2020 has changed Customer Experience (CX) in an unprecedented way for both customers and brands. The previous “nice to have” experience improvements became “must to have” to ensure customers stay engaged. As the world changed dramatically overnight, customer service and experience leaders had to figure out how to shift to new operating models to serve customers.
Companies once used to differentiate themselves by their product, service or efficiency. Today, however, being distinct and competitive lies in creating a seamless customer experience across all platforms. Business leaders recognize the competitive edge gained by ensuring superior customer experience and the perseverance required to achieve such standards.
Reports show that post-COVID, for 59% of consumers, a brand’s customer experience is a key deciding factor while making a purchase. Only 38% felt the same pre-COVID.
In a nutshell, customer experience directly influences purchasing decisions and a brand’s revenue in 2021. With that in mind, here are some trends to consider, to deliver powerful customer experiences in 2021.
The pandemic has disrupted the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide and compelled everyone towards social isolation. Customers are seeking empathy and care from brand interactions and evaluating businesses on a human scale. Salesforce research shows that 71% of consumers cite companies who show sensitivity to the current climate are more likely to earn their loyalty.
This means throughout the pandemic and 2021, organizations need to think beyond just solving customer issues but also consider providing emotional support. Contact center agents need to be provided with fresh guidelines on handling sensitive customer issues and showing empathy.
This also means that customer service leaders should focus more on metrics like CSAT and NPS instead of just AHT.
In addition, customer service chatbots need to be trained with sentiment analysis capabilities. This enables bots to understand customer sentiments and moods and deliver the appropriate response.
In 2021 and beyond, brands will be focusing more on providing personalized customer diagnosis and recommendations to improve the overall customer experience. Consider Ponds’ (a Unilever brand) AI Skin Advisor chatbot. Considering the skin problems people face amid COVID-19 due to prolonged mask wearing and continued all-day exposure to screens, Ponds deployed a chatbot on Shopee, an e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia.
Based on an individual’s headshot photo, the bot identifies key skin concerns like wrinkles or acne etc and recommends the right skincare product. The bot received appreciation from over 98% of customers who interacted with it.
This type of personalized recommendations and engagement goes a long way in improving the overall customer experience.
Throughout the pandemic, we have seen a huge influx in customer requests. But a majority of these requests and queries are basic and simple in nature and take a lot of time to answer. Customers who need minor information like “What’s the status of my flight” or “What are the new operating timings of the nearby retail store” or “Does my insurance policy cover COVID-19 costs” etc. are made to wait in long queues before getting their questions answered.
This not only frustrates customers and affects brand loyalty but also decreases the agent productivity. In 2020, we have seen many companies deploy FAQ chatbots to address this issue and this trend is likely to continue in 2021. Chatbots are available 24*7, handle numerous requests at a time, provide instant answers and can be deployed in multiple channels seamlessly.
Now more than ever, businesses are looking to increase agility in their operations, product development processes and business models. As a result, customer feedback becomes an invaluable guiding source to make quick adjustments, improve product quality and adapt to changing conditions. While there are many ways to capture customer feedback, companies are now leveraging customer service chatbots. Chatbots can go beyond the usual 1-5 rating and ask the customer to send the specificities of the feedback. With a chatbot, customers can also upload media like photos and videos to provide suggestions in detail.
Based on the feedback, chatbots can also be trained to take follow-up actions. For example, if a customer expresses dissatisfaction for delayed order delivery, the chatbot can apologize to the customer and offer a discount coupon or cashback.
Keeping customers proactively informed and engaged is a crucial part of improving customer experience in 2021 and beyond. Brands should anticipate the needs of customers in advance and deliver the relevant information and solutions without being prompted. This can include notifying customers about new products, latest offers, status of their ticket/order, potential errors and glitches, providing tailored advice, and offering personalized solutions, recommendations etc.
A report by Enkata shows that proactive customer service reduces call volumes by 30% and increases customer retention by 3-5%.
For instance, consider the example of a shopping chatbot deployed by a retail or CPG company. When a customer interacts with the chatbot and shows interest in making a product purchase, the chatbot can send a notification about a potential sale or offer about a similar product.
Another important customer experience trend in 2021, is helping customers understand the different ways they use a product or service. For instance, Knorr, a global CPG company and manufacturer of dehydrated soup and meal mixes, recently deployed a chatbot that provides different soup recipes, tips and tricks for preparation, and personalized ingredient recommendations.
Such customer experience initiatives help companies not only improve the customer engagement and satisfaction but also drive sales and revenue.
If you’d like to learn more about the top customer experience trends to watch for in 2021, please feel free to get in touch with one of our customer experience experts for a personalized consultation. You might also be interested in exploring our chatbot builder platform (BotCore) and learn how it helps you build low-code customer service chatbots within a few weeks.