10 Digital Customer Experience Trends to Watch For in 2021

10 Digital Customer Experience Trends to Watch For in 2021

Source: 10 Digital Customer Experience Trends to Watch For in 2021 (coredna.com)

Many customers have had a difficult time in 2020, and they’re looking for the brands that they’ve stuck by to support them and help make 2021 much better. The good news is that Forrester predicts that 25% of brands will have significant advances in the quality of their customer experience in the year 2021.

How can your brand ensure it’s part of that figure? By focusing on these key trends.

In a hurry? Here are our top 10 digital experience trends for 2021:

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1. Implementing habit loops

Most of what we do as humans comes down to our habits; we are, after all, what we repeatedly do. Habits have a huge impact on how we interact with each other and how we interact with brands.

Pere Monguió of FXStreet explains:

“Implementing habit loops that keep customers engaged in digital environments will become a priority. Big platforms have been using them for years. Brands have realized they need to catch up.”

Digital customer experience trends: Implement habit loop

What is a habit loop? It’s the neurological loop that’s responsible for a habit. There are three components: cue, routine, and reward.

Smartphones and social media are prime examples of habit loop formation. The ping from a new notification is the cue, the routine involves pulling out a phone to check the notification, and the reward is seeing a new message from a friend or a new comment on social media.

What to do:

Habits can make your prospects excited and, in some cases, addicted to what you do as a brand, continually reaching out for more information or rewards. Monguio recommends reading Nir Eyal’s Hooked for more insight into building habit-forming products.

Digital customer experience trends: Hooked

Habits don’t require as much advertising to gain traction since the user views them as indispensable for their way of life. Begin by creating a hook for your product. A hook triggers an action that produces a reward and encourages investment.

Focus on how your brand or product can remove negative emotions and yield positive results for your customers.

For example many SaaS brands highlight their features by showcasing the benefits their products can produce.

Digital customer experience trends: Show benefits

(Source: Nextiva)

Another way to create a habit loop is by framing your product as desirable. Highlight some of your customers in the industry that use your product and the benefits they’ve received from doing so through things like case studies.Read this next:19 eCommerce Case Studies You Need To Steal From

2. Customers will care about how you do things

The customer experience doesn’t only include what the customer receives, but also how they receive it. Customers are paying more attention to how a brand does what it says it will do and are identifying with brands that peel back the curtain and show them how things are getting done.

Max Newton of BusinessDeveloper explains how many brands use video and mobile to highlight the importance of this trend.

“Are you going to be one of the few businesses that shows the customers HOW you develop your product/service? People don’t care about what you do; they want to know that your HOW aligns with their values. Could your customer go for a beer/glass of wine with your team and not feel anxious? This stuff matters; character has made a comeback, show your business’s character. Mobile optimized video is the key.”

What to do:

Go behind the scenes with your customers and show them what a day in the life looks like at your company. Many brands have used influencers to “take over their social media feeds” for a day. You can also do the same thing with your employees.

For example, Airbnb allowed social media influencers to take over their Snapchat soon after they launched on the platform.

Digital customer experience trends: Snapchat takeover

(Source: All About Airbnb)

Another way is by showcasing more about the people involved in your process and inviting your audience to connect with them. For instance, at the end of each of our blog posts we include an author profile with some information about the writer and a way for you to connect with them on social media.

Digital customer experience trends: Author bio

Showcasing how products are built, services are handled, and the team behind the brand can endear your brand to your customers. 

3. Omnichannel customer service

Omnichannel marketing has been an ever-growing concept as brands look to increase their presence on digital channels and social media platforms. From a digital experience perspective, however, omnichannel customer service will be important given the explosion of remote work in the last few months and the distribution of teams.

Victoria Taylor of Traktion.ai explains:

“Customer success at its core is about building a lasting relationship with your client, to ensure they are achieving their desired outcomes whilst using your service/product. In 2020, we’ve seen unprecedented numbers of organisations forced to work remotely. Remote working presents itself numerous challenges in ensuring an optimal customer experience. In 2021 and beyond, brands need to focus on ensuring their distributed departments, teams and functions can effectively communicate and work together to share data about how their customers are using their services.”

Digital customer experience trends: Omnichannel customer service

While the customer experience may be more distributed from your end as a brand, that doesn’t mean customers will lower their expectations. According to Gavin Hirst of Digital Hothouse:

As customers spend more time online, they will expect more from businesses, and there will be an expectation to have a consistent voice across all platforms. This is becoming an expectation for customers rather than a ‘nice to have’. Whether you are interacting with customers on Twitter, email, phone, or they are browsing your website, you need to deliver a consistent experience.”

What to do:

Creating an omnichannel customer experience starts with the tools at your disposal. You’ll need to utilize a CRM system to help you organize your customer information in one central place and allow you to act on it.

But, the backbone of omnichannel will come from a headless CMS platformUsing APIs, a headless CMS can connect to multiple frontend presentation layers to give you that omnichannel experience delivery. Plus, you can integrate your CRM into your CMS to view and manage your content and your customers from one central location.Read this next:Hybrid CMS: A Headless CMS, But With a Front-End

4. Brands will need to quantify their differentiation

“Quantified differentiation – standing out is becoming harder and harder. From a CX perspective, you already become a company where the customer will have higher expectations from you than your competitors. And that’s a good thing. You’ll be more attractive to work with as well.” says Johnathan Dane of KlientBoost.

Digital Customer Experience Trends: Quantified differentiation

Standing out amongst a sea of content and the number of competitors in your industry will be a crucial trend as brands look for ways to differentiate themselves. According to Gartner, as of this year 81% of brands expect to be competing on the basis of customer experience.

What to do:

Differentiating your brand starts with positioning. From a marketing perspective, this begins by contrasting your brand with the way things have always been done and establishing yourself as a new way of doing things.

For example, Hey.com says they’ve cracked the email conundrum to enable users to have more privacy and better organize their inboxes. The reviews have been great thus far.

Digital Customer Experience Trends: Hey

Another way to differentiate the experience customers have with your brand is by establishing your values and what you stand for.

Ben & Jerry’s continually show their support for social justice issues throughout the US. The latest involves partnering with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

5. Chatbots will aid customer service

Artificial intelligence continues to weave its way into business. Many companies already use bots to automate sales and marketing tasks, and the digital customer experience is being impacted even more through chatbots.

Dylan Max of Netomi explains the value of what chatbots can do:

“Response and resolution time is king and AI chatbots allow brands to scale their service on up to 70% of their most frequently asked questions. AI for customer experience will be a game-changer for brands who choose to hop on this trend.”

Digital Customer Experience Trends: Chatbots will aid customer service

What to do:

Companies like Drift and Intercom are building chatbots to help businesses in several different ways. They provide an easy way for consumers to find answers to their problems more quickly.

For instance, you can connect your chatbot to a knowledge base or FAQ section of your site. When a visitor comes to your site, they will notice the chatbot on the home page, and it can prompt them with ways to help them.

Instead of immediately using a customer service representative to help them, the chatbot can point them to an FAQ answer, tutorial, or blog post instead with more information about the problem they’re trying to solve. When the customer service or sales rep reaches out, the user is already primed with some information.Read this next:8 Powerful Ways Chatbots Can Transform Your Customer Experience (Insights From David Cancel, CEO of Drift)

Digital transformation guide

Digital transformation: The definitive guide

Everything you need to know about digital transformation, PLUS a bonus digital transformation sheet that we use internally to track chart vs effort tasks.

6. Double down on self-service

Customers are becoming increasingly more resourceful, and they want brands to respect this as they figure out ways to serve them better.

Ashley Kimler of CopyNoise explains:

“Customer service channels have been overwhelmed to the point that consumers are starting to expect waits. But, because of the experience provided by companies like Amazon, customers know that they don’t have to wait for a representative to initiate returns, refunds, or to have their questions answered.”

Digital Customer Experience Trends: Self-service return

If customers don’t want to wait around for a brand to help them, they will seek a fix to their problem independently. Brands that make it easier for them to do this will reap the benefits.

What to do:

Many of the problems customers face are easily solvable; they just don’t know where to look.

Invest in creating a knowledge base or FAQ section that provides answers and walkthroughs to the most common issues your customers face.

If you’re an eCommerce brand, you can also make it easier for your customers to do things like repeat their orders or process refunds without having to speak to anyone.Read this next:B2B eCommerce: Best Practices, Marketing Strategy & Myths

7. Digital will bridge the gap between the real world

After COVID-19 suddenly disrupted the world, many businesses shifted online and accelerated themselves towards digital transformation. Conferences and events were quickly canceled in the early stages, but soon many of these conferences became virtual events. Team meetings happened over Zoom, as did team bonding exercises and interviews.

Digital Customer Experience Trends: Digital to bridge gap between the real world

In 2021, digital will continue to be a force and bridge the gap between the way things were done before the pandemic and during, even as many countries worldwide adapt to a new way of doing things.

What to do:

As things continue to improve, many brands will consider simply reverting to the status quo and how things were done before, but that would be a mistake.

Don’t forget the things which worked during the pandemic and instead use them to help bridge the gap.

Instead of hosting multiple events in-person, include some virtual events and webinars in your calendar and find ways to reach a new audience who can’t attend.

8. Brands will get closer to hyper-personalization

Personalization is becoming expected by customers worldwide, and brands need to find ways to satisfy that expectation. According to McKinsey, personalization will be a determining factor in market success over the coming years. But it’s an area where many feel like they are lagging.

Also, when it comes to retail, 80% of customers are likely to make a purchase when their experience is personalized.

What to do:

Personalizing the experience for your customers starts with the data you have available on them. Create detailed customer personas and use these personas to guide the content you share with each customer.

Also, make use marketing automation tools that allow you to send trigger emails and other notifications when customers utilize certain actions.

9. Predictive analytics will help brands

Brands have access to much more customer data than they ever had before. In fact, customers

are happy to give up that data if it means more benefits for them. Expect companies that want to get ahead and improve their customers’ experience to invest more into predictive analytics.

D2C eCommerce companies, in particular, can benefit from the use of analytics to help predict stock and inventory levels based on what users are currently viewing and continuing to purchase. However, the benefits do extend to several other industries as well.

What to do:

Start educating yourself and your team about how predictive analytics can be used to acquire customers and personalize experiences. There are several tools available from companies like IBM and SAP that can aid your predictive analytics strategy.

10. Increased focus on privacy

Customers are willing to share their data with companies but they do so with the belief that brands will protect their data and only use it for the right purposes, such as to provide them with more relevant content.

There will be an increased focus on privacy and what brands do with data in 2021. Laws and regulations such as GDPR and the California Privacy Act (which won’t be active until 2023) will shape how companies manage customer data going forward.

What to do:

Keep up to date with the changing laws and regulations surrounding data privacy and protection and ensure that your company is following the guidelines as requested.

Digital Customer Experience Trends: GDPR

(Source: GDPR Preparation: 7 Questions To Ask Your CMS Vendor)

Another year, another step up for digital customer experiences

Customers have increasingly turned to the digital world in what has been a turbulent time. As we look to emerge from this period, brands will need to double down on the digital experience if they want to see growth in the future.

If you want to provide an amazing experience for your customers you will need to provide them with omnichannel service and personalize their customer journey. That’s possible with the help of an all-in-one digital experience platform.

Digital customer experience trends 2021

(Digital customer experience trends 2021)

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