With 2020 (thankfully) behind us and the outlook for 2021 being more positive than the year past, many businesses are feeling optimistic and looking for smart ways to rebuild momentum and secure growth moving forwards.
One of the biggest growth opportunities this year lays in finding ways to improve your customer experience, therefore lowering the friction between the stages of the customer’s buying journey, ultimately making it easier for them to choose to purchase from you.
As we return to some form of normality customers are already beginning to expect more from the businesses they buy from. One study highlighted that 59% of participants surveyed will care more about their experience with brands than they did in pre-covid times.
Let’s take a look at what a great customer experience will look like in 2021 and how you can get a head start with these trends to boost the success of your business.
Omnichannel Communication will be Everything
In recent years customers have come to expect a seamless flow of communication when dealing with the companies they have chosen to buy from. In contrast, it is a great cause of frustration for customers when they are constantly having to repeat their details, concerns, and queries as they get passed around a business.
Omnichannel communication is an approach that can help businesses create a seamless flow of communication between team members and customers. Unified communication platforms (UCSaaS) support multiple channels of communication such as VoIP, mobile, social media, and email. By using a UCSaaS platform, your customers can seamlessly start and continue conversations with you across various platforms, limiting frustration and eliminating friction.
Personalized Marketing and Communication
When we hear the term ‘personalized marketing’ many think about sending marketing emails with the recipient’s first name included. Although to an extent this is true, personalized marketing and communications have come a long way since then.
By using customer data, brands can create dedicated marketing messages, recommendations and offer specific insight and advice based on individual customer needs.
This could include a segmentation of email lists based on anything from location to interests, then delivering emails based on this information. It may also include providing your customer service team with a CRM and a Unified Communications platform so they have all customer information to hand whenever they get in touch.
The Rise of AI & Chatbots
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chatbots aren’t new in marketing. However, the recent developments within these areas have led to the creation of tools that can now add real value to customer experiences.
One good example of this is the UK-based clothing store ASOS’s app which allows customers to upload a photo of a celebrity or influencer wearing an outfit they like. The app then uses AI to find similar suggestions at a much more affordable price.
Chatbots are helping businesses cut the time that customers need to wait before getting an answer to their inquiry. As chatbots are unlimited in capacity and always ready, you can limit the time customers wait to speak to a customer service rep by using them as the first line of contact. This type of technology can also save you costs by only using trained representatives to answer questions that cannot be answered by a chatbot.
Boosting Efficiency with Tech Tools
Consumer attention spans are getting shorter. This means that businesses have less time to communicate what they need, whether that is a marketing message or customer service. Using tech tools to increase internal efficiency means you can serve customers quickly and ultimately improve their overall experience.
How you do this will depend on your business niche and current processes. However, a handful of tools that apply to most businesses and can have a drastic impact on your organizational efficiency include:
- CRM’s (quickly and easily find customer information)
- UCSaaS (seamlessly communicate across multiple platforms)
- Automation Tools (such as email marketing platforms)
- Team Management Tools (speed up workflow and limit duplicated effort)
Communication of Values
As time progresses consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the values and ethics associated with the products and services they consume. This has been made clear in recent years with social shifts and trends for using fewer plastics, using renewable forms of energy, and promoting equality for all people in all scenarios.
Businesses that take the time to clearly outline their values will attract customers who are a natural fit. Achieving this is beneficial for many reasons, including:
- Customers feel more comfortable continuing to purchase from you
- There is less likely to be friction when customers come to purchase
- Customers will feel empathy towards their circumstances
One powerful tool that businesses can use to ensure that they are working towards better serving their customers is by creating a small number of buyer personas. These personas can include details ranging from customer buying habits and income to what values they hold in high regard. When you have well-researched buyer personas, you can easily check business decisions against them to ensure you are moving your business in the right direction.
Focus on Retaining Loyal Customers
Earning the loyalty of your customers is getting harder to achieve. This is especially true as the population becomes increasingly sensitive to factors such as cost and is willing to jump ship to any business that can offer them a better deal. However, the businesses that manage to build a loyal following benefit both from consistent profit and high levels of customer satisfaction.
For example, the Patagonia clothing brand has built a loyal following among the outdoor pursuits community over the years. Even though their clothing is considerably more expensive than other comparable options, they have always maintained a profitable business by clearly communicating their values and delivering a consistently high-quality product.
Great Customer Experience in 2021
As factors such as price become harder for businesses to compete on, customer experience will continue to grow as a competitive edge for forward-thinking brands. Achieving a great customer experience in 2021 and beyond will be challenging than ever, and require your business to truly step up its game to be ahead of your competitors. The CommBox Omnichannel customer communication platform is here to help you do just that. Contact us today to learn more about ways our AI-powered solution can help you take your customer communication to a whole new level.