Customer Experience | 8 MIN READ

Top Customer Experience Trends for 2021

For 2021, customer experience will be a game-changer. In this blog, we’ll explore some trends that will shape the 2021 customer experience.

Niyathi Rao
Dec 9, 2020

Customer-Experience-Trends

Customer experience can help you differentiate yourself from the competition. In 2020, this proved to be more true than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to cater to customer experience in a whole new way. With the lack of personal connection that has resulted from the pandemic, customer experience has become the deciding factor for customers to choose whether they want to be associated or remain associated with organizations.

Customer Experience Trends
Source: Pixabay

What is Customer Experience?

Customer Experience is the overall perception customers have of a company or brand. These perceptions can be memories, feelings, behaviors, and more which drive their actions. To deliver a great customer experience, it may be helpful to invest in relationship marketing in order to enable you to deliver a personalized experience across the customer journey.

According to the Temkin Group, companies that earn $1 billion annually will earn an additional $700 million within 3 years of investing in customer experience. PWC found that 86% of buyers are ready to pay more for an exceptional customer experience. A walker study also found that customer experience will eventually overtake product and price as the key brand differentiator.

With the importance of customer experience in 2021, we’ll take a look at some trends that will help shape your customer experience:

AI to Improve Customer Experience

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transformative. It is effectively transforming the way businesses interact with customers. According to Microsoft, nearly 95% of customer interactions will be through AI by 2025. AI can improve communication and address customer queries and helps provide personalized services and products to individuals. Successful businesses offer an integrated experience to customers in order to prioritize reducing waiting times, creating less roadblocks, and improving communication. Specific tasks that can be streamlined to achieve these results include:

  • Regular updates of product or service
  • Automating manual tasks
  • Call routing and other support
  • Improving communication through chatbots, human agents
  • Enhanced support with monitoring and suggestions

Omnichannel Approach will be Preferred

Customer experience is complex. More than 50% of channels use more than a single medium for customer experience, which is a reflection of the diversity of channels customers use. While many customers have moved their business completely online, some still prefer the traditional brick and mortar option and most will do a little bit of both. Providing a seamless, omnichannel customer experience that will foster relationships no matter where they develop is key to making this work. Customers like to see consistent messaging across different platforms. The experience has to be the same online as well as offline. A great example of this philosophy at work is Ikea, which has a heavy focus on customer experience. By investing in an omnichannel experience, PWC found that more than 80% of companies have been consistently profitable.

Benefits

  • High business performance
  • Real-time assistance with video and voice chat
  • Get real-time insights across customer profile
  • Improve availability across channels

Real-time Data Insights

Customer data has the power to drive business outcomes and ROI exponentially. By using this data in conjunction with predictive analytics, companies will be much more likely to increase their margins significantly. Companies can collect data in all forms to create the right buyer personas and form actionable business goals. Customer insights through data will help organizations analyze customer behavior, segment customers, set objectives, and more. With data, companies can improve the overall customer experience due to the availability of better information and better understanding of customer requirements. Data can also help create a seamless experience across various channels. Meaningful data will ensure that customers get a real-time experience. All of which will set companies apart in 2021.

Benefits

  • Maximizes chances of conversion
  • Improves scope for upgradation
  • Simple usability for customers
  • Reduces time to resolve queries

Contactless or Remote Customer Experience

With the recent global events, customer service and experience need to be optimized online and preferably become contactless. This has been a bit of a paradigm shift from previous customer expectations.  Prioritizing contactless customer experience requires businesses to shift their processes to suit the remote lifestyle. Companies can also benefit from the cost-cutting that results from becoming fully remote. According Zendesk, 67% of companies prefer self-service over contacting a company agent or representative and more than 90% of customers will choose an online knowledge base if it suits their needs.

Benefits

  • Customer experience will be considered safe
  • Increases customer satisfaction
  • Improves customer engagement and satisfaction

Personalization will be Key

In 2021, one trend will be more companies personalizing their customer experience. Businesses need to focus on providing a personalized experience to customers. Customers seek valuable content from companies without sharing personal information. Over 60 percent of customers want companies to send personalized discounts or offers based on previous purchases. Customers like feeling valued and heard across their journey. Social media spaces like Twitter and Facebook can improve communication and help customize updates and promotions. Creating a personalized customer experience will increase customer loyalty to such brands.

Benefits

  • Know the exact requirements of customers
  • Learn about customer interests
  • Engage with customers on a personal level
  • Connect with customers deeply

Customers will Get More Conversational

Customers expect and require a more digital experience. A reversion to the pre-pandemic life will not change the need for flexibility and the convenience of a remote customer experience. Companies need to have digital solutions in place that will keep customers engaged and satisfied. The customer engagement model now calls for more humanized customer interactions. These interactions can help customers collaborate better with customer support agents. A conversational approach to customer service will be a huge driving force and accelerate growth in 2021.

Benefits

  • Improved customer interactions
  • Personalized customer behaviour
  • Greater insight into customer behaviour
  • Establishes greater trust in the company

Customer Experience is Company-wide

Marketing teams have always understood the importance of customer experience. 2021 is the year customer experience-focused teams join hands with other teams to create a successful online and offline presence. Customer experience is now a company-wide initiative.

Benefits

  • Builds better trust in the company
  • Improves analyses of customer issues from the root level
  • Uniform motivation across teams
  • Focused effort on customer

Empathy is an Important Customer Experience Metric

If we learned nothing else while doing business during COVID-19, it is empathy. Management needs to be more empathetic to the needs of their employees and businesses need to have a better understanding of the emotional needs of their customers. It’s not just business anymore. We’re all in this together. Showing empathy and that you understand the feelings of your employees and your customers will be a necessity for a positive customer experience in 2021. Bridging gaps and building an empathetic organization will help improve customer satisfaction.

Benefits

  • Developing empathy means addressing customer problems better
  • Helps understand and meet business outcomes

Self Help is the Best Help

In 2021, companies should make sure customers are able to find the answers for their queries in a range of self-help options. Customers tend to prefer online knowledge bases instead of calling into customer support, if it is available. Customers want self-service options so they can help themselves at their own pace. Having an FAQ page or video snippets of how to solve a problem are good examples of this.

Benefits

  • Empowers customers
  • Improves customer engagement
  • Customers are more informed of company actions
  • Helps with customer retention

How You Do Things Matters

In 2021, everything will matter when it comes to the customer experience. What you do, how you do it, and why you do it all matter. Customers pay attention to how actions are performed, how companies respond to a situation, what is being posted on social media, etc. Customers want to be connected with brands who are aware, responsible, and know how to get things done despite the difficulties around us. Seeing the character of the team will help show business character.

Benefits

  • Customers pay attention to company
  • Customers feel connected with company offerings
  • Greater relatability among customers
  • Improved social media presence

Bottom Line: Customer Experience is the New Best Price

Customer experience can be your way to stand out from the crowd. Customer experience makes organizations gain and retain loyal customers. Customers are more aware than ever before. They are aware of how organizations treat their customers and they will make decisions based on this fact even more so than based on price.

Certain techniques will help you improve the customer experience. Creating customer profiles, for instance, will help you offer personalized content and actions and will help measure customer behavior across multiple channels and touchpoints. AI and other technologies will also help you improve the overall customer experience.

If the experience your customer faces is pleasant, smooth, consistent, and constantly improving, the chances of driving brand loyalty are more. To improve your customer experience, focus on customer success and provide them with the best experience possible.

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Originally Published December 9th, 2020, Updated April 16th, 2021

Niyathi Rao

Niyathi is an experienced content marketer with a love for SaaS tech products. She reads a lot (mostly fiction) and is a huge news junkie. Niyathi loves exploring different forms of inbound marketing and taking on challenges.

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