think you will do that? None of your customers would like to be spammed. So, increased contact is not a solution to gaining customer satisfaction or loyalty.

Use the right communication mediums to keep in touch and keep testing your communication frequencies without annoying your customers.

Myth #15: Measuring customer loyalty is only possible through customer satisfaction surveys

Customer satisfaction surveys are great to measure customer satisfaction, however, they are more qualitative. There are specific quantitative methods to measure the customer loyalty. They could include some metrics like purchase frequencies, how much revenue they are bringing and so on. These can be measured through some analytics tools available online.

Myth #16: Retention does not help build better bottom-lines?

To de-myth this, consider that the percentage of selling successfully to an existing customer is around 60-65% while selling to a brand new customer, your chances are anywhere between 5 to 20%. With the vast potential to up-sell and cross-sell, retention does help build better bottom-lines.

Myth #17: Tracking customer loyalty is a challenge

Not true at all, there are so many tools out there like membership cards, rewards, points, unique customer numbers and so on to assign memberships to customers. Once done, you can collect a wealth of data that can be used to analyze and assess customer loyalty levels. Tracking these metrics can a long way is monitoring customer loyalty.

Myth #18: Does customer retention has a real, measurable ROI?

While it is quite tricky to get the hang of ROI for the spend on customer retention, it is not as impossible it sounds. The better method here would be looking at the CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) instead of ROI. The CLV is a projected revenue that a customer will pass to you in his lifetime.

Customer satisfaction is a critically important metric for any business, and it is only advised that you get rid of all those myths that surround the very concept of customer retention and loyalty. It is as important as the new business that you generate and ignore it at your peril.

Customer experience management              Customer satisfaction Customer value

Reading time: 8 min