Improving Service in 2022 Requires Enhancing the Customer and Employee Experience

Between the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and the Great Resignation, it's certainly been a disruptive year. The old ways of business are no longer working, and customers and employees are demanding more. If you haven't been paying much attention to customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) in terms of service, you need to start because, increasingly, your competitors are. Eighty-four percent of businesses that work on improving CX increase their revenue, and companies that do better in customer experience outperform others by almost 80 percent.

Rather than the digital transformations on which we've focused in recent years, this next stage of transformation is based on human-centered technology initiatives that pertain to CX and EX. Companies are adopting technology-driven solutions to build stronger connections and relationships with their customers and employees.

Forrester predicts that in 2022, leading firms will unlock the creativity of their employees and surround them with intelligent technologies, such as automation and prediction engines that focus on outcomes, not just financial results.

Technology and the improved customer experience

Improving the customer experience in terms of service will be a huge focus for companies in 2022. Companies will spend more on technologies designed to improve CX and earn customers' trust.

Adding artificial intelligence, specifically natural language processing (NLP), to customer service chatbots means chatbots will better understand customers and predict an appropriate response faster. We'll see this in many areas of service. A large fast-food chain is already experimenting with automated drive-thru lanes that use voice recognition. We might also start seeing voice assistants offline, answering questions at the supermarket about where to find the salad dressing.

Many companies will combine self-service and AI bot-assisted channels with personalization in the next year. That will result in a better, more consistent experience from a service standpoint, more satisfied customers, and significantly improved operating efficiencies.


We'll see companies invest in learning more about their customers and using technology to accumulate, aggregate, and store data. Specifically, businesses are focusing on details such as which assets the customer has, their usage patterns, and anticipating when they might need service. That will allow companies to observe purchase patterns and history to develop closer relationships and deliver personalized service.

There are also new personalization opportunities, such as micro-moments or rapid selling opportunities, sometimes lasting only seconds, that can be highly profitable if companies can identify and act on them. A micro-moment is when someone reflexively turns to a smartphone or other device to learn, do, watch, or buy something. It';s an intent-rich opportunity because seven out of 10 consumers report buying in those moments, and 35 percent do so at least once a week.

Remote service

We'll see remote service delivery, such as being able to connect to a customer's refrigerator or other device and diagnose a problem, continue to improve. That's already the norm in some B2B use cases, such as heavy medical equipment like MRI and ultrasound machines.

In 2022, service and customer experience will continue evolving in other areas to which customers have gotten accustomed, such as mobile ordering, curbside pickup, and video chat.

Employee experience trends

It's a new ballgame in terms of the employee experience. Businesses are experiencing the highest amount of attrition ever. People's reasons for joining a company are ones we haven't seen before. Businesses will continue reinventing themselves in 2022 with new jobs, business models, and ways of working.

Only 48 percent of large organizations in the United States currently have an EX program. Forrester says that number will rise to 65 percent as executives see their employees quit in unprecedented numbers.

Forrester also says 10 percent of companies will be fully remote in 2022, 60 percent will be hybrid, and 30 percent will insist that all employees return to the office, but that last group will find their employees less interested in returning to the office. And it's easy to see why. A hybrid model provides employees with better work-life balance, more autonomy, and builds digital fluency—all of which not only improve the employee experience but can help increase productivity.

New ways of retaining employees

Gartner found that while 75 percent of leaders say they have a culture of flexibility, only 57 percent of employees agree. And although 75 percent say they incorporate employees in decision making, only 47 percent of employees agree.

We don't tend to think much about how much different the younger generations' experience is. Members of the younger generation have had, for their entire lives, phones more powerful than the computers the older generation used in college. We mandate what tech system they must use at the workplace without realizing that some employees actually change jobs because of that.

Elevating employee performance with immersive technology

While companies often think about compensation, benefits, vacation time, and 401Ks as ways to retain employees, creating opportunities for growth and development is just as important.

In 2022, more companies will enhance the employee experience by leveraging augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in areas like training and customer service. For instance, VR enables employees who would otherwise be subject to training in harsh, high-risk circumstances to learn in a more engaging and physically-safe environment. While the safety factor alone can be enough to justify investment in immersive technology, VR training has also shown to boost knowledge retention among employees.

Furthermore, AR can be used to drive employee performance in customer service. Using real-time visualizations and information, remote experts can easily assist customers in completing maintenance or repair tasks.

There will be many decisions to make regarding service in terms of CX and EX in 2022. Companies need to pay attention to trends so they are informed about what's critical in these changing times and can make the best choices about technology, customer experience, and the employee experience. The big takeaway? A great employee experience inevitability leads to a great customer experience.

Bill Donlan is executive vice president and leaders of digital customer experience at Capgemini Americas.