4 customer experience trends that will shape 2021 and beyond

Customer experience has become the center of all activities for all major brands. They have realized that it can be a major differentiator — one that is more powerful than price and quality itself. Major studies have also confirmed that customers tend to remain loyal or abandon the band for rival brands, with customer experience as the deciding factor.

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A study by PwC found that 59% of customers will walk away after several bad experiences, 17% after just one bad experience, even if they loved the brand in the past.
Customer experience has become serious business, and it is necessary for every business to be in the know of what is happening in their space throughout the year.

That said, 2020 has been a year of global turmoil and significant changes to what customers perceive as experience. What does 2021 hold for small businesses? Here is a sneak peek into the probable events that will share customer experience in 2021 and beyond.

1. Cross-functional team collaboration will enhance CX

In 2020, the global pandemic forced the world to adopt remote work not as an option but as a necessity. One downside of remote working is that it makes teamwork difficult. It curtails information sharing as finding the right person who can provide the information can prove to be difficult.

However, with this difficulty came another opportunity. Businesses started rampantly relying on project management software, real-time communication, and collaboration tools that will bring teams and the information ecosystem that they hold within them together as a single unit. It made information available anywhere, anytime seamlessly.

From sales to marketing and even customer support, every major function has realized the importance and benefit of such high-level collaboration. Perhaps, the biggest benefactors of cross-functional team collaboration would be the engineering teams. Bringing together developers, testers, and system analysts on the same board can accelerate project deliverables and innovation.

Although this began as a trend with large-scale enterprises, today, even small and medium scale businesses are actively adopting cross-functional team collaboration for delivering upscale customer experience.

2. Live chat will become a staple choice for real-time support

One of the luxuries of the past decade that has become a default offering in recent years is real-time support. Thanks to advancements in cloud telephony, chat support and live video support, it is now possible to cater to user’s needs on a real-time basis.

Even in real-time support, live chat software has soared in popularity. They can be easily integrated into any web page, thus making it is easier to inform website visitors, enquire about their requirements, or even capture leads from squeeze pages.

In fact, live chat can solve customer issues in 23 seconds compared to a longer 42 seconds taken by a customer service rep. The few seconds shaved off is definitely a game changer in customer experience from the customer's perspective.

That said, live chat is a trend that is on the fast track to becoming mainstream technology.

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3. Self-service will get more attention for improvement in CX

Millennial customers have a different time about time and convenience. They are willing to do things on their own and fast rather than wait in a long phone queue to ask a designated agent for information. It is no surprise that self-support systems like knowledge base articles, chatbots, live chat software, and similar tools have become popular.

And self-support can definitely take CX notches above. By providing self-service, users are able to command information and services at their beck and call without having to rely on anything. This form of independence in getting things done on their own makes them more loyal to the brand.

4. CX in 2021 is more about relationship than transactions

Relationships are worth their weight in gold. It is relationships that bring customers to remain loyal to a brand even there are countless other alternatives in the market. For businesses building long-term relationships with their customers can reap huge dividends.

Relationships help control churn and maximize customer retention. As a result, the business is spared from having to invest heavily in Customer Acquisition Costs (CACs).

In fact, studies have proven that improving customer retention by 5% can improve profitability anywhere between 25% to 95%. Improving customer retention can create a huge domino effect on business growth.

Hence, businesses are going to spend a significant amount of time building personal relationships with their customers that will stand the test of time.

Conclusion

Change is the only constant. There is no denying this fact. Even with customer experience, there is nothing that will remain the same forever. Things ought to change from time-time-time, like seasons.

In 2020, we saw the world shift towards the virtual mode of consuming everything — right from content to services. As a result, customer experience also underwent a serious shift in direction and definition. This shift will have a ripple effect on the changes that are going to happen in 2021.

We did a round-up of the most probable trends that are the strongest competitors to become mainstream practices. Amidst all these trends is the common theme of putting the customer first. Or to quote Jeff Bezos being a customer-obsessed company.

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