If 2020 taught us anything, it's that businesses must be able to adapt quickly, efficiently, and smartly - and that customers still expect seamless, omnichannel experiences even during the most chaotic and uncertain times.
As we embark upon a new fiscal year, in which the COVID-19 pandemic is hopefully mostly behind us, the lessons learned over the past 15 months or so ought to guide brands moving forward. Businesses need to remain agile, continually adapt, and be open to new ways of supporting customers and employees alike.
1. Embrace the digital customer
The pandemic made it imperative for consumers to have quick, easy digital experiences - and that demand won't be going away any time soon. After a year in which so much business moved to digital, there are no more excuses for brands having subpar offerings. There's no going back: from early adopters to customers who first went digital during the pandemic, many people see digital now as their first or only point of contact with brands.
Not every digital customer is the same, especially those who are new to digital service channels. In the new year, it's important to keep an eye on customer success metrics and look for opportunities to improve the experience, such as with soft skills training or new learning curricula.
2. Improve CX through remote work
It's no secret that more work is being done from home these days. The status quo continues to be upended with text messaging, 24/7 support access, and other tools that enable an immediate, digital-first experience.
Amid all this change lies great opportunities for brands: to reimagine customer support with new digital self-service tools, increase resolution rates, reduce customer effort, and increase brand loyalty.
The intersection of remote work and digital innovation is poised to transform customer relationships. In 2021, invest the time and resources into mapping remote or digital customer journeys to understand where friction occurs at digital touchpoints and to make them as effortless as engaging in face-to-face interactions. This will improve overall customer experiences, which will help retain customers in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
3. Balance automation with human touch
COVID-19 pushed legacy systems and procedures well past peak capacity. The pandemic also laid bare costly inefficiencies and a reliance on manual processing. As digital demands increase, companies need to expedite plans to integrate more automation and AI into processes and workflows. Automating simple tasks in the contact centre, for instance, reduces costs while increasing speed and compliance. But more complex interactions could benefit from a human touch.
In the upcoming year, identify simple versus complex tasks. Determine which high-volume tasks can be resolved quickly via automation and which ones would benefit from a skilled human associate, perhaps with the support of a virtual assistant in the background.
4. Offer a flexible, diverse workplace
After a year unlike any other, more employees are demanding workplace flexibility. Leading companies will differentiate themselves by equipping employees with the right tools, training, and resources to succeed whether they're working from home, in a corporate office, or in a hybrid arrangement.
Use workplace flexibility as a recruiting tool. Teams across the organization such as HR, legal, and IT should collaborate on ideas on how to attract new talent with innovative employee experiences.
For many employees, an inclusive workplace is equally as important, or moreso, as a flexible workplace.
Diversity is key to a thriving business, now more than ever. Employees from different demographic groups, cultures, sexual orientations, and other background origins are crucial drivers of innovation and marketplace understanding. And when employees feel valued, that drives increased positive performance results, retention, and engagement.
AI bots can help companies become more inclusive. Company leaders and employees can practice having sensitive, diversity-related conversations with a bot designed for this purpose to receive objective, measured feedback as well as specific coaching to improve real conversations faster and more efficiently.
5. Work with a knowledgeable partner
Great CX in the new fiscal year will take strategic planning and implementation, but brands don't have to go it alone.
TTEC can help companies create innovative, flexible customer experiences at scale and budget with speed with Customer Experience as a Service (CXaaS). CXaaS is an end-to-end managed services approach that combines CX strategy, technology innovation, data integration, automation, and employee expertise to quickly develop and expand customer-centric initiatives. CXaaS emphasizes outcomes with flexibility to change.
We can also help brands accelerate growth, even during uncertain times, with TTEC Agility, which provides contact centre flexibility and speed for small and medium-sized businesses, those new to outsourcing, or companies with a Champion Challenger BPO model. Agility delivers flexible outsourced contact centre technology and support backed by decades of experience.