Economic instability and increasing demands for better customer service have put pressure on companies to maintain customer loyalty. This requires fresh new engagements that can only come from innovating their customer experience (CX) strategies. At the same time, organizations need to adapt their business operations to meet their budget needs. Finding the right balance here is critical to positioning the business as a customer-minded market leader.

As businesses strive to go the extra mile for their customers, they will need to prove that they deeply understand the journeys of their customers and the issues they run into across multiple touchpoints. With that being said, here are some of the trends that will shape how businesses go about delighting customers in the coming year.

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Cutting out of the technological fat

Bloatware will be put under the financial microscope as organizations look to tighten their budgets for the year ahead. For IT, it means doing more with less and cutting out discretionary bloatware spend. For this reason, CIOs are reviewing their app inventory and determining which can be maintained and which should be retired altogether.

In addition to a drain on financial resources, bloatware burdens employees with unnecessary complexity. As a consequence, employee efficiency and productivity is hindered, with their attention diverted away from bringing value to the business. Bloatware also slows down workloads and is inflexible, which only serves to make employees frustrated and lose motivation. By removing complexity, employees will be empowered to discover, engage with, and realize value from their application stack and better engage with customers.

Bots will become a part of the workforce

The past year saw companies downsize their workforce to balance their books. In 2023, we could see these vacancies filled by bots to assist human workers in the most routine tasks. Organizations that can leverage their bot workforce effectively can reduce operational costs as well as human error. This trend will mostly involve understaffed companies, but gradually, more companies will join in to increase their operational efficiency.

Driving software development with low-code automation

A report by NTUC LearningHub found that 84 percent of business leaders agreed that there is a rising demand for basic coding skills. Simultaneously, 89 percent also said that there is a shortage of coding talents to some degree. Rising employment costs also complicate matters, as new developers could potentially strain company budgets. This is where low-code app development comes into play, delivering modern, secure and scalable solutions that allow businesses to meet customer demands.

AI-powered low-code development platforms automatically generate their own software coding, which enables workers with basic technical knowledge to collaborate and create their own apps. Simultaneously, it can provide impetus for company upskilling and reskilling initiatives that can bridge talent gaps. By cutting down developmental time and costs — that also reduces errors — low-code app development will likely become a mainstay of business operations in 2023.

Review first, deal later

Increased budget scrutiny has led to organizations being on the lookout for affordable long-term offers to secure the right solutions for their business. During this process, organizations are in a prime position to review their current tech subscriptions. As a result, organizations can identify what elements of their tech stack bring value — and, therefore, should be retained — and which can be replaced with better alternatives.

TikTok users will evolve CX strategies

TikTok is an emerging social media platform among Gen Z users in Singapore. A report by DataReportal finds that there are 1.83 million TikTok users aged 18 and above in Singapore, which accounts for 30.8 percent of the total population. The same report also finds that TikTok is the sixth most-used social media platform, capturing 44.3 percent of Internet users aged between 16 to 64. This presents organizations with a unique opportunity to adapt their customer engagement strategies to meet Gen Z users at their preferred touchpoints. The use of sound and video in customer support will enable TikTok users to send audiovisual information about the issues they are having. This will allow support agents to better assist their customers, which in turn, forms an impression of the brand being customer-centric.

The need for speed in CX

Customers are demanding to have their needs met quickly, with our report finding that 61 percent of Southeast Asian CX decision-makers felt this way. The coming year will see customers favor services that can be delivered in seconds, rather than minutes. Simultaneously, customers will also avoid interacting with self-service tools, prompting organizations to invest in time-saving solutions such as agent assist tools, robotic process automation (RPA) and dynamic canned responses.

Know your customer with artificial intelligence (AI)

It is no longer enough for organizations to deliver strong customer service. They must also ensure that their CX strategies can relate with customers’ needs. By integrating AI into real-time chat, SMS and Whatsapp messaging platforms, agents can gain context from previous interactions to create smarter feedback and help customers along their unique journeys. Besides that, AI-powered surveys will also reshape the way organizations understand their customers by framing questions based on information on customer purchases and responses. This way, organizations will be able to gain deeper insights and align their offerings to meet customers’ expectations.

The article titled “How 2023 will transform the way companies interact with customers” was contributed by Simon Ma, Director & Regional Manager, ASEAN at Freshworks

About the author

Simon Ma, Managing Director, ASEAN HK TW, Freshworks is a resolute and goal-focused Sales Management Leader with 12 years of success in driving growth in sales and revenue by effectively managing customer relations and acquisition of new accounts. Prior to the appointment, Simon was the Regional Sales Director for ServiceNow where he was responsible for hiring, coaching, and overseeing business growth across Southeast Asia. Possessing exceptional organizational and leadership abilities, Ma excelled at structuring effective sales teams to close negotiations for large, multi-year contracts. His tenure was marked by impressive growth in new large enterprise business in the region.