“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs
This quote sums it all about the value of customer experience for businesses.
Unless you are willing to go all out, you cannot expect customers to stay and remain loyal. When it comes to creating great experiences, you have to think beyond quality products and services. The way you communicate with them is equally (read: sometimes even more) vital, so you must see messaging as a core element of CX now and forever.
In 2021, brands will have to go a step further with CX and messaging to attract and retain customers and boost loyalty in the post-pandemic era. The challenges are immense—you need to understand the expectations of the digital consumers and ensure empathy in your messaging to connect with them as they look for authentic brands. Additionally, you will also have to stay a step ahead of the CX trends that are prevailing this year.
Let us highlight the ones that are making it big in the business communication landscape in 2021.
Consumers are interacting with brands via private messaging
Winning the CX game this year will be all about having more messaging channels added to your overall strategy. Since consumers spent a lot of time indoors last year, their habits and mindsets have changed. The popularity of global messaging apps makes the opportunity only bigger for brands.
For example, Messenger gets 1.3bn active users every month, so it makes sense for a business to be available and accessible on this channel. It is easy to leverage this trend if you invest in digital solutions that make these messaging channels a part of the buyer journey.
CX will matter more than quality and price
According to Walker’s customer insight report, customer experience is all set to become the most critical brand differentiator in 2021. So, you can expect it to become far more important than factors like the quality and price of products.
The best approach would be to invest in CX that matches their expectations, and you can stay a step ahead by keeping track of data. You can leverage data to understand your audience and create exceptional relationships with contextual messaging. The idea is to reduce clicks and bring empathy in interactions as you connect and converse with them.
Automation will be the lifeline of CX
Empathy in messaging is crucial right now. But automation will be the lifeline of future CX strategy. While you must have private messaging platforms up and running, it is vital to find the channel that suits your customers’ expectations perfectly.
Applying automation is the best approach as it lets bots take over the messaging bit, making it more cost-effective and prompter.
The best thing about automation at this point is that you can depend on advanced AI technologies to ensure that the interactions are as good as conversations with human agents. Similarly, you can use self-service within messaging as it is far more preferable than a live contact from a customer’s perspective.
The digital shift will continue to accelerate
The pandemic year witnessed a mass-scale transition to digital formats, more out of necessity than choice. People were forced to stay indoors, and businesses had to switch to remote operations.
The ones that only relied on in-person meetings with clients had to be available via cloud-based contact centres. Even as the virus gets under control with vaccines, the changed consumer behaviours and expectations are here to stay.
Brands will have to keep pace with the demand for digital CX excellence, which is only possible by going the extra mile to adapt to the digital shift. Mature businesses will proactively intervene during interactions to address issues even before they happen.
Voice will be a key channel
While digital messaging solutions emerge as a winning CX element, voice calls continue to dominate the space. They are vital for cases that need a high degree of interactive problem-solving and human empathy.
For example, a customer wants to downgrade a subscription because of pay cuts or job loss. The best way to respond is by lending a sympathetic ear and recommending options that will work for them, which is only possible when a human agent is on the other end.
Contact centres need a smart mix of service automation and human agents on the case-basis. While self-service chatbots can handle repetitive, routine cases, agents should pick the ones that need complex, empathetic treatment.
Personalisation will be the CX differentiator
Like always, personalisation will be the CX differentiator in 2021. In fact, businesses will need to take it a bit more seriously during this crisis.
Meeting customer expectations should be your top agenda. The idea is to provide relevant and valuable information with every single message and interaction. Customers look forward to a proactive outreach from the CX team, even without having to share a lot of personal information.
They also expect businesses to send personalised offers based on their preferences and shopping history. Thankfully, businesses can leverage data and CRM tools to understand the product and communication preferences of the consumers to tailor the conversations and outreach accordingly.
Businesses will have to align with the long-term COVID-19 impact
Another CX and messaging trend that you cannot ignore in 2021 is the alignment of your brand’s interactions with the long-term impact of the pandemic.
COVID-19 played the role of a catalyst, inducing brands to focus more on CX and putting the customer first. But you cannot afford to slow down with the initiative now, as keeping the momentum is the only way to align with the long-term impact. Businesses that want to stay ahead must integrate the customer’s needs within their processes and strategy for the long haul. Once you do it, you can reap the biggest rewards, even during a crisis.
Now that you know the upcoming trends and predictions that will impact CX this year, you can use them to revamp your strategy for success and sustainability. The more you work on customer experience, the better are your chances of building a lasting relationship with them.
It is perhaps the only way your business can survive and thrive in a tight situation like this one. Remember that no investment is too big when it comes to winning the hearts of your customers and making them stick with your brand.