2014 Guest Experience Predictions Revisited

At the end of 2013, BrandLove aggregated views from 10 customer (guest) experience minds from around the globe to create a free downloadable 2014 eBook. I read through the content when it first came out, which included about 151 predictions, and have done so each month to see which have been sustainable. After eight months of watching patterns, I would like to mention 16 predictions that are seeing great advancement:

  1. Mobile, mobile, mobile - Guests are drifting from desktops to mobile devices and looking for an easy-to-use remarkable customer-centric UX.
  2. Employees rule - They are voicing what they see inside and outside the organization, and the best companies provide many ways for them to make suggestions, feedback, and to feel heard. The employees deliver the experience to the guest. Delivering a remarkable experience to the employee matters. Delight the guest through engaged employees.
  3. Offline meets online - The lines must be blurred as they are now interdependent and often used at the same time. A rise in the quality and accessibility to the multiscreen experience as well as seeing technology being adopted for experience improvement is surging.
  4. Guests expect brands to provide more - Going beyond what guests expect to surprise and delight them has become the new standard. Think of more anticipatory service.
  5. Brands that respond fast in social media world winForget a 24-hour response window. Our social media world almost demands immediate responses.
  6. Guest experiences will see a reinvention - What was once unique isn't. A rediscovery of purpose will influence this reinvention.
  7. Photo sharing and visual story telling are king - Visual content both entertains and educates, and organizations must understand how consumers use content.
  8. Guests own the brandEvery fan wears a PR and marketing hat. Think relationships not transactions.
  9. Guest strategy - Brands must implement a culture of total guest focus across the entire organization and not in just a department . Think cultural not departmental.
  10. Need for high touchWe live in a mobility world, but there is still a deep need for human touch, especially in situations where frustration exists.
  11. Don't treat every guest the same, treat every guest fairly - Brands will look for the vital few and not give equal effort and time to just anyone.
  12. Small is going to be the new big - Microinteractions are those small moments that if not done well can break an experience.
  13. If you fake it, everyone will know it - Guests want a two-way chat and not a monologue with brands leveraging their platform to tell them about something. Authentically care and talk with followers.
  14. Guest engagement and social listening are critical - Brands must build a prominent social presence to truly understand, inspire, and connect with their fans. Empathy is rising as a critical asset.
  15. Guest journey mapping - Spending time detailing the arc of engagement matters, especially if a brand has increased tough points, which creates increased complexity and the all the more need for a mapping tool - software helps this process.
  16. Humor will win, except when it's not funny - Brands using timely humor are fun, authentic, light-hearted, and human. When humor is used well, it can create endearment.