Customer Experience News & Trends

4 top trends for the 2021 customer experience

We all hope most things look different in 2021 – and the customer experience is no different. Here’s where experts say the biggest changes will be – and how you can adapt.

Customers will expect different kinds of experiences – distanced, efficient and personal, at least for some time, according to the Intercom’s 2021 Customer Support Trends Report.

In fact, 73% of customer experience leaders said customer expectations for personalized and fast help are on the rise – but just 42% feel sure they can meet those expectations.

“The … transformative trends point toward a new era of fast and personal customer support,” said Kaitlin Pettersen, Global Director, Customer Support at Intercom.

Here’s what Intercom researchers found – plus tips on how you can incorporate the trends into your 2021 customer experience.

1. Get more proactive

Almost 80% of customer experience leaders want to move from a reactive approach to service to a proactive one in 2021.

One of the best ways to get more proactive is to work closer with your marketing team. Marketers can help service teams stay ahead of customers’ needs because they:

  • create promotions that drive traffic, sales, questions and demand to customer experience teams
  • keep close tabs on customer behavior, often identifying what customers will be interested in or are losing interest in, and
  • monitor engagement, recognizing customers’ levels of interest and activity online and through other channels.

So work closer with your marketing team in 2021 – even if it’s just getting a seat at their table.

2. Communicate efficiently

Almost two-thirds of customer experience leaders say they hit roadblocks monthly because their people and tools don’t communicate as well as they need them to.

Many say their support technology doesn’t integrate with the technonolgy other areas of their organization use – and they often need information from those areas.

While investing in the right automation, workflows and chatbots will help improve communication difficulties, they’ll only work well if employees learn the technology and stay up to date on it.

So as you budget and plan to effectively communicate next year, include the time, resources and incentives for employees to stay on top of the tools and their capabilities.

3. Drive value

Researchers found many customer support and experience operations will want to move from being considered to a “cost center” to a “value driver.”

How? More than 50% of customer support leaders plan to measure their team’s impact on customer retention and renewals next year. They’re going to prove their front-line employees keep customers loyal and spending.

Plan now to gather data at least monthly to show your team’s work and its affect on customer retention. The closer you can align effort and hard dollar retention results, the more likely you’ll get more customer experience support in 2021.

4. Get chatty

Many customer experience leaders have adopted and increased chatbot use in recent years. And 60% of those who use chatbots say their resolution time has improved.

Are chatbots in your service arsenal? If not, it could be a smart investment to improve the customer experience and spending: 30% of leaders who use chatbots say their customer satisfaction ratings have gone up.

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