We have already passed the first quarter of 2021 and if your brand has not yet started preparing for your customers’ changing expectations in the New Year, you are missing the boat! Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to experience the year 2020 as a year of both acceleration and great pause. There were a lot of serious challenges and losses for businesses and people, at large, because of these contradictory circumstances. But it is also true that innovations and ideas played a significant role to improve the scenario and expedite digital experiences, like never-before, so the changing needs of our customers could be met, instantly.
In this tough time that we have been facing for more than a year now, the structure of customer experience (CX) has changed dramatically for both the customers and brands that are serving them worldwide. In some cases, businesses had to identify overnight how they would shift to new modes of service, in real-time.
In today’s intricate marketplace, brands can no longer hope for happy customers using a multi-year strategy. The expectations of customers have changed, forever. They have real needs in real-time, so the brands that wish to deliver extraordinary customer experiences have to be agile in finding the voice of the customer.
Let’s check out the major CX predictions of 2021 that brands need to remember to ensure delivering memorable customer experience during this global pandemic:
Augmented Reality (AR) is on Rising
Gone are the days when only restaurants and eateries used to rely on personal cellphones of customers. Now, customers don’t prefer to purchase anything without understanding, seeing, and experiencing their choices. This year, we have seen furniture showrooms, cosmetic stores, and shoe stores offer software filters which allows the consumer to try out products virtually before purchasing, giving a complete digital experience using their smartphones.
We can see many popular brands such as Wayfair, Parker, Warby, Nike, and others offering AR options. Over the past year almost every brands has transformed how they offer customer an in-home, personalized shopping experience with AR options for customers.
According to the reports by Retail Customer Experience, there has been a 90% spike in conversion rates for such customers who choose to leverage Augmented Reality in comparison to those who don’t. The report also records that the brands which offered AR-based digital shopping experience to their customers last year had 19% more customer engagement.
So if you want your brand to stay ahead in today’s marketplace, it’s crucial to evolve using the smartest technologies, such as AR, being the center of attraction. There are indeed endless possibilities but to some extent customers still don’t know how to make the best use of this technology. If your brand can get this right and let customers know the importance and ease of Augmented Reality, it will boost the overall customer experience and continue building customer loyalty in the process.
The Right Balance between Human and Automation is the Key
Finding a strong balance between Artificial Intelligence and Human Intelligence, when delivering an effortless customer experience, has always been an important objective for successful brands. Contact center AI capabilities are enhancing the performance of agents during this tough time by helping them sharpen their customer service skills so that they can deliver a personalized and real-time experience that customers are now expecting.
Artificial Intelligence is playing a major role in 2021 by dramatically improving the CX for brands. It is effectively helping agents provide 24/7 care and smarter at-home shopping experiences to customers. Agents can now reach customers on their preferred devices, allowing them to do simple tasks typically performed by agents. This lets agents focus on urgent and critical customer queries, and reducing human errors as much as possible. So if you want to deliver a remarkable customer experience in this pandemic year, make the best use of the “winning formula” – Human Intelligence + Artificial Intelligence.
Health and Safety Visibility is More Important than Ever
COVID-19 has compelled people from all over the world to experience a common nightmare as the pandemic has not left any aspect of human life unaffected. Customers now only prefer to interact with businesses that they trust and the definition of this trust has gone much beyond the idea of, ‘I know this brand and I trust it’.
Since this pandemic started in 2020, customers don’t believe in just talking points anymore! They want proof. Some common questions that today’s customers have regarding the brands they use are “how proactive is this brand from a health and safety perspective? Will this brand be able to deliver on its promises? What are the measures a brand is taking to ensure employee safety and wellness?”
For example, if you are in the hotel business, just telling your frequent guests that the hotel rooms will be sanitized between each use no longer works. Customers are needing more assurance that steps are taken to keep them safe at all times during their stay.
Some hotel brands have already started reassuring their guests with several sensible practices that showcase the extensive cleaning procedures. It has also become crucial that the customer service agents of the travel companies and hotels are informing guests about such proactive practices while they make their bookings.
In this context, I remember my recent visit to Hilton. They are placing physical stickers across the doors of rooms that show the arriving guests that nobody had entered the room after housekeeping. Some other hotel chains like Hilton have also created special wraps and stickers highlighting the fact that the high-touch areas of the rooms have been carefully disinfected.
Scalability and Nimbleness are Playing a Significant Role
In2020, businesses learned very well that it’s crucial to move quickly to keep customers happy. The customer service departments of companies had to figure out how to meet new demands from customers, how to use new communication channels to reach out to customers, and how to deal with the significantly fluctuating buying demands of customers.
What is the lesson we all have got from this?
Customer service teams should remain agile and flexible for delivering a memorable customer experience in 2021. If your brand improves in agility, it will help satisfy your new customer demands faster, while your business becomes more scalable and can easily meet seasonal buying patterns.
2020 has been the most disturbing year! Real-world events have made an impact and set new customer expectations in 2021. The brands, irrespective of being a start-up or an enterprise, which will continue to listen to what their customers really want, will be able to earn more customer trust and ultimately deliver an excellent customer experience. Contact us today and our remarkable Etech team will work with you to let your brand accomplish this crucial objective this year.