CX Trends To Watch For in 2023

Izzy Neis

2023 hath arrived!

Happy January. Now that we’re fully on board with this bright and shiny new year, it’s time to share some CX predictions based on what we’re seeing with clients, customers, communities, and the industry. 

1. Customers Are the Influencers Du Jour

We had celebrities before influencers. A few years ago we saw influencers categorized with terms like macro, micro, and nano. In 2023… your peers have the power! 

With the popularity of short form video and the joy found in FYP discovery, we’re seeing the rise of “the peer”. There’s a beautiful pride that comes with discovering a new product, hack, etc., and with the growth of TikTok and Reels (and Shorts too, for that matter), we’re seeing room for MORE everyday people becoming bona fide content creators – and therefore a lot less polish in video creation. We’ve said for years that authenticity matters, and if you want to share recommendations, tips, or advice – it needs to be real. If you’re going to get advice or recommendations, you’re going to look to your friends, family, neighbors, and people who look the part of a trustworthy helper.

Anything that feels “sponsored” or marketed feels forced. This brings the power of voice back to REAL people – customers helping other customers.

2. Platforms Fight For Your Time 

The undulating promise of content “length” – either shorter or longer – continues. Twitter will move forward with insanely long posts, YouTube’s saluting their Shorts, TikTok balances between their bite sized Toks and lengthier options, and Instagram continues to move Reels forward to compete.

Short form video continues to rule for a myriad of reasons, but the opportunity to offer a deeper dive, a longer-wind, a greater pedestal WITHOUT forcing followers to jump platforms to carry the conversation is key for creators. We’ve seen it for the last two years… People use Twitter to provide fast insights or opinions, they then move to Instagram and TikTok for their short form “personal take”, before moving to YouTube, blogs, or Patreon for a full-context video. With Twitter offering thousands more characters (as soon as February), YouTube embracing both short form and long form video content, Instagram leaning into Reels from Stories, and TikTok experimenting with different length options, content won’t be segregated. “Sharing” cross-platform experiences is not the ideal roadmap for platforms who want to maintain content and followers exclusively. 

3. AI Alone Isn’t Enough 

Truth time: We’ve been working with Artificial Intelligence technology in moderation for years. It’s been a blessing for scaling moderation programs, providing tier 0 support, categorizing content, and smart queue development. But AI does not do it all. 

AI technology cannot read text-based, long-form grooming or understand implied context. AI can identify a knife, but struggles to differentiate whether the knife is cutting a cake versus cutting skin. It also struggles with words, because AI is “not there yet” when it comes to understanding intent from text or verbal communication.

And that explains why it is not successful when applied to user reports or complaints. AI technology needs ongoing training (crowdsourcing a response to new content takes time to justify action). 

The importance of proactive human involvement in moderation has become abundantly clear with certain short-form video platforms. Content creators will tell you immediately about the pitfalls of automated moderation. It’s the autoban problem. Every single day content is flagged and accounts are banned for the wrong reasons. The outcome is – both the Creator and the Platform (YouTube, TikTok, Insta or whatever comes next) lose out on revenue.

Side note: Have you played with ChatGPT yet? We’re going to have to take a real look at authentic content vs automatic content. Is there an artistic soul in the tech-contrived? Professors everywhere have their work cut out for them in trumping the scholastic misuse of that tool.

4. Grown-ups Are Doing The Metaverse Wrong: The Kids Have It Right 

During the height of the pandemic, we saw the public embrace virtual togetherness. From Zoom parties to virtual movie screenings, people embraced creative tech to connect. 

The Metaverse promises an array of opportunities to connect (a free-for-all fantasy world where the sky’s the limit). Thanks to adult-skewing platforms like Meta, the code hasn’t necessarily been cracked – they’re not popular, they’re not crossing into “norm” society yet. But let’s talk about kids’ worlds for a moment. Did you know that Elton John and Mariah Carey both had successful virtual concerts in Roblox. YES, ROBLOX. Twenty One Pilots not only performed in Roblox, they also had a virtual experience in the form of a scavenger hunt. Fortnite has had artists lining up to perform (will Kid Laroi be the next to headline this month? The teens are talking).

Why is this such a big deal? If you make high-profile experiences the “norm” for the Alpha generation it will transition into pop culture. Roblox, Fortnite, and Minecraft have found a beautiful way to blend “togetherness” with purpose. They lean on a successful social gaming environment to broaden activities beyond combat and puzzles, and highlight aspirational opportunities through real world investment (real world fashion, celebrity, etc). 

Creativity is just amping up as this promises to be a really strong year for virtual experiences. For those seeking to inspire connectivity in the virtual worlds targeted at adults, take a gander at what’s happening in Roblox, Fortnite, etc. It’s really cool. World Of Warcraft, what sayest thou? Perhaps it’s time for concerts?

5. Greater Expectations for Elevated Customer Care

People want their problems solved fast and easy. This is why chat, self-service tools, and FAQs are always so important. That said, there’s a renewed drive for thoughtful customer resolution and investment. 

With the economic headwinds compelling businesses to trim down costs, meeting key customer expectations is not a cakewalk. Thoughtful spending on customer support is critical. Customers want a helpful tone of voice, CS rep role modeling, thoughtful recommendations, and maybe even a dash of Surprise & Delight (psst: remember what we were saying above about customers being this year’s key influencers? Yes, the peer influencer could be anyone).

If it’s an easy problem, people are thrilled to use the fastest approach to customer service and resolution – nothing new there! But if there’s any hint of complication or unhappiness, we’re seeing a desire for a high-touch, human interaction. Remember: the feeling of luxury can be conveyed through authentic acknowledgement for customers, particularly when they’re having a rough day. 

In 2023, people feel their worth and power as a customer. The companies who decrease frustration with quality responses and increase engagement with better experiences will be the companies who grow retention – invest in the experience. It will be expected.