The last decade saw a massive shift in how customer’s view businesses and this changed the way business was being done for good. Customer service has since moved from a business afterthought to a priority point for 21st-century businesses. However, what was perhaps the greatest shift of the last decade was the realization that pricing and product quality were no longer the biggest factors in determining customer loyalty.
Customer Experience dethroned price and product quality as the chief influence behind customer loyalty with a PwC report, showing that 52% of customers were willing to pay extra for fast and efficient customer experience.
It is safe to say that companies will be unable to stay afloat in this decade if they do not invest in customer experience and satisfaction. It is indeed a tall order to satisfy the new age customer, but oftentimes it takes just a little attentiveness to the trends. Here are a few absolutely necessary trends that you cannot ignore in 2020.
1. Chatbots have Come To Stay
Before the year 2018, Chatbots were this exciting new development that helped businesses reduce their customer response time and employ way fewer customer service reps. Chatbots were a shiny new toy that the big boys could afford to integrate into their systems.
However, from 2019 into the new decade Chatbots slowly became absolutely mandatory for forward-thinking businesses. As the trends in customer behavior has continually shifted towards prioritizing fast and useful response, the need for Chatbots have grown exponentially.
Last year alone, in the US 43% of online shoppers preferred Chatbots as their communication channel for both e-commerce stores and social media business pages, making it the most preferred medium already in the U.S.
Chatbots are desirable not necessarily for the accuracy of the information that they give, but the real-time response they provide, once again underlining how valuable speed is to Customer Experience and by extension, Customer Service.
Chatbots will constantly improve in how useful they can actually be to customers, as Natural Language Processing (NLP), continues to expand the frontiers of machine-human communication.
The upward nature of this trend has made it one for every business to watch out for.
Facebook caught this early when they embarked on an experiment to integrate Chatbots into Messenger. An experiment that has paid off really well as customers have increasingly shown a preference for communicating with businesses through Messenger. This brings us to the next trend to embrace as a business.
2. Social Media Shopping Is Officially A Thing
It’s obviously been a thing for a while now, but the statistics from last year show staggering results which has instantly transformed social media shopping from a valuable additive to customer service and marketing strategy to an absolute mainstay and necessity for business.
The modern-day customer does not just prioritize speed of response, but they also seem to appreciate the ease of doing business very much as well. There is no better way to make contact with your customers and prospective customers than to go looking for them, where they hang out.
A large percentage of your customers hang out on social media, so it’s a no-brainer that you should invest more in meeting them there. Social Media Shopping is not about connecting with your customer base via social media alone, that was yesterday’s strategy. It is about bringing your market to them on social media.
Businesses can now integrate their accounts with e-commerce platforms, creating a pretty seamless customer experience for your customers. With statistics showing that over 72% of Instagram users admit to buying a product at one time or the other, perhaps it is time to start treating your social media account as seriously as your treat your e-commerce store. In fact, the only reason people follow you or will follow you online is to know about upcoming sales and new products.
There are primarily two ways you can take advantage of social media shopping, Paid Ads and Shoppable Posts.
Paid Ads show up on the customer’s feed and is often based on their browsing history which is absolutely convenient and often increases chances of your ad being perceived as useful and ultimately clicked.
Shoppable posts on the other hand have not been explored by many businesses. On Instagram alone, shoppable posts are receiving great patronage. These posts have buttons that lead customers straight to the product landing page on your website and make it feel like they bought it right there on social media.
However, utilizing social media is way more than selling. 62% of customers admitted to using social media for service as well as purchase. This means that in addition to an increased focus on social media shopping, businesses must also engage customers on social media for services, response, and information, hence, the necessity for Chatbots.
You have probably already implemented the regular personalization strategies into your business marketing and CTA’s, but if you fall into the 15% of businesses that have not yet known or done anything about hyper-personalization or the 47% that are still just talking about it, you need to start now.
Customers feel respected and loved when they receive a mail addressed to them by name, but as that has become pretty normal customers are asking for more, hence hyper-personalization. In 2020, considering hyper-personalization strategies in your customer service strategy is a must.
This involves AI strategies to study your customers closely so as to best serve them. This unavoidably involves gathering data from customers. You can do this using custom quizzes and surveys on websites. Many available assessment software allows marketers to personalize data collection forms to the needs of specific target audiences.
With Hyper-personalization strategy, you can determine, the best time to pitch a customer with an offer, expose customers to dynamic content based on their specific locations and preferences and browsing history, send individualized product offers and gradually push them along through your sales funnel till the conversion is complete.
The majority of customers already demand personalization as a standard, hyper-personalization is that move that will differentiate you from the crowd and endear your brand to your customers. It often feels like getting helpful suggestions from a friend. Businesses can be ditched for the competition, but rarely do friends ever have competition.
2020 is the year where Customer Service finally takes its right place as the king, and perhaps it is time you dust off the throne.