7 Customer and Employee Experience Trends Shaping 2021

Businesses in Europe have an opportunity—and a challenge—in 2021 to adapt to an increasingly digitised world and ensure that their customer relationships outlast the coronavirus pandemic. Get ready to hit the reset button on customer innovation and reshape the employee experience.

Here are 7 trends we identified to help navigate the new customer and employee landscape and how to make them actionable today. Now is the time to be bold, the world is evolving and so should you.

Trend 1: The digital customer takes the lead

The pandemic propelled many emerging digital behaviours such as online banking, online grocery shopping and telemedicine into mainstream use. And there’s no going back. For example, 60% of U.K. adults who used online banking during lockdown say they are likely to continue doing so at the same frequency after the pandemic ends, according to Deloitte Digital Consumer Trends, U.K.

From early adopters to customers who are using digital channels for the first time, many now see digital as the first—or only—point of contact with brands.

Trend 2: Customer trust is paramount

More than ever, customers need to feel safe in order to do business with a brand. Customer perception and trust are critical. This is true virtually with customer data and physically with masks, cleaning and other pandemic safety protocols.

The average customer’s comfort level could also shift, depending on various factors. Monitoring real-time customer sentiment and other sources of customer insight are important to ensure businesses deliver the right experience when it matters most to their customers.

Trend 3: Remote work ushers in new opportunities to better serve customers

The intersection of remote work and digital innovation is poised to transform customer relationships. As more business is conducted from home, the status quo is getting up-ended with text-messaging, 24/7 support access, and other tools to enable an immediate, digital-first experience.

Companies have an opportunity to reimagine customer support with new digital self-service tools, processes, and solutions to increase resolution rates, reduce customer effort, and increase brand loyalty.

Trend 4: Enterprises embrace automation with a human touch

COVID-19 pushed legacy systems and procedures well past peak capacity. It also exposed costly inefficiencies and a reliance on manual processing.

As digital demands increase, companies are moving up roadmaps for integrating more automation and AI into processes and workflows. For example, automating simple tasks in the contact centre reduces costs while increasing speed and compliance.

5: Cybersecurity becomes a top priority

A shift to remote work and increased digital services has placed a spotlight on cybersecurity. Research from Walter Roberts Group has shown that funding for U.K. cybersecurity start-ups has increased since the beginning of lockdown by 940%. A rise in cloud adoption requires greater infrastructure security and employee-driven data leaks (whether intentional or not) are a growing concern.

In many cases, cybersecurity and IT professionals are under pressure to achieve more with tighter budgets. The ability of IT teams to quickly shift priorities as the company’s needs change will be critical as businesses adapt to a new reality.

6: Redefine workplace flexibility

As more employees demand workplace flexibility, strategies for driving productivity and engagement must also change. 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.

7: Diversity and inclusivity become essential

From startups to Fortune 500 corporations, employers are waking up to the fact that diversity and workplace inclusivity are more than a hot topic—they’re essential to building a thriving business. Employees from different demographic groups, cultures, sexual orientations and other background origins are a key driver of innovation and marketplace understanding. And when employees feel valued, that drives increased positive performance results, retention and engagement.

Be ready for change

2020 taught us that CX is never stagnant. Work, life and play was turned on its head and we had to change. This year it’s time to take these changes and turn them into real results that are not only about adapting but thriving. Stay ahead of the competition by anticipating customer and employee needs and expectations every step of the way.

If you’ll like to learn more about the trends shaping customer and employee experience and discover 7 top tips to build into your organisations transformation strategy, download TTEC’s EMEA CX Trends: the 2021 Edition strategy guide today.