By every standard, 2020 was one heck of a year. Putting personal matters aside, the pandemic’s effect on the business world has been no less than transformational. In the space of what seemed like a night, companies of all sizes were forced to completely upend their operations. Remote work from home became the norm, and the digital space instantly became the only space where business could take place.
The significance of the pandemic's impact on business operations cannot be overestimated. Specifically, its effect on the online customer experience has been nothing less than disruptive. As digital became the premier customer touchpoint, the customer experience that digital channels provide has come to the forefront of business strategy.
2020 has made digital transformation a reality for every business because customers don’t come to your website to buy just products and services. They’re also looking for a delightful customer experience when they measure bang for their buck. In 2020, there’s a new king on the throne -- the customer experience.
Businesses looking to succeed in 2021 should be aware of the different customer experience trends that their digital customers expect, and adapt appropriately. Taking this into consideration, let’s jump into a quick review of the more significant customer experience trends that 2020 has driven forward.
- On-demand availability. In the digital space, customers expect 24/7 availability. That’s not just about being able to access your website at all times. Customers also have high expectations in regards to availability of a real person if that’s what they’re in need of. In the digital space, the ability to provide immediate help with whatever it is your customers need -- be it support, service or sales -- is critical. Customers don’t have patience to wait for anything, especially to close a deal. Remember, your competitors are always just a click away, and chances are that if you’re not available for your customers, your competitors will be. They want to be able to get immediate answers if they have any questions or if they need help.
- Personalized experience. Customers in 2021 will expect a more personalized approach to their digital experience. Data from Accenture shows that when a company knows their name and preferences, customers are 75% more likely to purchase from them. Websites that used 1-on-1 personal interactions, welcome messages and other personalization tactics were able to make customers feel more at home with their brand.
- Self-service and self-help. At the end of the day, your customers want to be in control. They know what they want and they know which problems they need solved. Make sure that your website does everything it can do to help customers help themselves, without needing to ask for help. FAQs and Help Centers are a must-have for even those websites hawking simple products and services. Give them the control over when and how they want to level up the interaction to live video chat.
- Data security is a deal breaker. Today’s digital consumers understand that companies collect as much data as they can about their interactions. It seems like almost every day there’s a new story about a huge data breach at a reputable company. The damage that they cause is difficult to estimate, but it is certainly significant. Monetary costs resulting from revenue loss, intellectual property theft, hidden costs (legal PR, insurance) and vandalism are just the tip of the iceberg. The long-term damage to your brand and your customers’ trust are at stake as well. Brands that are known to be careless with their customers private data will soon find that customers are hesitant to do business with them.
- Soft skills are on the rise. Soft skills are non-technical skills that increase your ability to understand, relate and communicate with those around you. These include skills like listening and negotiation, body language, empathy, leadership, teamwork, resourcefulness and many more. The effect of soft skills on personal interactions with your customers is huge. They can make or break the entire customer experience, so their importance, especially with your frontline agents -- can’t be stressed enough. No matter how well built your operations are, a lack of soft skills among your agents can ground your brand’s reputation very quickly.
- Customers at the center of everything. A lot of what makes a good customer experience is in ensuring that your customers feel unique and taken care of. If there’s any element of your website that could make a customer feel left out or unaccounted for, there’s a good chance that they’ll leave. Do whatever you can to improve every aspect of your customers’ flow.
- Analytics is where it’s at. Data is the key to unlocking a superior customer experience. Today’s data collection tools allow you to collect granular level data on every aspect of the interaction. Use analytics to access metrics about critical customer experience elements that shape the entire interaction. Create baselines and build processes that improve the metrics. That’s the only way to beat the curve and ensure a delightful customer experience that goes beyond anything that your competitors can put out.
Consolto’s video chat platform is leading the digital transformation charge for many businesses around the world. Using Consolto, thousands of companies that offer services and sell products have transformed their brick and mortar operations into lean, mean online selling machines.
Learn more about how Consolto can help you do the same.