As people were making their 2020 New Year’s resolutions, you can guarantee that most of them didn’t include spending most of their time at home, having little contact with family and friends, or not going on vacation.
Covid-19 has changed every aspect of people’s lifestyles across the world. It's led to an acceleration in the shift to a more digital-focused customer experience. Google’s European President, Matt Brittin, believes the pandemic has sparked a leap forward 5 years in our use of digital technology, and brands will have to follow as they adapt their approach to customer experience management.
Many people have had no option but to work from home, a situation that may never return to its pre-pandemic ‘normal.’ It’s not just customers, but also the people handling their requests and complaints. Inevitably, this has affected a company’s ability to deal with the same volume of contact using traditional methods.
With the situation changing daily, it may seem foolish to try to predict how things may change in the industry, but looking at the current trends, we’ve put together our 5 top predictions for how customer experience management will look in the future.
5 Ways CX Management is Going to Change
1. Safety becoming a top priority
In the last 5 months we’ve all, justifiably, become germaphobes, and it’s likely to stay that way for a while. Adopting a policy of ‘show, don’t tell’ is going to be key when looking at addressing customers’ safety concerns.
I’m sure we all got a deluge of messages in March from every company that has ever had your email address about the measures they were taking (and most of them were left unread) in this new and unprecedented time. Meanwhile, Delta Airlines created a video showing how they clean their planes - a great way to reassure customers they’re doing everything they can by letting them see for themselves.
Brands can take this one step further by utilizing two-way communication channels to personalize processes that will help ease their customers' worries and ensure their Covid measures are observed. There’s no reason that proactive notifications can’t be used for curbside collections or food deliveries or become the norm updating customers about in-store safety guidelines.
2. Businesses upscaling CX with automation and bots
Very few interactions are now taking place in person, which undoubtedly puts more pressure on customer experience management teams. With social distancing measures in place in offices, customer care centers aren’t going to be staffed at full capacity either.
It also means a rise in tickets from customers and potentially not enough humans to deal with them. Companies will need to rely on AI and bots to help manage this increase in queries. With the right system, the most common questions can be efficiently dealt with by the bots, and agents will have more time to handle the more difficult issues.
At a time when the likelihood for staff to be out sick is much higher, using technology to streamline your process is the smart solution- easing the pressure on an already stretched team. If implemented correctly, it can lead to better digital customer experiences and happier customers.
3. Customers and brands moving to messaging
In the US, online retail spending grew more than 30% in the first six months of 2020 when compared to last year. Customers are spending more time online. At Conversocial, we’ve seen a huge spike in contact via messaging channels in the last few months.
Our research shows that 71% of customers expect brands to offer customer support over messaging channels, and ⅔ expect to receive personalized customer experiences whilst using them.
This year has accelerated customers and brands desire to move to messaging, which can only be a good thing. It means more relationships can be built over the channels that consumers prefer to use.
4. Brands taking AR innovation up a notch
What do you do if the people can’t come to the store? You bring the store to them. A great example is Ikea Place, an in-app function that lets you see if a new piece of furniture looks good in your home before you buy. It’s been around for a couple of years but has never seemed more relevant. Why not go one step further and put this function into messaging channels- where your customers actually are? 80% of downloaded apps are only opened once and with a tool this awesome, brands will surely want to maximize exposure to it. Apple Business Chat already supports augmented reality (AR) in its system.
Upon first glance, AR seems to be best suited for the retail sector, with cosmetic companies offering virtual makeovers or fashion outlets offering consumers the chance to try on an entirely new wardrobe virtually- all innovative ways of boosting sales.
However, AR also provides features that are incredibly helpful throughout the customer lifecycle. Brands can tap into their knowledge base with FAQs or instruction manuals overlaid via AR, as well as offer technical support that can reduce the need for an engineer to be sent out to fix an issue.
5. Consumers appreciating "the new normal"
The digital side of customer interactions, parts of which may not have existed pre-pandemic, could remain more prominent in this "new normal." People who previously loved to do their weekly food shopping may have discovered that ordering online- for delivery or pick up- gives them 2 hours of their weekend back. Is it possible we may emerge in a better world for both brands and consumers?
Dan Gingiss, renowned CX coach, told Conversocial that it’s not something to fear; “I would expect that you would see innovation around the digital experience with the assumption that a percentage of your customers may stay digital, and that’s not a terrible thing.”
One positive is that this can help push forward a more efficient business model, with some minor reorganization to help brands reduce costs and repurpose their staff. Doing so can offer a real chance for brands to get creative and tap into the areas customers are engaging with the most, benefiting them in the long run.