2020 was truly a year of challenges and dramatic changes. The pandemic-induced lockdown helped to speed up the slow and steady evolution of digital transformation. Industries such as banking, healthcare, restaurants, retail, and entertainment woke up to the fact that digital capabilities are not just about differentiating – they’re capable of quickly adapting to overnight changes in market realities and consumer needs. Born out of necessity during the pandemic, 2021 is going to be the year of digital-first experiences. The same is true for CX or customer experience.
Take, for instance, retail and restaurants. They jumped to digital ordering and adopted contactless payment methods. Also, entertainment studios. They retooled their distribution to focus on online streaming. These dramatic shifts are only going to escalate and according to studies, it is estimated that post-COVID, about 59% of customers are more concerned about customer experience when supporting a brand or using an app.
What is customer experience and its importance for your business?
Customer experience is the holistic perception of customers about their experience with an app, brand, or any business in general. It is the result of every single interaction that a consumer has with a business – from navigating an app or website to talking to customer service and getting the services or product that they ordered. Everything a brand does impact the perception of the customers. This is why delivering a great customer experience is massively important to solve business challenges. You cannot expect your customers to trust you if your app keeps crashing or your customer service is unresponsive.
Customer experience V/s customer service
It is easy to confuse customer experience with customer service. You might even be unknowingly using them synonymously. So, before digging into the 2021 trends of customer experience, let’s clear this confusion.
- Customer service is a small, but vital part of CX. It refers to the various touchpoints within the experience where a consumer requests and gets help or assistance, whereas…
- Customer experience is much larger than customer service. It refers to all the touchpoints and interactions that a customer will ever have with your business, whether it is the first time they ever heard about you on Google or in a blog to the time when they used your product, and so on.
Customer experience trends dominating the horizon
Customers want hyper-personalized experiences and there are data to support that. As per Accenture, 75% of customers are more likely to buy from brands that know their name, purchase history, and/or recommends them items based on their interaction with the brand. Customers like to be remembered and recognized. It makes them feel special and it can help boost customer retention as well.
Take, for example, Amazon. The technology company excels in hyper-personalization as it welcomes customers using their name and also recommends items to buy based on their shopping and/or browsing history. Another great example would be Netflix. The content platform delivers hyper-personalized experiences by recommending to users what to watch next based on their viewing pattern.
The table below is an excerpt from a Deloitte report that builds on this notion and explains the two examples in detail.
We’ve also received the memo on hyper-personalization and had helped design the flagship app of Airtel for their Bangladeshi customers with a focus on personalization. The app is designed to greet users with their names so that they feel recognized.
2. An increasing invasion of bots, but for all the good reasons
Even though the whole idea behind creating a user-friendly app or website is to make users self-sufficient, they may still need assistance. They might have questions and would want to reach out. Since the online world never sleeps, the best way to offer resolutions to customer queries is through chatbots. Modern, AI-powered chatbots can route customers, triage issues, and even answer routine questions. And they can do these on their own!
With chatbots supporting your customer service team, you can meet customer expectations and provide them with an amazing customer experience. Also, chatbots will make your customers feel that you are available for them around-the-clock.
3. Harmonious balance between automation and humanity
Automation is a way for brands to reduce costs associated with customer service, along with accelerating resolution time for service requests. For example, the use of chatbots. However, even in 2021, not everyone trusts chatbots. Also, chatbots are only able to resolve issues if they understand the context. Sometimes, customers need a little more assistance than what automated bots can handle and this is where human agents have to step in. So, humans are still important when it comes to digital customer experience. You need to find a way to combine humanity and automation to provide the best possible customer experience.
4. Payments will be the starting point for designing new experiences
Apple, Uber, Ola, and other technology companies have taught everyone to love the simplicity of embedded payment. Who doesn’t like to link their digital wallets, UPI, or cards and pay with just a click? Simple, right? But, a glimpse of the future when it comes to payments is shown by the Amazon Go stores. Patrons only have to use their mobile app to enter the stores, they can select the items that they want and simply leave – checkout isn’t required. This is more than just a seamless and hassle-free way to pay, but a much more convenient way to shop.
In the future, invisible payments are slated to evolve and grow at an exponential rate. According to Inc42, they will heighten customer convenience and decrease the time spent on completing an action. It can even make customers overlook some of the flaws within the website/app and so, UX designers are probably going to start with the payment and build an experience around it.
5. Brutal honesty and transparency
Honest is the new currency in the digital world and Sprout Social’s research revealed that 86% of customers prefer brands that are brutally honest and transparent, especially when it comes to their personal data. You have to be honest about how you’re going to use their personal information and avoid turning into Mark Zuckerberg of your industry. Data breaches are intolerable and would result in providing a negative customer experience.
So, now you know the secret to improving customer experience in 2021. If you need any help, UX designers from Divami are experienced and up-to-date with the market trends. You can check out the portfolio and get in touch.