Make a customer, not a sale: CX in 2021...
Let’s face it, the start of the new decade has been a bit bumpy hasn’t it? The stress, anxiety & uncertainty of events in 2020 have forced a heavy & transformative hand on many industries & business functions, not lease the customer experience space.
Customer experience focused teams (including IT, operations & marketing teams who manage the customer journey)all over the world were asked to do more with less, while growing numbers of customers had more questions than ever.
Strapped for time & resources, customer centric teams have had little choice but to adapt, transform at pace, re-evaluate previous working procedures, & reimagine what a successful ‘experience’ looks like – luckily most have risen to the challenge.
As the year draws to an end & we look ahead towards 2021 with a degree of both trepidation & hope, here are five areas to keep your eye on in the customer experience space in the New Year.
Insight driven strategies & actions: connected enterprises harness data analytics to generate actionable insights. They are equipped to develop a real-time, multi-dimensional view of their customers, allowing them to shape meaningful & effective customer strategies & a personalised approach to executing them. Use more analytic insights to make integrated customer experience focused decisions in 2021 will be key.
Responsive operations & agile supply chain: connected, digital-first enterprises know they must have the right operational practices & supply chain operations in place if they are to actually execute on their promises to customers. Being able to operate with the efficiency & agility to fulfil customer requests against consistently evolving customer expectations (in a consistent & profitable way) is going to be paramount to success in 2021.
Digitally enabled technology architecture: connected enterprises have the ability to architect, engineer, enable & operate intelligent digital services, technologies & platforms to deliver on their customer promise in an agile, cost-effective and scalable manner. This flexible & agile technology approach, however, flows in two directions. In 2021 expect more organisations to develop secure, scalable & cost-effective solutions that not only support customer experience goals, but also support, enable & empower their employees & partners too.
Online will remain popular: the pandemic has certainly amplified & accelerated the move towards ecommerce. With most businesses closing their physical doors (at least temporarily) during the global pandemic, consumers were forced to shift online, resulting in a boom in online orders & an explosion of net new customers amongst the +65-age group who had historically been least likely to shop online or order for delivery.
The use of chatbots & social media has become pivotal in 2020 too. With more consumers expected to use social media platforms, webchat, messenger apps & SMS chat as their main means of communicating with brands, customer experience teams need to have the correct tools in place to manage this shift in 2021.
Trust & ethics score big: while trust underpins the commercial pulse between customers & brands, integrity & trust are intrinsically linked. Integrity is how the organisation thinks & behaves, & trust is the outcome gained as a result from its customers.
During lockdown, consumers have become more aware of environmental & corporate behaviours. They are more questioning about how brands behave when it comes to the environment & how they recognise their social obligation to customers & employees too – expect this trend to really ramp up as we head towards COP26 in the UK next year.
The pandemic has significantly altered consumer behaviour over the last 12 months & these shifts have in turn produced knock-on effects to the ways that organisations have had to pivot & operate in 2020.
As customer experience takes on an increasingly vital role for brands in 2021, having agile & scalable technology & tools in place across the organisation, will go a long way to helping teams manage these long-term changes & challenges.
While there is no silver bullet for achieving customer experience nirvana in the New Year, organisations that employ technology which allows for collaboration between remote team members; provides customer experience teams with the freedom & visibility to move between channels; & brings to bear all the weight of data about a customer into one place, will be best placed to deliver a more efficient, personalised, joined-up & empathetic experiences in the New Year.