Director of Enterprise Solutions - APAC & Europe SoGoSurvey
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How 2021 will transform customer experience

12th May 2021
Director of Enterprise Solutions - APAC & Europe SoGoSurvey
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Customer Experience in 2021

The year of the great pause, and simultaneously, the year of rapid CX acceleration – 2020 transformed the way business was done. 

Customer personas changed overnight, and businesses were faced with the immediate necessity for change. The year revealed the importance of customer experiences. It wasn’t just about meeting expectations, but about creating experiences that resonated with the customers. Understanding the changing demand and pivoting accordingly led to many businesses not only surviving, but thriving despite the pandemic.  

Today, regardless of your business, you are primarily selling experiences – and customers understand this. Research shows that 59% more customers will care about CX in the post-covid world as competition becomes more accessible and customers become more aware of what is available.

Social media has already become a tool for information dissemination, enabling consumers to hold businesses to their word, ask for transparency, and demand great experiences. 

So, as we navigate the uncertainty of the second decade of this millennium, here is a look at how customer experience trends are likely to be transformed in 2021.

7 Ways Customer Experience is Set to Change in 2021 

The world went digital, businesses rapidly adapted to the changing times and facilitated essential services while people went into isolation. As the post-pandemic world is on the horizon, it is easy to assume that the world will return to ‘normalcy’, however, many of the CX transformations over the past year are here to stay. 

Here are the top 7 CX trends that will steal the spotlight in 2021: 

  1. Keeping Up the Pace 
    The pandemic led to an economic, technological, and experiential disruption, changing the traditional business model. In a bid to keep pace, many companies created less viable solutions in the short run, delivering products and services that resonated with the transforming customer persona. But even as normalcy is on the horizon, that’s not to say that we will see a return to the pre-pandemic world.

    In fact, many of the evolutions inspired by the pandemic have become a critical part of CX today – from being more present online to the flexibility of the virtual experience. As a consequence, it has become critical for companies to keep up the momentum and innovate their offerings to continue staying relevant.

  2. Going Omnichannel 
    The pandemic made businesses become all the more accessible. Many brick and mortar stores went online, medical teleconsultations became more accessible (and popular), and the digital revolution was widely adopted.  

    Covid-19 put pressure on companies across the world to adopt the technology that was already available. And now these changes have become an integral part of the daily experience. Customers prefer companies that are present wherever they are. So, the next time a customer addresses a tweet to you, they expect a response! Companies that don't take advantage of being where their customers are will be at a distinct disadvantage.  

  3. Stay in the Loop
    It’s not just about being present across all channels, but about streamlining the process. 

    Repeating a problem can be just as frustrating as addressing it – especially when customers have to go over the same concern several times over. This is often the case when customers call service executives and have to repeat themselves every time their line is transferred. 

    So, focus on keeping your teams on the same page, streamline processes, and ensure all members can easily access account information so they know just the problem to address! 

  4. Keep it Conversational 
    In an increasingly digitized society, businesses need to humanize experiences to connect with customers. Changing from the [email protected] model to one that is interactive and engaging is just what you need, allowing customers to get to know you. It makes your business more approachable and creates trust. 

    In fact, while chatbots will become integral to resolving simpler queries more efficiently, it’s just as important to ensure that your executives are easily accessible to better address concerns. After all, too much digitization has it’s down side too – and in a world that has been isolated for over a year, human interaction is critical to developing resonance. 

  5. Let’s be Personal 
    Personalized messages can make a massive difference for customers. Whether it’s a birthday discount, product recommendations based on purchase history, or even just mentioning previous interactions when addressing concerns – these tailored messages have a stronger impact than a generic message that is obviously addressed to everyone.

    While it’s best not to go overboard as online privacy issues come into the spotlight, being authentically personal with the aim of delivering value builds trust and loyalty. 

  6. Showing Empathy
    The pandemic led to an unprecedented increase in stress. Empathy, during this time, became a critical tool – both in employee engagement and customer experience. 

    In fact, many companies did away with a strict time limit for customer support calls, instead encouraging employees to take their time and go the extra mile to ensure higher satisfaction.

    When it came to their own employees, showing an increasing awareness and respect towards the new normal also increased productivity. Today, more flexible work hours are accepted, and it has become especially normal for employees to step away from the screen to help their child with distance learning or even partake in household chores. This understanding reduces the stress of handling several things at once and instead contributes towards higher productivity as people are allowed to work well. 

  7. Employee Empowerment
    With remote working being added into the list of changes that are here to stay, companies have had to navigate a world of silos.  

    In an attempt to maintain coordination and keep employees engaged, it will be critical to perfect the balance between co-working remotely and individual accountability.

    There has been an increase in enablement tools as managers help create a healthy balance between work and life – and this is only going to improve. Employees will be given more freedom to improve productivity and reduce the stress of circumstances, enabling them to deliver without the hassle of over-coordination. The outcome? Employees who are able to deliver better experiences for customers in the moment, improving efficiency and customer satisfaction. 

2021 is the year of possibilities as businesses evolve to keep up with the changing consumer demands. The pandemic has reshaped the customer experience as we know it, enlisting technology to adapt more rapidly than ever. The challenge is not only to offer newer products and broach wider markets, but deliver experiences that strike a chord.  

With the post-pandemic world on the horizon, it has become critical for businesses to identify the customer experience essentials to gain an edge in the competitive marketspace. This allows them to not only give customers what they want, but also deliver what they need. 

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