Customer Experience, or CX, has seemed to replace customer service. It seems that it is no longer enough for a business to enthusiastically serve their customers and clients. It seems that, now, a company must provide the customer with an “experience”. In a recently compiled and published report from Customer Think, it seems that future trends regarding CX may take many small businesses by surprise. The following are excerpts from that published report that may help you to get a proper angle on where your CX needs to be:
- More empathetic support is a critical trajectory for customer service in 2021. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need to take into consideration the customers’ state of mind. According to Forrester, organizations should recognize the importance of understanding what customers need physically and emotionally, to provide more empathetic support and experience. Consumers are frustrated and anxious, facing COVID-19-related health, safety, and financial concerns that impact their needs and expectations. In fact, the IDC predicts that by 2023, enterprises that excel at delivering empathy and safety at scale will outperform those that don’t by 40 percent!
- Analysts agree that the gig economy, meaning part-time or flexible employees and other external customer support agents – will disrupt traditional service into the foreseeable future. This trend is led by increasing remote work capabilities, people seeking new employment opportunities, and customers preferring alternate channels. A recent survey by Aberdeen of 307 contact center leaders revealed a significant surge in remote work capabilities – a whopping 52% as of June 2020, and that is expected to increase through 2021. Gartner predicts that over the next five years, customer service will transition to mainly freelance or “flex” workers to handle requests. Strategic planning must consider the switch to multiple channels. A recent Gartner report predicts that by 2025, customers will pay a freelance expert to address 75% of their service needs.
- The future of customer service lies in a transition from ‘cost centers’ that resolve issues to profit centers that increase revenue by generating upsells. The focus will be on improving relationships with a proactive approach that enhances interaction and communication with customers. In Gartner’s analysis, proactive engagement with customers on digital platforms is a key strategy to increase loyalty and serves as an opportunity. According to Gartner research, by 2025, 40% of customer service organizations will become profit centers by implementing digital customer engagement.
- The pandemic-related shift to digital, online channels – for shopping, financial services, healthcare and more – is here to stay, and looks to be the model for the future of customer service. Forrester predicts that in 2021, digital customer interactions will increase by 40%. By 2025, 80% of service organizations will have abandoned native mobile apps in favor of messaging for a better experience. Transition to messaging platforms and integration with third-party apps is expected to further enhance customer experience.
-Written by Kevin Sawyer