Building an excellent customer experience isn’t just about keeping up with technology—it’s also about understanding what customers need before they ask for it. In this blog post, we look closely at next-gen and immersive customer experiences in Zendesk’s CX Trends Report 2024. We pair these insights with our own report on How to Meet Customer Expectations with Artificial Intelligence. We delve into how businesses can leverage insights from both reports to create a more engaging, efficient, and personalised customer experience.

Trend 1: Live and Immersive Experiences in Online Shopping

As digital commerce continues to evolve, it transforms the consumer journey into an immersive narrative beyond mere transactions. Zendesk highlights the emergence of live-stream shopping as a significant force reshaping the e-commerce landscape, which is particularly prominent in Asia and is gradually gaining popularity worldwide. This innovative format seamlessly blends the convenience of online shopping with the engaging nature of in-store experiences, providing real-time purchasing guidance and expert advice.

72% of leaders plan to partner with external vendors and partners for live-stream shopping. – Zendesk CX Trends Report 2024 

Unlike traditional product demonstrations, live-stream shopping invites customers to actively participate in the shopping process by interacting directly with hosts and brands in real time. It transforms a typical browsing session into a dynamic event where viewers can ask questions, receive immediate responses, and witness products in action, significantly enhancing the overall buying experience.

Conversational commerce is also on the rise, as noted by Zendesk. Chat agents play a dual role in providing support and driving sales during customer interactions. This trend underscores a shift towards more dynamic and personalised shopping experiences, where immediacy and customisation are paramount.

redk’s insights further emphasise the crucial role of AI in elevating these experiences. By analysing customer preferences and behaviours in real time, AI enables businesses to offer personalised recommendations and interactions that meet and exceed customer expectations. This seamless integration of AI into the shopping experience ensures that customers receive real-time solutions, suggestions, and support, building an efficient and personal customer experience. 

Trend 2: Voice Calls and Complex Customer Issues

Despite the rise of digital communication, voice remains a vital channel for resolving complex customer issues. Zendesk highlights that while digital channels are often the first point of contact, voice is crucial for deeper, more complex interactions. The personal and direct nature of voice calls is ideal for handling sensitive matters that require empathy and a nuanced understanding, which are often difficult to manage fully through automated systems.

41% of CX leaders plan to increase their budgets for phone support in 2024. – Zendesk CX Trends Report 2024 

Customers expect voice interactions to deliver nuanced and tailored support. Companies must strike a balance between digital-first strategies and consumer demand for voice options. Investing in enhancing voice channels with advanced AI tools and personalisation techniques is crucial for ensuring exceptional service delivery. Seamless integration between digital and voice channels is key, bolstering consumer confidence in digital channels while reducing the reliance on phone options. 

As voice channels continue to evolve, CX leaders must adopt a dual approach. They must leverage advanced technologies to enhance digital channels while nurturing agents’ soft skills to drive higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Trend 3: The Rise of Predictive Agent Management Tools

The evolution from traditional to predictive agent management tools marks a significant development in strategic customer service management. Zendesk identifies a trend towards investing in tools that enhance the ability to forecast staffing needs and manage customer service operations more effectively. These tools use data analytics to predict high-traffic periods and adjust staffing accordingly, which helps maintain service quality during peak times.

69% of CX leaders say that accurately forecasting future staffing requirements remains a significant challenge. – Zendesk CX Trends Report 2024 

redk’s report, How to Meet Evolving Customer Expectations with Artificial Intelligence, supports this shift, focusing on AI’s impact on agent productivity. Through the intelligent analysis of past interaction data, AI can identify patterns that help predict future customer service demands. This ensures optimal staffing levels and improves customer service teams’ overall efficiency and effectiveness.  Using AI in agent management tools represents a forward-thinking approach to CX, where decisions are data-driven and strategically aligned with customer expectations and business goals.

The insights from Zendesk and redk, when combined, offer a powerful blueprint for businesses looking to enhance their customer service operations and overall customer experience. By embracing the trends of immersive online experiences, AI-enhanced voice interactions, and predictive agent management, companies can meet the current needs of their customers and anticipate future demands.

Check out our blog post on another CX Trend: Data-driven customer experiences