9 Customer Trends 2021
The customer experience is experiencing a pandemic upswing. Don't sacrifice customer-centric thinking because it will help you retain your current customers and attract new ones in 2021 and 2022 longterm.
1. Customer Focus
Data-driven sales & marketing and digital content marketing are at the top of the list, but the most important point is the customer experience. And that is not surprising when products and services are becoming increasingly comparable. Differentiation is achieved through the strong brand and the brand promise kept, the benefits perceived by the customer, and the customer's experience throughout their entire customer journey. In the perfect Omni Channel scenario, the customer concept is felt equally well on all channels. Here, there must also be no breaks between the channels: How often have I filled out an online form with my individual needs and received a non-personalized standard response by mail. Where does that leave customer satisfaction?
2. Remote Work
We are by no means talking about a temporary measure here. We are talking about operational changes that will stay with us for the long term. At best, offices will become innovative meeting places, workshop arenas with a small proportion of fixed desk squads, as we all know them. The classic office has said goodbye!
What does this mean in concrete terms for customer service and internal processes? There, too, a restructuring must take place. Digitization has gained momentum through Corona, but it has left large gaps in the operational processes along the customer journey. Gaps in which the customer gets stuck. Smart working now presents entrepreneurs with the task of integrating hybrid contact centers, for example, and completely redefining task areas and job descriptions within the company. Offline must be connected with online. (Online merges offline- OMO)
3. Trust, health, safety, resilience
Trust is becoming the key element of CX: The pandemic has affected almost every aspect of life and work. Customers now want to interact with brands they can trust. This goes far beyond knowing the brand. Customers don't want empty arguments or nice PR copy, they want proof. How does this brand take care of my health and safety concerns? How does this brand deliver on its promises? How does this brand ensure the health of its employees? For example, when I go back to a café, restaurant, hotel, or concert in the future, I want to be confident that I can move freely knowing that this brand will ensure that the distance is maintained. Hotels were the first companies to implement hygiene concepts with proof for hotel guests, quickly, safely and efficiently.
4. Contactless, digital, online AND above all SIMPLE
Digitization is the permanent trend. But before we switch everything to digital, everything will first be simpler. SIMPLE, because the complexity is so high that it cannot be implemented 1:1 digitally and immediately in companies. Menus, online supermarket assortments, unlimited delivery zones and times, that's what the customer would like, but it's not possible or practical in every case. In the wake of the pandemic and the need to innovate, a lot has been cut. Focusing on the essentials. Assortments, menus and even entire collections of haute couture were cut. Eight collections a year shrunk to four. The shortened version also for the first time in history to be seen live and online at Armani in September 2020, live on Italian television.
This has never been done before!
"A spending rush doesn't fit this time". says Giorgio Armani
Contactless technologies are another key element of CX: Contactless technologies play an important role. Shopping with the smartphone. Mobile devices with which I can read the menu in a restaurant, check in at hotels or at the airport. As a result, the QR code, which has not been as successful in Germany, is also gaining a revival. The QR code is becoming an integral part of these contactless experiences. Chatbots and virtual assistants that advise customers on their customer journey are also gaining in importance.
Completely contactless payment is new at the Lanserhof chain. And a study by Facebook shows how text-friendly most customers have become: 53% increase in all Messenger services. And the trend is rising.
5. AI speech recognition on the one hand and humanity on the other hand
After the private sphere, after smart home, Alexa & Co, speech recognition is now inexorably sweeping through the business sector. It is used in all areas, but predominantly in HR for recruiting and personnel selection processes, in medicine, in financial services companies, in public authorities and in law. Speech recognition systems are general assistance systems. Accuracy is becoming more precise, but humans are needed to interface with the artificial intelligence.
How to prepare?
Analyze customer journey processes to make investments wisely. Don't just digitize because your competitors are doing it that way - strategy, strategy, strategy is what's needed here. Convert certain partial or overall processes, BUT also prepare and train staff well.