The demand for excellent customer experience is at an all-time high right now. Pricing is no longer a sole factor that impacts patronage; 86% of online shoppers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience from a brand. This demand has created a need for technological advancements in all ramifications.
Accordingly, studies indicate that the world experienced a decade of technological acceleration in the space of days and weeks due to the challenges posed by the lockdown. However, the big question here is what are the customer experience trends that will up the game for brands in 2022, and how does technology play a key role in unlocking them?
Feefo recently launched their annual CX trends report and here are five dominant customer experience trends you can expect to see in 2022:
1. Employee experience
As much as customer satisfaction takes priority, brands must never neglect employee satisfaction. It is not unknown that poor employee experience will inevitably result in poor customer experience.
Megan Neale, co-founder and COO of Limitless, says: “Companies are dealing with gaps in their CX supply chains because they cannot fill customer service roles or retain staff.” This ultimately places a renewed task on HR departments to ensure that they cater to the physical and mental health of their staff. Companies must begin to pay attention to their staff’s expectations, needs, and wants.
2. Shifts in customer behaviour
The pandemic introduced many changes into our lives, including a clear shift in consumer shopping behaviour. A survey showed that about 88% of 15,000 plus respondents expect an escalation in digital initiatives in years to come. Ash Finnegan pointed out that “the boom of e-commerce and online shopping has caused a shift in customers expectations as well… speed is now vital. Customers want services and products instantly, and companies require solutions and answers to their problems fast and expect information faster. Expectations had never been higher”.
3. Agile customer experience
Change is inevitable. However, the critical question here is how fast can one adapt to these changes? 2020 and 2021 highlighted flexibility as a crucial feature that distinguishes brands that succeed from brands that fall out of business. Brands, such as Tesco supermarket, that quickly adapted to changing consumer trends and the need for technological advancement during the COVID-19 lockdown period gained more relevancy and patronage than those that couldn’t.
4. Predictive customer insights will be commonplace
Due to vast datasets directly being collected and analyzed, it is now possible for businesses to produce seamless, accurate predictive data models. These data, when appropriately utilized, can significantly improve customer experience and, of course, increase sales and profits.McKinsey believes that predictive analytics can increase business margins by a whopping 60%.
The trick here remains that as much as companies seek to increase sales through a proven predictive analysis method, they must remember that data privacy is still vital. Chief data scientist at tribal worldwide London, Shorful Islam, explained that “the Paradox of privacy and convenience converge with data and although customers may not want brands to know everything about them.”
“They will want them to know enough to provide a personalised and relevant experience through predicting their needs and wants,” he added.
5. A rise of first-party data
As previously established, customers have a contradictory desire to experience an intensely personalised feed yet an almost equivalent demand for data security. So the burden falls on the company to create a middle ground that meets both the desire for personalisation from customers and ample data privacy. The burden will become even more complex as there is a gradual shift from third-party cookies to first-party data. This first-party data will enable a one-to-one experience.
One thing that has become evident during this post-pandemic period is that customers want to feel cared for and noticed. This desire is why one-to-one experience is crucial to a company’s success. It goes beyond personalisation to create emotional bonds and strong relationships with customers.
John Lamphiere, RP EMEA and APAC of an ActiveCampaign, succinctly explained this when he said, “sending a discount voucher on customer’s birthday is no longer enough to make the customer feel important; instead it’s giving them educational content around plant care if they’ve just bought a house plant or building loyalty programs that automatically provide perks unexpectedly without the customer having to remember to use a reward card.”
Data security measures and AI-led predictive insights are set to lead customer experience trends for 2022. However, the pandemic and post-pandemic periods have shown us how volatile circumstances can be. Thus, the companies that will thrive regardless of the challenges thrown their way must be flexible, agile, and continuously innovative.
Feefo’s CMO, James Shanahan concludes ““Data plays a crucial part in reviews and customer experience platforms. I would encourage every brand to start thinking about how to leverage data that their clients are or could be sharing with them.”