A new year… fresh opportunities, a sense of optimism, and a chance to regroup, and reset priorities. We could do this any time of year, but there’s something about the Australian summer that means we seem to draw a clear and fresh line in the sand – pardon the pun!
As 2019 kicks off, it’s worth thinking about what lies ahead for our organisations, our customers, and our staff. As leaders in customer experience design in Queensland, 3rdView has looked at the trends in our community, and have identified three that we think will shape the customer experience landscape in 2019. Are you ready?
1. Declaring War on Waste
It’s a couple of years since the ABC and Craig Reucassel first declared a War on Waste in Australia. Since then, we’ve seen a massive shift in public awareness and commitment to reducing waste and recycling. Across the country ‘Keep Cups’ and reusable water bottles have become the norm, while in Queensland we’ve successfully implemented a single-use plastic bag ban and container refund scheme.
We expect this focus on physical waste to shift towards services in 2019. Consumers are more conscious and critical of the resources used to deliver services, and will expect businesses to simplify, and remove or refine unnecessary processes.
For example, consumers and staff will challenge the need to complete forms, attend branches, and wait in queues, particularly for seemingly transactional activities. Consumers regularly complain about this issue in public services, financial institutions, utilities and large corporates, and in 2019 smaller organisations will start to feel the impact. Customers will be demanding that organisations think about their customers and staff, and find ways to reduce or remove activities that waste time, money or resources.
Ultimately, the service ‘War on Waste’ will have a hugely positive impact on the efficiency and stress levels of organisations, customers, and staff, which will free up time for our next prediction…
2. Increasing Humanity
Take a moment to observe people going about their daily lives. Our attachment to all things digital has increased exponentially in recent years and organisations such as Queensland Government are pushing ‘Digital1st’ to improve efficiency. We’re more connected than ever, yet becoming increasingly isolated as the ‘human’ aspects of experiences are stripped away in favour of digital and artificial intelligence. As a result, we’re starting to crave and seek out humanity and connection in our community – the rise in activities such as parkrun in 2018 is a great example of this.
In 2019 organisations will carefully consider the moments where a human element will add value. Staff will be redirected from transactional activities to activities that help and connect people and enrich experiences. These may be small moments that complement a digital approach and deliver maximum human impact.
Customers will value the opportunity to reach out to another human when they feel confused or vulnerable. This will be particularly important during major decisions such as buying a house, buying a car, accessing aged care, health or education services. On a smaller scale, the human interactions already prevalent in our daily lives can’t be lost… the barista, the bus driver, the receptionist.
On a personal note, bringing a little more ‘humanity’ into every day is something we can all do. Put your device away, look up, and smile! Queensland will be better for it!
3. Mental Health and Wellbeing
Mental health and wellbeing has become a part of everyday conversation in Australia. We’ve come to recognise that mental health is as important as physical health, and have seen a rise in open conversation about the impact of mental illness, and the need to cultivate mental wellbeing and psychological safety. Recently in Queensland we’ve heard about the impact of drought in rural communities and the financial downturn, while bullying in our schools led to the Anti-Cyberbullying Taskforce.
In 2019 we expect the need to empathise and consider the wellbeing of customers and staff will become more prominent. Customers will expect empathy, and be less accepting of people, processes and systems that have a negative impact on their wellbeing. People will look for the experiences that have been designed with a positive frame, to help people understand and do the right thing.
Customers will expect help to navigate health care, utilities, and financial systems to ensure that they make sound decisions, first time. Feedback systems will need to be more welcoming and productive, and any processes that result in customer uncertainty or vulnerability will need to be re-thought.
Considering customer wellbeing and reducing stress in services experiences won’t necessarily be visible on its own, but we will see long-term benefits of more relaxed and tolerant workplaces and communities.
It will be interesting to see where Queensland heads in 2019. Regardless of the business you’re in, products and services that are well-designed and incorporate regular feedback will stand out from the crowd. Human-centred Design, and a focus on customer experience, will help you respond to the challenge!