Trends come and go, but valuing the customer never goes out of style. And in the era of the “Great Resignation,” business leaders are extending that sentiment to employees as well.
In 2021, companies hit the reset button on customer innovation and the employee experience. Now, leading firms are doubling down on those innovations and insights to drive both resilience and growth. If last year was a time for reflection and last-minute solutions, now is the time to act with purpose. And in order to do so, companies should be mindful of CX trends to maintain their momentum for transformative change.
Trend 1: Leading companies will excel at empathy, safety, and convenience
For customers and employees, empathy, safety, and convenience are intertwined. Especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people want reassurance that the companies they do business with are taking precautions to keep them safe, even if those measures aren’t entirely rational (see: hygiene theater).
Customers and employees also want to be treated with respect as humans. According to IDC, by 2023, enterprises that excel at empathy and safety at scale will outperform those that don’t by 40%. The companies that will drive continued loyalty will prioritize these expectations. Small details such as addressing customers by their first name can go a long way. Expect customer-centric organizations to fine-tune authentic, frictionless, secure activities as brand differentiators.
Tip: Look for opportunities to humanize interactions across the organization and ensure performance metrics align with those goals.
Trend 2: Proactive support will be a competitive differentiator
Proactive support—identifying and resolving customer issues before customers are aware of them—is a massive opportunity to increase customer goodwill and reduce costs. Yet, many companies fail to take advantage of it. A recent Gartner survey of more than 6,000 customers revealed that only 13% of consumers reported receiving any type of proactive customer service.
Proactive customer support begins with employees; it requires organizational advocacy, technology investments, analytics capabilities, and robust training. In return, the customer benefits from convenient, proactive support which builds a deeper connection with the brand. Meanwhile, the model generates predictable revenue for the business because so long as it continues to provide value for customers, they will continue to pay for the service.
Tip: Identify areas of the customer journey where proactive support will have the most impact and work with an experienced partner for fast and effective deployment.
Trend 3: Fast 24/7 support will become the norm
In today’s hyperconnected world where it’s possible to talk to someone on the other side of the globe instantly for free, limited customer support hours are no longer acceptable. Customers expect brands to be accessible 24/7 and will hold it against them if they fail to meet that expectation.
Even if a business has not received complaints about its customer support hours, it’s worth paying attention to this trend. As technology advances, there may be an opportunity to pivot to a different labor model such as nearshore outsourcing or introduce a hybrid human/digital approach that cost-effectively extends the workforce and delivers added value to customers.
Tip: Explore opportunities to cost effectively expand coverage such as automation and offshore, onshore, or nearshore support.
Trend 4: Data privacy will be treated as a valuable commodity
According to a KPMG survey, 86% of consumers said data privacy is a growing concern for them, 68% are concerned about the amount of data being collected about them, and 30% aren’t willing to share their personal data for any reason.
Growing concerns about data privacy is a critical trend that companies must address in order to maintain customer trust. We see a shift in companies committing to these expectations partly as a result of global data regulations and to drive customer loyalty. Brands that demonstrate a responsible approach to data privacy will be rewarded by consumers with higher spend, lower defection rates, and their affinity.
Tip: Go above and beyond regulations to communicate the value that customers receive in exchange for sharing their data. Train associates to explain what the data will be used for and include brief explanations on online forms.
Trend 5: True omnichannel service will move closer to reality
For years, companies have aspired to deliver a seamless omnichannel customer experience but often fell short. We predict that the accelerated need to provide a consistent environment for customers across touchpoints and channels will finally spur organizations to prioritize targeted cross-channel connections as a form of business resilience and future growth.
Tip: Don’t embark on an omnichannel transformation initiative without defining strategy and design principles, mapping out customer journeys, and getting employee buy-in across the organization.
For more trends, check out the full report, CX trends: the 2022 edition, here.