Today’s digital experiences place too much cognitive load on the consumer. Why? Because the success of websites is measured based on feature parity along with the ability to navigate a composite of services meant to do all things for all people. Business metrics for these same experiences are tied to revenue or self-service rather than meeting customer needs or delivering outcomes. As a result, today’s digital experiences fall short on offering consumers as much convenience as they could.

We see two major steps forward in digital experiences:

  • Natural language. Forrester believes that digital experiences will involve the use of natural language, whether in chat, voice, or other more visual digital experiences. Conversational interfaces will not be the focus of our research.
  • Anticipation of customer needs. Consumers will not only expect experiences that are highly contextual and rightsized, but they will expect brands to tee up just the information or service they need on a journey toward acting on behalf of consumers in some cases.

Some believe that a single virtual assistant will emerge from a host of voice assistants already in the market. Others believe brands will act individually to create the very best (or most convenient) services for their customers whom they know best. While the former may happen for device- or platform-centric scenarios, the latter will be essential to brands exceeding consumer expectations for convenience.

Firms need to lift the cognitive load from consumers by doing more to streamline processes and anticipate their needs within the context of digital experiences. Our research on this topic will explore the underlying technologies, capabilities, processes, and context to help you do that. And more specifically, this research intends to look outside of marketing applications or technology designed purposefully to drive the next purchase. While pure marketing use cases are not in scope, driving customer engagement is in scope.

If you believe your firm anticipates customer needs today, I’d love to learn from you and add your expertise to our body of best practices. If you are a solution provider that enables firms to anticipate customer needs, I’d be interested to know where you play in the overall chain of events or ecosystem. Please get in touch with me at