Businesses exist to make lives better for the people they serve. If you’re away from your customers, you’re away from the problems they’re facing and away from your mission. The simplest answer to this is? Just be present for them every step of the way – create a 360-degree customer experience that basically tells your customers you’re here for them. Customer experience or CX defines how they interact with your business and how satisfied they are with that experience. That’s it, that’s the only trick you need to know to succeed! Okay, maybe not. But, what next?
Having a customers communication management system in place becomes very important. In simpler words, just find a way that works best for your team to be available to talk to your customers whenever required. And if you keep customer experience trends in mind as you do so, you'll be way ahead of the game. Don't worry – we've done the groundwork for you. So, what are the customer experience trends to look out for in 2022, what are the challenges to expect, and what solutions and tools do you have at your disposal? Let’s see.
Customer experience (CX) trends in 2022
- Rapid digitization: Until 2020, an online presence was an important thing to have. In the past couple of years, digital channels have increasingly become a first-hand traffic source, i.e. people come to you via online routes. The onset of COVID-19 gave everyone more time to spend in front of their screens. The Web has taken over markets, businesses, and customers faster than experts ever thought it would. This report by MicKinsey suggests that 80% of businesses' customer interactions are now digital in nature – a metric that was expected about 3 years from now.
- A shift from personalization to hyper-personalization: Businesses are gathering user data from various channels to create customized customer experiences to deliver tailored products, services, and information. Support agents get user data instantly, which helps them help users through the journey in a way that suits them.
- Customer to customer: A C2C trend is on the rise where people come together through communities like forums and groups to trade products, services, or information. Platforms help create a space for customers and encourage growth for everyone. That's why it pays to learn about them even if you’re not running a platform business.
- Customers are more aware: Customers are becoming increasingly aware of and concerned by the impact of their purchase choices. If a cause demands it, they would choose an alternative product.
- Customers care about the personality of your business: Brands have started making a connection with their customers. People buy for the story, the cause, the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind the product now. Having a unique voice for your brand is going to matter even more in the coming years. This is possible by building a character for your brand and genuinely making relationships with your existing and potential customers and community.
- An omnichannel presence: Customers have grown accustomed to seeing businesses have a consistent presence across all online platforms. Having this consistency has become a standard customers expectation.
- Customers care about the experience being provided: The customer journey that a brand provides has become a key differentiator. Everything you do from the time a customer sees your brand until and after they make purchase matters. Brands must think about ways to make customer journeys thoughtful and memorable.
- More accessible customer service: Brands have made customer service more accessible for customers through a mobile-first approach. They are constantly present to chat on familiar apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, and more.
- AI is empowering businesses while providing the human touch to customers: Bots have become as good as agents. They not only provide helpful, real-time customer service but also access user data to provide personalized answers. And we’ve not even harnessed its full power yet. Read more about it here.
Long story short: Customer experience is what shall differentiate your brand from others. It’s here to stay and is going to become an important factor in determining key business performance indicators like retention and sales.
But wait – let's first address what you need to be thinking about when creating your CX strategy.
Some important things to consider
- Privacy compliance: When you’re building a system to interact with your customers, you’ll be responsible for the user data that you collect. No matter where you’re registered in the world, you’ll need to comply with the data privacy laws of the country where your users are. Such regulations require organizations to implement reasonable data protection measures like end-to-end encryption, guidelines for data breaches, etc. You can choose to collect this data yourself or through a third-party tool. However, do keep in mind that you will always be considered accountable for its ethical usage. Hold on to that thought as it will be of utmost importance as we proceed with this article.
- Building an omnichannel presence: People are spoilt with options. This also means you want to give them the choice of which platform they want to interact with your business depending on the nature of the problem. This flexibility is not a luxury but an expectation now. The major issue: The omnichannel approach has created a burdensome situation for customer service reps. They switch between multiple screens thousands of times a day. So look for a solution that can centralize all of your communications.
- Befriend the bots: Do yourself a favour and get a chatbot. Name her something that people are fascinated with. Spend some time understanding how it can integrate into your existing workflow. Now, wait and watch as it generates qualified leads for you, while building a personality for your business (this is an important emerging CX trend, remember?).
- Opensource vs Cloud: When building your customer engagement stack, you’ll come across a lot of open source and cloud options. Here are the things to consider when making a choice –
Now, you know which are the points to consider when building your tooling stack. Save this up for reference and go with a solution that best suits your needs!
The complete picture
Customer experience should be a vital part of your business framework. To make this happen, you need a strong customer-relationship-management (CRM) system, automated workflows wherever possible, and an app stack that is connected and flexible. What’s even more important is having a mutual CRM strategy across your marketing, sales, and support teams. This will make for a frictionless sales funnel and will help your marketing efforts be more informed about your customers' needs.
The benefits of this are unmatched –
- Once you’re better aware of the problems your users are facing, the kind of mindset they have, and the things they care about, you can drive your marketing efforts accordingly.
- You’ll get an invaluable insight into your users’ preferences and pressing concerns. This will help you stay ahead of the competition.
- The invaluable insights into your customers’ mindset enable the product and sales teams to improve the user journey.
Instant help and support through live chat
By now we know that we want to build or improve the way we communicate with our customers. We also saw the importance of giving instant resources to customers (existing and potential) whenever they’re looking for information. The best way to go about this is to integrate the option of live chat into your customer service strategy. Why so? Here are some quick points to consider:
- According to all the modern customer satisfaction surveys conducted, live chat stays on top of the list, after phone support and help center articles. This means that people not only care about instant help, but also about the privilege of talking through their issues in real-time, sharing links, and saving up information. You can check out this 50 Useful Live Chat Stats and Trends report.
- Both old and new customers are likely to abandon their purchase if the information is not readily available. This is where live chat where a human/bot is constantly available becomes extremely vital. When customers or clients need help completing a task or transaction, they appreciate being able to discuss their options with someone right away.
- Your users’ support history and key information are available with you at all times if you use a good live chat tool. The thing is that even customers know and expect this. So they see value in interacting with you through app windows and not having to repeat their information.
- You can maintain a full history of the chats your agents have had through the live chat software you’re using. You can use labels and notes to collaborate with your teammates and be on the same page about a user’s current status no matter who takes the chat next.
- Regardless of all the benefits and statistics supporting live chat, the truth remains that people expect this option from brands now. That means if you can’t give it to them, the one who is giving it might steal away your customers.
How are we building an all-in-one solution at Chatwoot?
There are several awesome web tools that will help you set up and manage your communication with your customers easily. However, Chatwoot came into being when its creators felt like there was no go-to one-stop solution for all the challenges that support teams face on a regular basis.
Here’s an overview of what we’ve been building:
- Self-host it or use it on the cloud: We built Chatwoot, a 360-degree communications management dashboard. We built the MVP and open sourced it on Github so that others could self-host the software and build their own custom version. Our Cloud Subscription allows you to save time and focus on your most important tasks. Our Enterprise Edition integrates Chatwoot into your existing workflow.
- Privacy-compliant: Self-hosting Chatwoot makes you the sole owner of your user data and keeps you away from the increasing privacy concerns of the world. We also follow strict GDPR regulations for the SAAS version.
- Omnichannel: Chatwoot supports live-chat widget, Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, WhatsApp, Email, etc., as channels. If you want to build a custom channel, you can create it using the API channel.
- Instant user data availability: You can view and filter all the relevant data for your customers on the Contacts tab or alongside your chat. You can also add custom attributes and share this data across teams for facilitating better decision-making.
- Integrations and webhooks: Chatwoot connects with your favourite apps like Slack and WordPress. You can even connect with Dialogflow and Rasa to build a chatbot.
You can even customize your chat widget, collaborate with your team, add automation rules, and use the mobile app version to stay connected with your customers on the go.
Here’s what the dashboard looks like:
Give it a try! If you have any questions or feedback, join the community on Discord.
More and more customers expect businesses to be available and responsive online. Having a communications system in place with your customers and prospects shall help you build a human connection, understand them better, and serve them faster.
We'd love to hear about how you're using new customer experience trends to engage with customers. Tweet at us and let us know.