CX trends to watch in 2024

Professor Steven van Belleghem shares the emerging technologies and trends to watch in customer experience

Professor Steven Van Belleghem



As we look forward into 2024, there is inevitably lots of excitement about emerging technologies and how they will transform the relationship between customers and brands. However, of course that doesn’t mean humans will be replaced – as some fear – but that the service they provide will be augmented when it comes to helping our customers.

As the world becomes more digital, human characteristics like empathy and managing complex emotional situations become more important. So what trends should we look out for in the coming year? 

Search 3.0 

In the early days of search engines, the likes of Yahoo and AltaVista were basically simple human-edited directories of websites, little more than a digital yellow pages. The next phase (Search 2.0) saw Google offer relevant information and links, through an algorithm called PageRank. Now, since the launch of ChatGPT, we have arrived at the fascinating phase of Search 3.0.

Where the former phase would show you relevant websites where you could go and look up what you wanted, you now get a relevant text, tailored to your question.

Put simply, if Yahoo gave you a library to find the right books and Google selected the right books for you, conversational bots such as ChatGPT will write a text especially for you based on all those relevant books.

Of course, this technology isn’t yet entirely reliable but the implications for the users are huge – customer facing teams augmented with this technology can react to customer wants and needs faster, and in the language of the customer. I believe it won’t be long until every search box on the internet will be GenAI based. 

Mass Personalization 

Social media and ecommerce giants have been personalizing content and communications for years now, but generative AI will allow every type of company to personalize their marketing and customer interactions, fast, at a large scale.

For example, the new ‘Recipe Scanner’ on the Albert Heijn app allows users to snap a photo of any recipe, and its generative AI technology adds the right products to a shopping list. Samsung Food similarly uses generative AI to create meal plans and build grocery lists, and Mengniu Diary, China’s leading dairy maker, to help consumers develop personalized meal and workout plans.

The true pioneers are already out there, but this will soon become a mainstream trend. 

Effective empathy 

Every company receives unexpected questions and feedback from customers. What separates the mediocre companies from the great ones is how fast they turn this feedback or ideas into action. The best companies understand and act on what their customers say, and in a timely manner – it is effective empathy.

The key to effective empathy is installing processes to turn feedback into action.

Professor Steven van Belleghem

The key to effective empathy is installing processes to turn feedback into action. Lego is a great example of a company that integrates customer feedback well. In 2008 Lego launched a crowdsourcing pilot that become Lego Ideas, a community of more than 2.8 million customers that has generated more than 135,000 ideas – as well as significant revenues. Not all customer ideas are commercialized, but those who have been receive 1% of the product’s top-line revenue which can actually amount to a life-changing sum. Popular ideas that are not selected as Lego products can also get a second chance through a crowdfunding program on BrickLink, a consumer-led channel that Lego acquired in 2019 

Is it time for AR’s big breakthrough? 

One of the events of 2024 many are already excited about is the launch of Apple’s Vision Pro. This is Apple’s “spatial reality” device capable of both virtual and augmented reality experiences. It will be pretty expensive, and therefore not a mass market product initially, but we have seen Apple use this strategy before – first build great hi-tech products, with excellent UX, allow third parties to create great services for these devices, then make it more affordable

Once AR technology really takes off it will have a huge impact on all things CX. It will no longer just be for entertainment and gaming, but will usher in an age of full transparency. Brands will no longer be able to hide badly constructed products or unsustainable practices. For instance, shopping wearing AR glasses could tell you that a certain “diet” cheese is actually full of chemicals and sugar and thus very unhealthy, or flag that clothes you like the look of are actually made from a non-renewable material that releases microplastics into the environment.

AR creates opportunities for fun, engaging customer experiences – but being able to realistically “try on” shoes or a dress could also make it more difficult to persuade a customer to buy a product unless it is just right.

This evolution could be challenging for brands, but I see it as an opportunity to develop products that are both higher quality and better for people and planet, as well as offering better CX. I love how Gucci and Sephora, for example, are already allowing users to try on products, enjoy a virtual makeover and share with friends – just imagine this when AR becomes nearly indistinguishable from real life.

Guest Author

Professor Steven Van Belleghem



Professor Steven Van Belleghem is on a mission to inspire companies to become more customer-centric. He believes in combining common sense, new technologies, an empathic human touch and taking social responsibility to win the hearts and business of customers over and over again. As well as being an entrepreneur and investor, Steven has delivered more than 1500 keynotes across 45 countries, shares ideas on with YouTube channel with more than 8million views, and lectures at Vlerick Business School and London Business School.

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