Author: Mikkel Andreassen
The customer is always right. Harry Gordon Selfridge coined the phrase in 1909 when he opened his first department store in London. In the century since its first utterance, this phrase has shaped the customer experience of countless brands and framed the ethos which consumers and businesses live by. In this way, customer experience has always driven branding and marketing. What is new is the depth and breadth businesses can understand and meet their customer’s needs.
If Mr. Selfridge were alive today, he would likely fall in love with the tools which now exist to help businesses better understand what the customer wants. CX technology is in a constant state of improvement because the customer demands better and better. This makes staying ahead of the curve more of a challenge, especially for small and mid-sized businesses who may not have the access to big data to see new trends emerging. Add to that the economic downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic, and you have a mess on your hands. Businesses are rushing to get online to reach consumers, and with so many players saturating the marketplace, it can be hard to get ahead of the curve. Here are just a few of the key trends you need to know to stand out:
1. Automation is good, but many customers still want human interaction
There are a few key emerging trends which you should strive to integrate into your CX systems this year. Most notably the balancing of human interaction with automated systems. Despite emerging CX AI programs designed to help triage customer issues, 47% of customers are still looking for a human being to help them if they need it. So if you are not sure you can afford to switch over to a fully automated system, as things stand right now it won’t hurt you to keep the human element in place.
2. Omnichannel CX is a must, not an option
Customers in 2020 expect nothing less than seamless integration between all their devices. Regardless of the type of products or services you provide, if your customers aren’t able to seamlessly switch between devices, and even to your storefront if you have one, you will find yourself with a significantly diminished market share in short order. For businesses with limited investment capital looking for ways to improve their CX, if you can only implement one of these trends this year, make it this one.
3. Data Transparency will build better customer relationships.
We live in a time when every key-stroke is logged and analyzed. While this is great for the purposes of collecting information that guides our business decisions, tracks our client relationships, and helps us get a glimpse of emerging trends it can be very disconcerting for the customers. No matter what systems you are using, you are collecting data on your customers’ shopping habits, credit information, even right down to their names and contact information. In an age where people are increasingly more distrustful, being open and honest about why and how you are collecting the data is essential. If your customers trust you to respect their privacy, they will be much more likely to not only return, but to recommend and rate your business for others.
4. The customer expects a personalized experience.
Customers have always expected to be treated with respect and care, but in the digital age this expectation has evolved. Making sure your CX systems are tracking the customer’s interests isn’t just an interest in the macro view anymore. Customers expect to be treated like royalty, and a long-lost friend. With the analytics gathered in any CX platform, this should be as easy as pie to implement. It also enables you to streamline marketing by engaging with customers on the individual level, even if the scale of your business is bigger than big.
5. Innovating Social Media engagement.
Hand in hand with a personalized customer experience, is the need to reimagine how we engage with our customers. The well-known example of Big Brian, the Malaysian furniture company which used WhatsApp to recapture 70% of their abandoned online shopping carts in 2017 is the best way to contextualize this. By proactively engaging their customers, leveraging what data they had to craft personalized messages, Big Brian managed to improve their revenue stream.
6. Visual Media is the most effective marketing tool.
Whether it be video ads or Augmented Reality software, customers will believe your product is right for them when they see it. 97% of marketers agree that video marketing tools have become indispensable for building consumer trust in a product, and onboarding customers. Evocative images and engaging narrative help keep the customer’s attention, while AR tools help them build a vision of the product in their lives. With a smartphone, some basic video editing software, social media savvy, and a little creativity Visual Media is an easily accessible tool to tell your brand’s story, and help the customer see themselves in it.
About the author:
Mikkel Andreassen is passionate about customer experience in every color of the beautiful customer engagement spectrum. He loves building great connections with his customers, which often lead to meaningful friendships that last a lifetime and inspire his work. Driven by the genuine belief that CX is the pivotal force that drives a successful business, he is currently at the helm of Dixa’s customer experience strategy.