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Article 4 min read

Our top four CX trends for 2023

While we might be in an uncertain period, customer experience remains top of mind for companies across Europe and the UK. Discover the four major trends shaping CX in 2023.

By Matthias Goehler, EMEA CTO, Zendesk

Last updated August 30, 2023

If the last year taught us anything, it’s that we must stay flexible and agile in response to market conditions. From the ongoing effects of the pandemic to the war in Ukraine and cost of living crisis, 2022 saw customer service businesses rocked by new obstacles and challenges that forced them to evolve their customer experience (CX) approach to navigate the changing landscape.

Yet, while it would be wrong to predict plain sailing in 2023–The Bank of England is forecasting the longest recession in history, after all–we do expect to see some exciting new opportunities for companies to flourish in the year ahead. Here are our top four CX trends to watch…

Investing for efficiency

A recent survey of 42,000 businesses across Europe found that confidence for 2023 is at an historic low. However, when times are hard, doing things differently is even more important. And that means innovation should still be very much at the forefront of every company’s agenda.

In 2023, we expect businesses to still cautiously invest in new solutions. With resources limited, a priority will be to find tools that boost efficiency and improve workflows while also unlocking growth opportunities. Forward thinking companies will bring their customer service tools together in a way that ensures their CX operation drives growth rather than costs the business money.

Unifying data to drive better decision-making

With businesses increasingly seeing the value of data insights, 2023 will be the year the walls come down internally. With siloes removed, data will flow freely, and departments will share a singular view of everything from sales and marketing to new business. This, in turn, will enable them to make better informed decisions across a broad range of issues while also delivering a more personalised service to customers.

As for how they get to this point, we expect companies to increasingly turn to ready-to-run Software as a Service (SaaS) tools that enable them to reduce developer burden while maintaining options to tweak settings and roll out solutions that reflect the uniqueness of their business and their customers. Crucially, the most successful firms will be those that test and improve that SaaS offering more regularly by consulting the data they have.

Automating for better outcomes

Something has to give. In these competitive times, businesses are looking for enhanced output but without increasing headcount or overworking their current employees. The answer lies in automation, and we’re likely to see this technology enter a new era in 2023.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) isn’t 100 per cent perfect yet. However, the progress seen in recent years should make every business excited about its potential. Many companies are already using AI to react to market changes and provide recommendations and predictions. The next year will be about transitioning to the next stage where they use it proactively to get to know their customers better and work out what they want even before they ask. A key part of this is making sure the tone and functionality of AI tools are suited to the brand.

Moving towards conversational experiences

If online conversations with our friends and family can be free flowing, why should the ones we have with companies still be stilted, disjointed, and downright awkward? Answer: they shouldn’t, which is why we will see a growing move towards conversational CX in the year ahead. This will enable conversations between businesses and their customers to move seamlessly between channels.

As with AI, we’re already seeing some examples of conversational CX in action, including on social media. But this year, we can expect more immersive experiences that offer even better value for everyone involved. These include live shopping, which lets users interact with brands, influencers, and products in real time.

The rewards for getting it right are clear. According to the Zendesk CX Trends 2023, 70 per cent of customers spend more with brands that offer a seamless experience between all points of contact. No surprise then that 60 per cent of companies want (or are actively planning) to implement conversational customer service experiences.
Of course, many of the challenges that have beset businesses in 2022 are unlikely to disappear in the year ahead. Yet even with these headwinds, we’re confident that the next 12 months can still be a period of innovation and improvement.

Innovation and flexibility will help get us through the tougher times, and can bring companies and customers closer together as brands look to build stronger relationships in order to retain their existing customer base. The CX tools are available to help businesses reach new heights in 2023. The front runners are already making moves to use them.