2021 CX Trends: Omnichannel Will be Omnipresent
The new year underlines the fact that it’s impossible to embrace the growing trends for intelligent automation, self-service or AI-powered chatbots and virtual agents unless every one of your organization’s customer touchpoints are part of a true omnichannel platform.
During the initial COVID-19 wave, Zendesk client data found 64% of consumers globally had started using a new customer service channel. Our own research supports this. We found there was a 30% spike in self-service use and a 100% rise in consumers using social media for communicating with brands. However, preference for the telephone was overtaken by email and chat for those attempting issue resolution.
Voice, chat, two-way SMS, social, chatbots, email and self-service. These are all very different channels and each preferred by a different customer group at a different moment for different issues. However, unless they are all integrated into an omnichannel customer experience (CX) platform, the levels of service your customers receive and the quality of data and insights you’re able to collect to continue refining your customer relationships will be very different across each of these touchpoints.
Boost Customer Loyalty and Build Your Business
This is a major priority for 2021. This will be the year where organizations focus their attention on retaining existing customers while simultaneously growing their market share in order to shore up their business following a year of upheaval. But doing so is only possible through knowing customer behaviors and their preferences. Salesforce data shows 84% of consumers globally now consider CX to be as important to brand loyalty as the products or services it provides.
An omnichannel platform provides a unified level of customer engagement that increases convenience and reduces effort. At the same time, it enables organizations to harvest greater volumes of data needed for genuine customer insights. This data that would otherwise be trapped in silos relative to different touchpoints, channels or processes. This increased access to data is key to developing personalized customer services, improving products, goods and services and for constantly refining the performance of digital and automated channels. Chatbots and conversational IVRs only perform to customer expectations when they are fed a steady stream of useful data.
Therefore, it’s little wonder that between 2010 and 2020, the number of organizations investing in omnichannel platforms rose by 300% according to PwC.
Omnichannel is Crucial to Meeting Customer Expectations
Your customers expect a seamless experience every time they interact with your brand. Delivering on this expectation is only possible if as customers move from one channel to another, their issue and any information already provided moves with them.
Three in four consumers expect to be able to pick up where they left off as they switch between channels. Microsoft data shows that for 32% of consumers, globally, the most frustrating aspect of CX is having to repeat the same information a number of times, while, 75% customers, when connected to a live agent, expect that agent to be both friendly and knowledgeable of their purchase history.
But in addition to enabling brands to successfully follow a customer along the path to purchase or the route to resolution, this enhanced data collection enables organizations to gain the greatest possible value from technologies such as speech and customer analytics. Thus, you can understand and respond to customer sentiment in real time. Then, you can identify and prioritize the consumers with the greatest lifetime value and, equally, preemptively spot and reach out to customers who are about to churn and make them an offer to keep them loyal.
A Differentiated CX Makes a Big Difference
CX is the final battle ground in the fight to win market share – 73% of consumers say that it takes just one extraordinary brand experience to raise their CX expectations for all other organizations going forward. Conversely, our own research shows that 73% of U.S. and U.K. adults are ready to walk away from a brand for good following a single poor customer experience. In other words, the effort is worth it.
Effective use of the data unlocked through an omnichannel approach can make customers feel truly understood and create the personalized experiences that consumers value most. Get this right and the resulting 360° customer view will forge stronger relationships that lead to a CX that increases loyalty and lifetime value while minimizing customer turnover. This is why 2021 is the year of analytics as organizations work to break customer data out of silos and unlock the real-time insights that will drive interactions and create stronger, long-term customer connections.
To realize all of these benefits and to ensure organizations can continue aligning with their customers no matter how their needs evolve or how the business grows, we created our Enterprise Experience Platform, EXP+™.
It’s a is a flexible solution with complete cloud capability, designed to simplify the delivery of end-to-end customer experience (CX) services, while boosting efficiency, effectiveness and customer satisfaction. By blending best-in-class technologies with global leadership in end-to-end CX management and delivery, EXP+ helps unlock the greatest business value in the shortest time frame.
EXP+ is key to insuring an omnichannel solution can be properly and seamlessly integrated into a business. Thanks to a modular design – that provides instant access to an ecosystem of supporting services, tools as well as industry expertise – EXP+ gives organizations everything they need to begin and then continue on their journey towards digitalization, without leaving their people their customers or their data behind.