Bruce Temkin, widely recognized as a customer experience visionary, has released his annual listing of customer experience trends to watch. Headlining the list for 2014 is Temkin's call to name 2014 "The Year of Empathy."

"As companies increasingly focus on customer experience in 2014, they will recognize that their organizations lack a deep understanding and appreciation for their customers," said Temkin, managing partner of Temkin Group. "In 2014, we'll hear more executives talking about the need to build 'empathy' for customers, making 'empathy' THE CX word for 2014."

Here are some additional highlights from Temkin's list of customer experience trends for 2014:

  • Renovation of voice-of-the-customer programs. Only one in five organizations has reached Temkin Group's two highest levels of VoC maturity. In 2014, many companies will scrap expensive and burdensome surveys, relying less on multiple-choice questions and more on text analytics of unstructured data.
  • More anticipatory service. As companies apply analytics to more deeply understand customers, they will develop more individualized customer experiences, including the routing of callers to the phone agents who are most likely to help them and proactively recovering from issues before customers complain.
  • Experience infused into product development. More companies will create products with customer experience embedded throughout the entire development process. Product teams will define usability requirements, set minimum experience thresholds for product launch, and design the entire service lifecycle.
  • Contact centers morph into relationship hubs. Driven by a shift in technology capabilities and consumer behavior, companies will refocus contact centers from handling individual calls to building customer loyalty.
  • Deeper appreciation of employee assets. Engaged employees are more than twice as likely to stay late at work if something needs to be done, help someone at work even if they're not asked, and do something that is good for the company even if it's not expected of them. We'll see more companies concentrate on employee engagement.
  • Mobile, mobile, mobile: retail-digital integration. Companies will increasingly integrate mobile with other channels, particularly focusing on combining desktop applications with mobile apps being used in physical stores.
  • CX certification accelerates CX education. The Customer Experience Professionals Association's newly launched Certified Customer Experience Professional, or CCXP, certification will spur demand for more CX training.

A blog post with a full listing of the 14 trends can be viewed at Customer Experience Matters, at ExperienceMatters.wordpress.com.

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