After an eventful 2020, brands will aim to dig deeper with customer experience as a way to attract and keep customers. Challenges that brands may face are developing ways of connecting with consumers who are searching for genuine brands and understanding consumers that are new to the digital world. Brands will look to strengthen the bond between the customer experience team and marketing team as they aim to give consumers memorable moments.
Given that the customer acquisition process is expensive compared to customer retention, brands will look to create loyalty amongst their customer base by creating long-lasting connections. With the effects of the pandemic, a lot of companies have reduced their marketing budgets. Customer acquisition has shifted towards looking for long-term customers compared with previous strategies. As 2021 unwraps, here are some customer experience trends that brands will keep an eye on.
1. CX is still the ultimate goal
According to statistics, customer experience will influence which brands consumers will support. Post the Covid pandemic, 59% of customers support companies depending on the customer experience. Another 38% still hold the same view they had before Covid; their loyalty to a brand is dependent on customer experience. Consumers have been critical about how brands ensured the safety of consumers during the pandemic.
Research shows that consumers don’t have faith in companies to provide a safe environment for consumers during the Covid-19 pandemic. 13% of consumers felt that retailers have done a good job in implementing Covid-19 safety protocols such as social distancing and sanitization. 6% of consumers have faith in travel companies. With these statistics, consumers are now more selective with the companies they engage with.
Brands have to implement consumer experience designs that will make consumers confident when interacting with that brand. In 2021, in order to attract and inspire loyalty amongst consumers, brands have to offer meaningful and streamlined experiences to consumers. In 2021, businesses will aim to implement a more connected customer experience on all aspects of the consumer life cycle.
2. Bridging the gap between offline and online
With the growth of technology, companies have had to focus on the digital and real world. For instance, digital retail shops are all redefining the meaning of digital business. In 2021, businesses will strive to close the gap between the analog and digital worlds. Businesses that had started providing their consumers with digital options because of the pandemic will not change. Consumers will expect more businesses to provide online options. With time, online options will be every consumer’s expectations. To enhance loyalty, businesses will have to provide an online experience for their consumers.
3. Insights by consumers will get more emotional
In 2021, it’s estimated that about 9% of Customer Intelligence allocation will be directed to emotion analytics. Emotions have always influenced the decisions human beings make. Businesses are using insights based on consumer emotions to comprehend the trends consumers are focusing on. Businesses will use tools such as social listening and AI-based text analytics to fully understand their consumer base.
4. Augmented reality will become a necessary tool for brands
Because of the effects of the pandemic, online shopping surged upwards. When it comes to online shopping, consumers want to understand and experience their options before making a purchase. With a smartphone, a consumer can have a digital experience when shopping for items thanks to Augmented Reality (AR). With AR, a consumer would know how a particular couch or mirror would fit in their home. According to research, brands that have AR have experienced a conversion rate of 90%.
5. Familiar experiences will require new consumers
Covid -19 protocols saw brands such as restaurants limit the number of consumers they let in. Social distancing had a great impact on consumer experience. Most consumers resorted to takeaways or having their meals delivered to their doorsteps. In 2021, these practices will continue. Familiar and usual experiences such as having a cup of coffee with a friend will require some pre-planning. Consumers will continue looking for an in-person customer experience. Dating sites, for example, got this right because you will hardly find a serious dating jet site without an in-person customer feature to provide a familiar experience.
6. Social impact will attract consumers
Businesses that are socially aware and show diversity and inclusion by how they operate, will win the hearts of consumers in 2021. Consumers will get attracted to brands that have values and financially invest in these values. In 2020, a lot of protests about social justice were staged particularly in the U. S. Businesses had a chance to demonstrate the values and social obligations. Brands promised to improve their hiring mechanisms and increase consumer interaction to promote inclusive and diverse CX. In 2021, consumers will get guided based on how brands respond to issues about justice, discrimination, and equality. Consumers will be looking to see if promises made by brands to promote diversity and inclusion have been implemented.
7. The relationship between marketing teams and the CX team will change
The relationship between these two teams will experience changes in 2021. Digital marketers have realized that it’s not all about driving consumers towards the brand’s website. They have realized that customer experience is the key to retaining consumers. 2021 will see the marketing team and CX team working together to grow the brand. Businesses that will rapidly and efficiently respond to consumer needs will reap a lot of benefits. Marketing and CX teams will join forces in monitoring consumer sentiments.
8. Personalization will be important
Personalization will be an important trend in 2021. Companies will look to provide consumers with a personalized experience. Consumers are looking for important information from businesses without having their personal information disclosed. 60% of consumers want businesses to offer personalized offers and discounts depending on prior purchases. Consumers want brands to listen to them and embrace them. Personalized CX will enhance the retention of consumers by building loyalty and trust.
9. Working from home is here to stay
What started as a short-term policy may become a norm for most companies. It means that a strong internet connection, cloud, and intelligent work management tools are a must if you want to have a flourishing and productive contact center. In 2020, cloud solutions gained popularity and this trend will continue to grow in 2021. With the growth of the 5G network, video streaming will be a game-changer for customer experience. Given the need for social distancing, agent workforces will interact with consumers through videos. The life journey of a consumer will get simpler. IVR (Interactive Voice Response) menus will enable consumers to access solutions from their homes.
10. The role of customer intelligence will change
The leadership of Customer Intelligence will shift their focus from a meaningful guide to crisis strategy. In 2020, consumer habits and patterns were unpredictable. Old business models couldn’t survive such unpredictability of consumer movements. CI will provide optimized insights gathered from real-time sources. These insights will help businesses keep up with constantly changing consumer needs.
As the year unwraps, businesses have a mandate to deliver on consumer experience. 2020 proved that it’s important for companies to stay aware of the changes in consumer desires and needs. Consumers have expectations, and they believe brands have to deliver on these expectations. Ideal CX designs understand the current positions of consumers and the needs they have. To stay ahead of the game, businesses must look for ways to enhance the consumer experience.
Author’s Bio: Sandra Manson is a passionate journalist who has been contributing to major media publications. She enjoys writing about human psychology and lifestyle, as well as the tech industry. Sandra also runs her blog datingjet.com where she covers topics of great interest in modern society.