Top 10 Customer Experience Trends To Watch Out For In 2021
Blog: MattsenKumar Blog
The IT Veteran and once the richest man on the planet, Bill Gates says “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”. Another stalwart, Jeff Bezos refers to customer experience as a part of the product design. The richest men on the planet, who grew their business from scratch to trillion dollars with customer-centric products & services are perhaps the best people to learn CX from.
Now that it is a fact that customer experience is the key to building successful businesses and brand loyalty, we must keep an eye on the changing faces of customer experience. With e-commerce players leading the changing face of customer experience, the old tricks are no more impactful. Some of the most successful CX weapons have lost their luster and now it is time to look for new laser-targeted weapons to achieve goals.
Insightful Customer Experience Statistics
These statistics gather and represent the essence of customer experience and how it is a non-negotiable for users.
- 45.9% of users are likely to prefer brands that offer a better experience while 20.5% will go with better pricing.
- In 2020, 86% of participants from a study agreed to pay more for a better customer experience.
- 42% of businesses are investing in CX to improve cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.
- 88% of organizations are prioritizing CX at their contact centers.
- Omnichannel expenditure has increased by 25% in the last decade to ensure a quality experience
Top Customer Experience Trends 2021 to Focus On
In 2021, enterprises will be aiming to achieve, what they planned to achieve in 2020 along with revised goals for 2021. To attain break-through achievement and record sales, organizations will have to go to a new extent to impress and retain users. Pricing and product will continue to matter but CX will be the key differentiator. The immaculate experience will separate quality companies from the crowd.
Every key stakeholder should keep these 2021 customer experience trends in mind when creating products or revamping their customer journey.
1. COVID-19 Impact will drive Innovations
Earlier, organizations were in a fix of offering the best experience today, they are fighting to offer the best experience while maintaining social distance. The hospitality industry is leading by example, they are leveraging sanitization showers to ensure every guest is sanitized properly before entering the premises.
Similarly, e-commerce players are ensuring that all “fulfilled by marketplace” products are sanitized before they are packed. Players like Amazon have restricted the “cash on delivery” facility to reduce human contact. Contact centers are also leveraging remote working as a tool to keep their employees safe while offering customers solutions at the earliest.
2. Customer Intelligence Will Find its Way in Board Meetings
2020 was a volatile year, consumers were equally confused. The uncertainty about jobs and the future coaxed many into canceling subscriptions and revisiting their priorities. SaaS businesses suffered heavy losses in countries like Japan because unemployment increased.
Customer intelligence has been around for quite some time but no one paid heed to it but going forward, organizations would love to see “how customers think” before making decisions for them. CMOs are likely to gain the most with these CI tools and professionals becoming mainstream.
With CI, organizations will be able to tap into the continuously changing priorities of customers. The technology will help enterprises reduce volatility induced by changing the customer’s perspective.
3. Contact Centers Will Become Centers of Excellence
Virtual contact centers are perhaps the most repeated words in board meetings. In 2020, virtual contact centers were live saver for new businesses and also for organizations that failed to move their employees to remote working.
In 2021, virtual contact centers will become the center of excellence and they will be leveraged to offer the best customer experience to every end-user. Virtual centers are generally run and managed by industry leaders that are well-versed the compliance norms and CX factors. With these centers, organizations can have enough time to focus on scaling businesses.
4. An Online & Offline Hybrid Model
Well, this was coming but COVID has fast-tracked the adoption of the hybrid model of serving customers by organizations. In normal circumstances, customers would have written off a hybrid solution by calling it just another experiment. In the post-COVID world, where people understand the impact of service disruption, hybrid models have gained importance. People are more likely to order products online and pick them up on their own if it is on their way instead of waiting to get it delivered.
Customers are likely to do vice versa too, where they book products offline and get them delivered to their addresses while tracking them online. The hybrid will get incorporated in contact centers too and it will offer a seamless experience to all end users.
5. Emergency Response System
Businesses have learned their lesson, they just wished, it didn’t come through a pandemic. Organizations are now establishing systems through which customer requests can be prioritized based on emergency. If any customer’s problem is bigger than the other, they will get preference over others.
The industry veterans are beating the bush to come up with one such system that solves the problem but in the meanwhile social media is being used as a channel for emergency response. Varied organizations have leveraged AI and ML to identify emergency orders during a pandemic and have delivered them first.
For example, varied e-commerce players put their other orders on hold to deliver medicines first. Essential supplies like ration and medication were delivered first followed by other products. One such system will make customers stick no matter the price.
6. Loyalty to Brands that displayed their “Human” Side
Not really something businesses can go back in time and amend but CX trends in 2021 will be dominated by emotions customers experienced during a pandemic. Varied organizations came forward, donated, and wrote off monthly bills, people are likely to stick with them in near future.
Loyalty is something that is driven by emotions and COVID was certainly an emotional moment for many. Now that the world is going back to normal with vaccination, user experience is likely to reflect in user-behavior.
7. Robotic Process Automation will improve Efficiency
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology that would enable the automation of repetitive tasks to improve efficiency and lower costs. The automation of monotonous tasks would allow more time for the contact center agents and other human resources to engage in other important tasks like innovation, strategy, planning, and connecting with the customers.
The biggest advantage of using RPA tools is their ability to customize as per the exact needs and requirements of the clients. This can range from automated voice response, email response to chats. During the coming year, almost every contact center would opt for it as it is cost-effective, fast, and can even handle customer queries instantly. Along with this, it will also help in improving the First Call Resolution (FCR) and Average Handle Time (AHT) score of the contact center.
8. Chatbots will become Smarter
Till today, chatbots were being leveraged to answer frequently asked questions. With the new technology that works to improve product discovery and assists with smart searches on online stores, organizations can help customers with laser-targeted results.
E-commerce stores are already using technology, which helps customers find the right product within seconds. With businesses and communities leveraging this state-of-the-art technology, customer retention is likely to increase.
Chatbots will reduce pressure on contact center agents and also provide organizations with the requisite time and budget to expand in the right direction. Artificial Intelligence is making all such changes possible. Chatbots have been around for a decade now but now their time has come and they are likely to transform businesses.
9. Organizations Will Initiate Conversations with Customers
When COVID-induced lockdown came into effect, businesses were struggling to help customers with their queries. E-commerce packages were stuck, product servicing was perturbed and whatnot. Businesses have taken their lesson and are now building channels and communities to ensure two-way effective communication.
Some organizations aced the pandemic because they had a communication system in place, the ones that didn’t have suffered and now they are making amends. E-commerce players were quick to reach out to both governments as well as customers. With customers, were sympathetic and ensured that their services will resume soon while with the government these marketplaces negotiated and reached a consensus to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
10. Premium Services for Enthusiasts
To build on the increasing importance of customer experience, businesses are expected to launch premium services for enthusiasts and loyalists. These premium services will cater to customers who are willing to pay extra for a quality experience.
This is just another way through which enterprises will be looking forward to making quality experience self-funded. 40% of the premium user base can pay for CX innovations, which will impact brand reputation and adoption positively.
For a meagre price, customers will get priority response from agents and community benefits. Fintech start-up PayTM has a similar program for Indian users named PayTM First, the organization is also willing to launch a similar program for its Japanese subsidiary.
Final Thoughts on Customer Experience Trends 2021
From organizations changing the paradigm to suit customer experience to building businesses around customer experience, the world has come a long way. The CX adoption curve was expected to mature by 2025 but the pandemic has fast-tracked it. With more and more users wanting a better and improved experience, organizations cannot ignore it anymore.
The top 10 customer experience trends mentioned here are likely to rule in 2021. How well organizations can monetize these trends will decide the next CX leader in every genre.
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