The pandemic will impact customer experience even more in 2022 than in 2020, Forrester experts predict. Especially when it comes to trust, safety and commitment, great things are going to happen.
We rely more and more on digital tools and that means that the customer experience is also undergoing a real change. We highlight 10 customer experience trends to keep an eye on in the near future.
Forrester’s research shows that 14% of companies improved the customer experience in 2020, but this was mostly due to identifying and resolving issues in back-end systems and processes. That will already be different in 2021, as the number of companies that significantly improved their customer experience doubled to 27%.
How then came?
By establishing and improving the core CX competencies. As this trend continues, experts expect 25% of brands to make significant progress in their customer experience by 2022.
These are the customer experience trends for 2022
The customer experience has gone beyond customer service for years and we see this more and more in the customer experience trends for 2022.
It is the job of customer experience managers to get the whole company moving and to make customer experience no longer just the task of a single department.
1. Implementing Habit Loops
Humans are creatures of habit: we often live in the same pattern and our habits have a huge impact on how we interact with each other and how we interact with companies. Experts therefore expect that so-called habit loops, which keep customers engaged in a digital environment, will receive a high priority.
Major platforms have been using them for years and with success.
A habit loop is a neurological loop responsible for a habit (gosh) and contains three components: signal, routine and reward.
Smartphones and social media are prime examples of the formation of a habit loop. The ping of a new notification is the signal, the routine involves pulling out a phone to check the notification, and the reward is seeing a new message from a friend or a new comment on social media.
The great thing about a habit is that you don’t have to invest huge marketing budgets to drive people crazy to do something, because a user sees it as an indispensable part of their way of life.
Start by finding a ‘bracket’ for your product.
That parenthesis triggers an action that yields a reward and encourages investment.
Focus on how your brand or product can remove negative emotions and deliver positive results for your customers. For example, many SaaS brands emphasize their features by showing the benefits their products can bring.
You can also create a habit loop by framing your product as desired. Highlight some of the customers who use your product and the benefits they have experienced by using case studies, for example.
When you use your habits the right way, you can get your prospects or customers hooked on your brand and keep them looking for more information or rewards.
2. Customers want to know how you do things
The customer experience includes not only what the customer receives, but also how he receives it. Customers pay more attention to how a brand does what it says it does and identify with brands that open the curtain and show how things are done.
Remember that people do not do business with companies, but with people. They want to see the character of your company and that is where video comes in handy.
More and more companies are literally giving customer service a face and letting customers come over. Or they let customer service representatives take over their social media for a day.
Another way is to show more about the people involved in your process and invite your audience to reach out to them. Add an author profile to your blog posts and get your blogs from across the company, because knowledge is everywhere.
Show how products are built, services are handled, and the team behind the brand can make your brand loved by your customers.
3. Omnichannel customer service as the most important customer experience trend
Brands want to increase their visibility on digital channels and social media platforms, so omnichannel marketing is becoming increasingly important. Omnichannel customer service has now become indispensable in the digital customer experience and if you are not yet present on various channels, you will really lose customers in 2022. Omnichannel communication is therefore one of the most important customer experience trends.
Customer success is essentially about building a lasting relationship with your customer, because you want them to achieve the desired results when they use your service or product. In 2020 an unprecedented number of organizations were forced to work remotely and that comes with numerous challenges in the field of customer experience.
The task now is to enable distributed departments, teams and functions to communicate and collaborate effectively to share data about how your customers use their services.
While your customer experience as a brand may be more distributed, that doesn’t mean customers will lower their expectations. As customers spend more time online, they expect more from businesses and are expected to have a consistent voice across all platforms.
This becomes an expectation for customers rather than a nice to have. Whether you’re interacting with customers via Twitter, email, phone, or they’re browsing your website, you need to provide a consistent experience.
Creating an omnichannel customer experience starts with the tools at your disposal. Make sure you have a system to organize your customer information in one central place and in which you can also communicate with your customers on all platforms.
Because when you constantly have to switch between Facebook, Twitter, email and WhatsApp, your customer experience will suffer instead of benefit.
4. You need to distinguish yourself better
Standing out is becoming more and more difficult and if you want to stand out from a CX perspective, you quickly become a company that customers have higher expectations of than your competitors. And that’s a good thing, because that makes you a lot more attractive to work with.
Standing out in an ocean of content and the number of competitors in your industry is going to be a critical customer experience trend as brands look for ways to differentiate themselves. According to Gartner, 81% of brands expect to compete based on customer experience by this year.
Distinguishing your brand starts with positioning. From a marketing perspective, this starts by contrasting your brand with the way things have always been done and establishing yourself as a new way of doing things.
You can also reassess your values and what you stand for. Ben & Jerry, for example, continuously taps into news about social inequality in the US.
5. Chatbots will help customer service
Artificial intelligence continues to make its way into business. Many companies are already using bots to automate sales and marketing tasks, and the digital customer experience is increasingly being influenced by chatbots.
Response and resolution time is king and AI chatbots enable companies to quickly scale their service to up to 70% of their most frequently asked questions. If you as a company choose to
Implementing AI into your customer experience will be a real game changer.
But: do it right or don’t do it. A poorly designed chatbot does more harm than good and causes irritation. Think of a chatbot as a way to give your customer a quick solution to simple problems by connecting them to your knowledge base or FAQ section on your website.
Your chatbot directs your customer to a frequently asked question in your knowledge base and your customer service representative can deal with more complex matters. And when the customer service or salesperson gets in touch, the user is already prepared with some background information.
And that works both ways: after all, your chatbot can also obtain information so that the customer service employee is immediately up to speed .
6. More and more self-service
Customers are becoming more resourceful and they want brands to respect this in their services. They are proactive and more often willing to arrange things themselves. Nobody has patience and the more your customer can do himself, the better it is for his state of mind.
Many of the problems customers face are easy to solve; they just don’t know where to look.
Invest in creating a knowledge base or FAQ section that provides answers and explanations about the most common issues your customers face. Oh: and add a search function there!
Are you in e-commerce? Make repeating orders a breeze and simply include a return label with all your orders. Saves the customer printing again.
7. Digital closes the gap with the real world
COVID-19 has caused many companies to move to the digital world and the digital transformation has accelerated, which is certainly reflected in customer experience trends. I
In the initial phase, conferences and events were still cancelled, but they soon became virtual events. Meetings took place in Teams, just like team building and interviews.
In 2022, digital will continue to be a force, bridging the gap between the way things were done before the pandemic and during, even as many countries worldwide slowly move towards the ‘new normal’. Because there really is a new normal. Remember what worked during the pandemic and use it to bridge the gap between the real world and digital.
Instead of hosting multiple events in person, you can schedule a number of virtual events and webinars and find ways to reach new audiences that can’t physically attend. The world has suddenly become a lot bigger.
8. Brands get closer to hyper-personalization
Personalization is no longer a trend, it’s something customers expect. You as a company have to find a way to meet that expectation. Personalization will be a determining factor for your market success in the coming years, but it is something that many companies still feel they are lagging behind.
In retail, a customer is 80% more likely to make a purchase when the customer experience is personalized.
Personalizing the experience for your customers starts with the data you have available about them. Create detailed customer personas and use these personas to guide the content you share with each customer.
Also take advantage of marketing automation tools that allow you to send trigger emails and other notifications when customers take certain actions.
9. Businesses Use Predictive Analytics
Businesses have access to much more customer data than ever before. Customers give up everything, as long as there is something in return. If you want to move forward as a company and improve the customer experience, you will have to invest more in predictive analytics.
D2C eCommerce companies in particular can benefit from using analytics to predict inventory and inventory levels based on what users are currently viewing and continuing to buy.
But other sectors are also reaping the benefits. Start educating your team on predictive analytics and how it can be used to acquire customers and personalize experiences.
There are several tools available from companies such as IBM and SAP that can help you with your predictive analytics strategy.
10. Even more attention to privacy in customer experience trends
Customers are willing to share their data with companies, but they do so with the belief that brands will protect their data and use it only for the right purposes, such as to provide them with more relevant content.
In 2022 there will be more attention for privacy and what brands do with data. Laws and regulations such as the AVG and the GDPR will determine how companies handle customer data in the future. Stay on top of changing data privacy and protection laws and regulations and make sure your business follows requested guidelines. Nothing is worse for your brand name than disregarding privacy and as we wrote in the introduction: trust is more important than ever.
Customer experience trends for 2021: summarized
The most important aspect of the customer experience trends is that customers expect and increasingly receive a personalized experience. Experts expect a quarter of companies to take the customer experience to the next level by 2022, so that’s exactly where you can win – or lose! – from your competitors.
It is therefore important for customer experience and customer service managers to look beyond their own department and work closely with sales and marketing departments. After all, they know your customer best.