COVID-19 has shaken the B2B sector tremendously. Today we see a definite change in the way customer experience is perceived by businesses globally. The result of that is B2B sectors slowly but gradually moving towards conversational customer experience.
As the quarantines worldwide end, it is time for us to ponder: What will be the new normal? How is it going to affect the customer experience in the post-COVID era?
In this write-up, we will answer these questions and contemplate why conversational CX is the new order for the day.
The effect of COVID-19 on customer service
Over the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for businesses and their customers. For businesses, this means unusual challenges as well as opportunities.
Amid so much uncertainty, it’s important to remember that customer service, in any business, is the lifeblood. People are known to do business with those they trust, like, and know. Companies that go to great lengths to make their customers feel valued and secure are going to be the survivors.
Predictions on how conversational customer experience can play a crucial role in the post-COVID-era?
1. Organizations will start engaging customers through Omnichannel marketing strategies
The post-COVID era has highlighted how valuable conversational customer experience can be.
Companies that focus on providing consistent, timely, and personal messaging to their customers have gained an edge over competitors. It has also created an opportunity for omnichannel marketing programs.
In today’s world, customers expect brands to engage with them through multiple channels. Organizations don’t need to overwhelm their customers with dead-end phone calls, spam emails, and direct mail. Customers will get irritated with your brand and will block these unwanted calls and delete spam emails that will influence all your future communication. Instead, they can follow an inclusive approach to prioritize being ‘omnipresent’ in the customers’ experience.
By leveraging the power of omnichannel marketing programs, companies can provide a consistent, personalized experience that builds brand loyalty.
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2. AI will become an integral part of the customer experience
AI-powered conversational interfaces will increasingly become the customers’ first point of contact, replacing many traditional channels and touchpoints. According to Gartner, in the year 2019, 1/4th of all customer interactions recorded was automated with the help of AI and machine learning. On top of that, about 90% of companies today are planning to deploy AI within 3 years. This number can grow to 40% by the year 2023.
Customer experience has become the most critical factor in organizations’ ability to survive. As a result, it’s more important than ever to meet customers’ expectations in today’s digital world.
As customer expectations rise, companies must evolve their customer interaction methods, from providing self-service to enabling conversations and enabling transactions.
Conversational AI is emerging as an extremely powerful tool, allowing companies to establish close relationships with customers. With AI, companies can provide clients with solutions for their everyday problems, regardless of their customer journey.
Chatbots are excellent at handling repetitive queries, such as opening hours, pricing, product availability, and order tracking. Chatbots also have the potential to improve client experience by acting as “employees” for brands.
3. Conversational experiences will pave the way for the future of tomorrow
The impact of COVID-19 is global, and many businesses are seeking ways to stand out and differentiate themselves.
Conversational experiences have the potential to become the preferred channel for the B2B industry, as consumer expectations shift from a traditional transactional approach to one that prioritizes value, convenience, and personalization.
Unlike traditional chatbots, which respond to predefined text messages, conversational experiences allow customers to engage with a business using natural language. For example, customers can get answers to their inquiries by asking simple questions, book product demo, and even sign up to receive product updates.
Conversational customer experiences first emerged in the call center industry in the late 1980s, but they’ve taken a turn in the past couple of years as more businesses began implementing chatbots. Nevertheless, these experiences are making an impact today, and it’s expected that they’ll continue to gain ground as enterprises look for ways to stand out and gain an edge in the post-COVID era.
4. Taking advantage of customer data insights to deliver personalization
In the coming time, customer data insights will play an increasingly crucial role in delivering personalization.
Personalization has been shown to improve conversion rates, allow meaningful and efficient interactions with buyers, increase brand loyalty, and improve the customer experience. It can also help companies target customers with enhanced search capabilities and personalized call-to-actions for different stages in the buying process.
In this challenging environment, personalization offers a powerful way to meet customer needs. Instead of simply trying to shove as many products as possible onto customers’ doorsteps, marketers should use data insights to personalize their customer engagement.
5. Robotics and automation will become crucial to provide an excellent customer experience
In today’s hyper-connected world, companies can no longer afford to ignore customers. They are under more pressure than ever to interact with customers. As a result, conversational automation and robotics solutions will be crucial.
Automation and robotics have been staples in science fiction for decades. They’re now becoming staples in real-world commerce, and it’s expected they’ll play a key role in providing tailored, personalized customer experiences down the road.
These solutions can acquire and analyze customer data through interactive dialogue and then use this data to tailor each interaction to the customer’s individual needs.
While technology can’t replace human interaction, it can certainly play a new, complementary role in the post-pandemic era. And, businesses can help customers stay safe and informed by leveraging technology.
As we continue to recover from COVID-19, businesses are looking for new ways to entice customers to make purchases. According to a recent report by eMarketer, 62% of marketers surveyed said their retail customers have delayed or canceled planned purchases due to COVID-19.
While businesses navigate this challenging time, consumers continue to rely on companies for products and information. As customers continue to turn to businesses for products, brands have a unique opportunity to provide conversational customer experiences that help drive sales through augmented reality (AR).
AR will transform the shopping experience for consumers, allowing shoppers to trial products with virtual try-on and for brands to give the customer a more immersive experience.
For example, a customer visits a B2B eCommerce that sells office furniture and digital tools. They have just moved in and plan to buy a few office chairs and desks to complement the interiors and space. All they need to do is direct their camera to the location where they plan to place the furniture, and they’ll be able to view it on their screen. It will help them decide whether they’re comfortable with the color scheme and placement of the products.
Next steps towards conversational customer experience in the post-COVID era
There is no doubt in our minds that customer experience will be far different in the post-COVID era than it is now. As a result, the B2B industry today is facing a major unprecedented challenge. 33
Now is not the time to think that we are at the end in the line of revamping customer experience. Rather, it is time to be excited about the opportunities that will emerge, like more advanced AI, hyper-personalization, etc., that will make conversational customer experience far more critical than ever before!
You might also like:
- The Guide to AI in Customer Experience – AI can enhance the customer experience in almost every way. Here we’ll explain why companies invest in AI and its uses in customer experience.
- To see how SmartKarrot helps B2B companies streamline and scale customer success, Request a Demo.
Anshi has over 12 years of experience in demand generation, digital marketing, and managing global teams. In her prior role as head of marketing operations for a high growth US healthcare tech organization she transformed marketing from cost to revenue center.
Published November 01, 2021, Updated May 08, 2023