As the world continues to live through unprecedented times with the current health crisis, companies are consistently rethinking and reshaping their customer service practices. While customer experience has been a top priority for companies in the past few years, its definition has since evolved. Today, companies realize that customer relationships are an essential part of this experience. These uncertain times mean that people are looking for trust, reassurance, and a human connection—and they want their favorite brands to offer all of this as well. Indeed, the 2020 Salesforce State of the Connected Customer report found that 66% of customers expect brands to understand their needs and expectations. Therefore, brands that listen closely to their customers can build solid customer relationships, and these strong connections lead to greater customer experiences. Here are seven major customer experience trends to look out for in 2022.
Today’s customers want to connect with brands on their favorite channels—from social media to phone to instant messaging and beyond. This new trend is redefining the way in which brands are interacting with their customers. Being able to meet your customers where they are active is no longer just a competitive advantage but a basic customer expectation. Not meeting those customers where they are is a sure way to lose their loyalty. Brands must offer a seamless and consistent customer experience across all digital channels while keeping the traditional voice channel robust and efficient. It is important to map out a seamless customer journey that ensures easy switching between channels and agents who are trained to manage each channel flawlessly. In addition, a CRM solution integrated in omnichannel contact center software can ensure a 360° vision of each customer for deeper customer knowledge. In this manner, agents can identify customers quickly at the moment of contact and offer more efficient and personalized service without asking customers to repeat information.
Companies also need to invest more in fostering stronger customer relationships. While customers appreciate and even expect advanced technologies to assist them, they still look for a human connection. Even if your chatbots are more than capable of answering simple level 1 customer demands, customers want to be able to talk to agents when needed. They need empathy from agents when they are frustrated and have wasted time trying to solve an issue. Training agents to improve their listening skills and show empathy for customers is essential to building solid customer relationships. Even though you can’t deliver a great customer service without technologies, enhancing customer experience involves human interaction.
For companies to truly understand what their customers want, a data-driven approach is essential. Without taking an in-depth look at contact center metrics and customer feedback in all its forms, companies can never create the experiences that modern customers are looking for. Voice of the Customer, or VoC, involves gathering customer data and feedback from all channels and using the information to create stronger customer relationships. Customer feedback is perhaps the most valuable resource of all that needs attention, as it tells you exactly what your customers are thinking and what you can do to improve. To better understand your customers, develop a VoC strategy that captures information about customer frustration, satisfaction, needs, and expectations. KPIs are an excellent source of data such as customer effort, customer satisfaction, and Net Promoter scores. Surveys are a great way to obtain both qualitative and quantitative data regarding customer experiences. Social listening tools can reveal what customers are saying about your brand on social media platforms, blogs, review websites, and other internet sites. Lastly, contact center transcripts can reveal why customers contact your brand and how service and products may be improved.
Our modern society has become more fast-paced, and so have the people living in it. People are no longer willing to wait for what they want—they want everything now. This also means that customers want to save time, and brands must meet this need for speed by offering better self-service options. IVR menus should be designed to direct customers quickly and efficiently to the option they need. For example, a customer should be able to check an account balance or delivery status swiftly with the assistance of advanced speech recognition technology if needed. IVR systems with intelligent skills-based routing can also direct customers to the most qualified agent available if human assistance is required. Your company can also promote self-service with the use of AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants. Featured on websites or instant messaging platforms, these digital helpers can assist customers in obtaining answers to simple requests. Just be sure to give customers the option to speak to an agent if needed. Chatbots should be able to direct customers to agents when necessary.
Call center agents have a tremendous responsibility to communicate with customers efficiently. While every second counts, the quality of a conversation does as well. Yet, agents are human and make mistakes. To ensure that agents keep communications clear and professional, some companies are turning to recall technology for use in their call centers. This fairly new technology enables agents to delete or correct messages quickly in real time without interrupting the flow of a service experience. Ultimately, contact centers save time and money while offering personalized and efficient customer service. However, many contact center solutions and customer service centers have not yet adopted its use as the trend is just starting to develop.
Companies continue to leverage data from their reports and analyses to improve customer experiences. Data-driven customer experiences help improve the customer service delivered.
Real-time dashboards provide valuable insights about agent performance across all channels, telling companies exactly where and how service may be improved. For example, contact center supervisors may monitor KPIs such as NPS, CSAT, and FCR to determine service quality. By analyzing the metrics from your agents and customers, your company benefits in two ways. First, you can better understand your customers’ expectations. Secondly, you can better monitor agent progress and identify their strengths and weaknesses. By identifying and understanding these metrics as a whole, your brand can redefine its customer experience strategy. You can, for example, allocate agents to different tasks and varying levels of questions with regard to their skillset and expertise.
Cloud adoption has been a major contact center trend for years, and it’s not slowing down. The cloud offers numerous benefits for companies aiming to optimize their customer experiences. Cloud solutions are affordable with quick and easy implementation, which is especially important during unpredictable time periods such as the current pandemic. This scalability and flexibility enable contact center agents to work on site or remotely, and additional agents can be added as businesses adapt to changes. Everything is securely stored and managed in the cloud, with no need for expensive hardware.
In 2019, the International Data Corporation (IDC) Spending Guide projected that spending on customer experience technologies would pass $600 billion in 2022. Furthermore, a 2020 Gartner survey found that close to 90% of companies had already appointed a dedicated customer experience executive. As these statistics show, investing in the tools and human resources for greater customer experiences is no longer just an option but a significant and ongoing trend. To win the loyalty of your customers, your company must keep their wishes at heart and continuously evolve to offer stronger relationships that set the foundation for greater customer experiences.
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