It seems like every day, there's a new technology popping up. It's tempting to try every new advancement and follow every new trend, but it can be dangerous. Not because of the cost, or the energy involved (though both can be daunting), but because it may cause you to lose sight of the most important aspect of business... the customer experience.
It's important to remember that technology is a tool, not a goal. If you are focused on the shiny new toys, rather than serving your customers better than the next company, technology won't save you.
The following marketing trends are meant to improve your customer's experience, streamline their buying process, and resolve their challenges. You may not see a return on your investment (ROI) immediately, but if you keep your customer's satisfaction at the forefront of your goals, your bottom line will benefit.
The Top Customer Experience (CX) Trends to Watch for This Year
1. Stand Out With Quantified Differentiation
Why should your customers shop with you? The answer to that lies in what makes your business different from its competitors. Your ability to effectively communicate your unique selling point in turn relies on your positioning.
When was the last time you thought about how your business could transform your customers’ lives? What values does your business stand for that resonate with your customers? One of the best ways to do this is by creating buyer personas of your ideal customers. The best buyer personas go beyond simple demographics and take into account the psychological characteristics of customers, such as their hopes, fears, wants, and needs.
2. Stay Digital
The pandemic accelerated many changes that were already in progress towards digitization, but it also forced new changes, especially for businesses that relied heavily on in-person interactions. Even as the world opens back up, many of these changes are here to last, from Zoom office meetings to online webinars, teach-ins, and hang-outs. Your business will benefit by keeping the digital channels it created during the pandemic alive and expanding them to increase touchpoints with your customers after the pandemic ends.
3. Open Up Your Business
If you had to choose between eating at a restaurant with an open kitchen or a closed one, which would you pick? Just as customers prefer to see how their food is made, opening your business up to the outside world can deepen consumer trust and engagement with your brand. Consumers are becoming more discriminating in how they spend their money, and if you can show that your business makes people’s lives better, they’ll be more likely to spend. Don’t just tell how you’re making your workers and customers smile or saving the world: show it!
4. Embrace Hyper-personalization
Personalization continues to be a critical trend in marketing and relies heavily on your ability to collect information about your customers. Every touchpoint your business has with customers presents an opportunity for personalization, from customer service calls to the content they see on your site. Gathering, organizing, and using that data requires customer relationship management software.
5. Help Customers With Self-Service
Many customers want to be able to help themselves and expect self-service capabilities on your website. They know that customer service departments are stretched and may opt to self-serve, especially if they face a long wait time for a routine or minor issue. Customers are growing more independent, and your business could thrive if you enable them to get more out of it without an intermediary. Even allowing potential customers to handle simple tasks, such as getting an estimate, can move them along the conversion path.
6. Keep Up With Privacy Changes
Consumers are growing more vigilant about protecting their privacy online and regulators are following suit. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is already in effect on websites across the world and places strict limits on what types of data can be collected and stored by companies. The upcoming California Privacy Act takes effect in 2023 and places similar limitations on data collection. Apple may also begin to limit data collection for third-party advertisers on its devices.
7. Use Chatbots in Customer Service
Artificial intelligence is growing in capabilities by leaps and bounds, transforming the chatbot into a vital component of your customer service system. Chatbots let you scale the number and quality of touchpoints with your customers and free up your human resources to focus on higher-value tasks. A chatbot can handle FAQs and guide visitors through your site to answer their questions and to help them convert.
What's Next?: CX Beyond 2021
As technology continues to evolve, businesses must recognize that CX will ultimately control their bottom line. A business that offers excellent customer experience and customer delight reduce its acquisition costs and increase the lifetime value of each customer. CX looks set to only increase in importance in the coming years, and learning how to adapt now can improve your business now and for the future!