Top Predictions & Trends for CX & EX Leaders—From Our Experts
We recently sat down with our Sr. Strategy Director, Ross A. McIntyre, and our Managing Director of Northeast, Chris Baker, to get their take on what to expect in 2024, including the biggest trends, challenges, and opportunities that will shape CX and EX. From the impact of GenAI to advancements in personalization to what’s in store in the startup landscape, we anticipate a year of exciting transformation.
What is the “one big thing” in store for CX/EX next year?
Ross A. McIntyre (RM): Disruption. New applications of GenAI will have ramifications that cascade across those who consume digital experiences and those who create them—no business unit will escape the reverberations.
Chris Baker (CB): The landscape is on the brink of a transformative shift akin to how Google changed the way we consume information. GenAI assistants, exemplified by innovations like Humane, are poised to be the next disruptive force. For CX and marketing teams, the imminent “big thing” lies in understanding where and how to discover new customers, build awareness, and foster loyalty, especially when traditional channels that have been historical mainstays face disruption from GenAI.
What will be the charter for CX and EX in 2024?
RM: People-centric and AI-smart CX and EX design—including people, processes, and tools—will define the winners of 2024. Even though user-centricity is not new, next year it will come to the fore. Understanding and empathizing with user needs and pain points must become the standard practice.
CB: Building the foundation for AI to be a success. The first crucial step in harnessing the potential of GenAI in CX and EX is the establishment of robust foundational data strategies and pipelines. Organizations need to invest in creating a data infrastructure capable of feeding into advanced AI models. This foundational groundwork is comparable to laying the tracks before a high-speed train can race forward.
What should CX leaders invest in (or de-prioritize) for 2024?
RM: “Digital Transformation” is quite the industry buzzword. But, if you haven’t completed your so-called digital transformation yet, don’t shell out massive amounts of cash for an outdated concept. Consider investing instead in a comprehensive AI strategy that encompasses some of the value of digital transformation, but focuses mainly on the horizontal application of AI across your organization.
CB: In 2024, leaders must pivot from the era of “free money” and reconsider reliance on SaaS tools for innovation. Massive layoffs at SaaS companies signal potential risks and limitations. Focus on evaluating the sustainability and security of the SaaS model to inform future tech investment decisions in the evolving business landscape.
In what new ways will organizations tailor experiences to customers?
RM: Expect organizations to start looking seriously at emotional personalization. This is dynamic personalization that changes the experience according to emotional needs, which may be informed by more advanced and pervasive biometric analysis. Story and narrative will become a new axis for evaluating quality. Additionally, we’ll see tactics like real-time personalization, predictive personalization, and contextual personalization come to the forefront.
What is one mistake that CX and EX leaders should avoid?
RM: Don’t treat gap analysis as an insult. Working with third-party partners to assess or collaborate with aspects of your organization may highlight some things that you haven’t previously considered or reveal inadequacies in research. When a partner finds that some of your data may be insufficient, biased, or has blind spots, don’t be offended—they are trying to help you identify and close gaps so you can offer the best CX or EX possible.
CB: Rushing into GenAI-powered product innovation. Getting to a minimum viable product (MVP) will drastically change in a GenAI world. Compliance and other concerns are still far from resolved in the enterprise, and organizations are going to have to balance the pace of change that’s possible with GenAI while remaining comfortable and ethical.
Chris, you’re coming to us with a unique perspective as an investor and entrepreneur. Talk a little bit about what you think is in store for startups in the coming year.
CB: Private equity will play an increasingly influential role in the economy, and startup leaders, especially those in CX roles, must align their initiatives with the motivations and mindsets of private equity ownership. Shifting the focus from today's bottom line to tomorrow's will be crucial for strategic decision-making.
The zeitgeist has shifted—investors want companies that aren’t just growing, but are also making money. Factors such as rising interest rates and commercial lending rates reaching double digits have reshaped the financial climate. Money is scarce, and cautious investors favor profitability over the "growth at all costs" mentality of years past. The outcome of this is going to be a flight to quality. The companies that are profitable and are scaling successfully, are going to be the ones that succeed.
Any other predictions or parting thoughts you’d like to share?
RM: Expect considerable strides towards artificial general intelligence as models become more facile with broad amounts of data and, hence, become more useful to society. Conversely, expect a boom in highly-specialized LLMs that will seek to capture domain expertise and the nuance and subtlety possessed by human SMEs.
It’s clear that the CX and EX landscapes are brimming with change for the year ahead. GenAI will continue to take center stage, shaking up customer experiences and challenging the status quo. Success will hinge on adapting to technological shifts, understanding customer dynamics, navigating regulations, and closing crucial data gaps. The organizations that embrace innovation, responsibility, and an unwavering commitment to top-notch customer and employee experiences will prevail.
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