Customer experience trends for 2021May 03, 2021
Although the pandemic has had a huge effect on our behavior, the trends that stand out, and the ones that will most affect us in the coming years are not pandemic-native only, rather than trends that were already there, and now they have ‘just’ been greatly accelerated.
Let’s have a look into some of them:
Emotive technology: Brand intimacy, which is the ability to generate positive emotions in a customer, helps brands drive sales and customer loyalty. As companies have big data to understand what their customers really feel, the leap from nudging people on the basis of their behavior to influencing them on the basis of their emotions is an increasingly small one.
Online Word of Mouth marketing: Real-life interaction with family, friends, and colleagues became extremely limited the past few months because of the pandemic, having a significant impact on brands, now that offline word of mouth is almost non-existent. This evolution could make online word of mouth increase in importance, as customers will be looking in the direction of influencers or online reviews and brands will definitely be on the lookout for new online ways to spread the word around.
The zero customer experience: In the next few years we will see the rise of the zero thinking experience, where customers outsource certain decisions to AI. While many believe that this conflicts with our freedom of selection choice, intelligent, unbiased, and transparent algorithms could maybe the first step into our better - hybrid - consuming selves.
Habit loops: Habit loop is the neurological loop that’s responsible for a habit. There are three components: cue, routine, and reward e.g. for social media a new notification is the cue, the routine involves pulling out a phone to check the notification, and the reward is seeing a new message from a friend or a new comment social media. Implementing habit loops that keep customers engaged in digital environments will become a priority. Big platforms have been using them for years. Brands have realized they need to catch up.
Omnichannel communication: Omnichannel marketing has been an ever-growing concept as brands look to increase their presence on digital channels and social media platforms. As customers spend more time online, they will expect more from businesses, and there will be an expectation to have a consistent voice across all platforms. Creating an omnichannel customer experience starts with tools, like a CRM system to organize customer information in one central place and a headless CMS platform that can connect to multiple frontend presentation layers to give that omnichannel experience delivery.
AI-assisted customer service: Artificial intelligence continues to weave its way into the business. Many companies already use bots to automate sales and marketing tasks, and the digital customer experience is being impacted even more through chatbots. AI for customer experience will be a game-changer for brands who choose to hop on this trend, providing an easy way for consumers to find answers to their problems more quickly, i.e. by connecting them to a knowledge base or FAQ section of your site.
Digital transformation: In 2021, digital will continue to be a force and bridge the gap between the way things were done before the pandemic and during, even as many countries worldwide adapt to a new way of doing things. As things continue to improve, many brands will consider simply reverting to the status quo and how things were done before, but that would be a mistake. Don’t forget the things which worked during the pandemic and instead use them to help bridge the gap.
Personalization: Personalization is expected by customers worldwide and it will be a determining factor in market success over the coming years. Personalizing the customer experience starts with the data available on them, leading to the creation of detailed customer personas to guide the content with each customer and also the use of marketing automation tools.
Predictive analytics: Brands have access to much more customer data than they ever had before. In fact, customers are happy to give up that data if it means more benefits for them. Companies that want to get ahead and improve their customers’ experience will invest more into predictive analytics. D2C eCommerce companies, in particular, can benefit from the use of analytics to help predict stock and inventory levels based on what users are currently viewing and continuing to purchase.