The pandemic ushered in a new era of customer experience (CX), with brands moving their customer journeys overwhelmingly online. However, it was no longer enough to just have a website – you needed a seamless and personalised experience across digital and mobile channels.
As we move into 2022, these trends are set to continue, making it imperative that businesses invest in their CX strategies and the technologies that help deliver them. Therefore, where should you focus that strategic and tactical resource? Be guided by these top three CX trends that will shape 2022.
1. Accelerated digital transformation
Digital transformation can be a long, slow process. Overhauling legacy systems, upskilling employees and embedding new processes. That is why digital transformation has been a cornerstone of CX strategies for the last few years – and why this will continue in 2022.
Engage Hub’s research has identified 3 main goals driving digital transformation:
• Improving operational efficiency
• Enhancing business intelligence and analytics
• Reducing the number of manual processes
In working to achieve these goals, a big difference in 2022 will be the pace of any action taken. Over the next 12 months, businesses should focus on tackling these 3 main blockers: digital-resistant culture, siloed systems and ineffective data management.
Investment in technology that connects data and gives a holistic view of the overall CX, while also empowering employees with a true digital-first mindset, is also essential to deliver change and lasting results.
2. Data consolidation
Customer journeys are more complex than ever, in part due to the numerous channels available for engagement. Customers can browse online, purchase in-app, return in-store and get help over the phone. This omni-channel approach, while enabling the “any time, any place” philosophy that customers demand, creates complexity with multiple touchpoints, which in turn creates vast amounts of data.
It can be incredibly hard to track and derive useful insights from all this data, especially when it is collected in so many ways by departments who have limited interaction with each other. This can create a disjointed and frustrating experience for customers, who end up repeating themselves over and over again across different channels that do not have access to the same data.
Therefore, 2022 will be a big year for data consolidation. By combining all customer data in a centralised hub that feeds every channel, brands will be able to deliver a more integrated, cross-channel customer experience.
Importantly, this does not have to mean overhauling embedded legacy systems that work on a departmental and tactical level. The focus should be on data orchestration – with solutions that sit on top of existing infrastructure and applications and enable data to be used in more valuable ways.
One example where this is extremely important is in the use of Chatbots. Often, an organisation will implement Chatbots independently across SMS, voice, email, WhatsApp, web, Facebook Messenger, RCS and more. But often these channels do not ‘talk’ to each other, leaving customers unrecognised as they move between them. As a result, people have to repeat their story each time they use a new channel – for example, where a conversation is initiated on webchat and later transfers to WhatsApp without context. This can only lead to more frustration, rather than easing friction and solving customer queries. Cross-channel Chatbots work across multiple touchpoints, consolidating data to deliver a seamless CX and better insight for ongoing improvement.
3. AI-driven hyper-personalisation
Both artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will also help to deliver value from digital transformation and data consolidation. AI will help brands increase operational efficiency by automating manual processes. It will help them make smarter decisions by synthesising the wealth of customer data now available. And it will also enable much more personalised customer experiences – which customers increasingly expect.
The first step to implementing this AI-driven hyper-personalisation will be identifying the specific elements of your current CX that are underperforming. For example, are call centre agents immediately able to address customers by name? Do customers have to repeat themselves when they move between customer service channels, increasing the call duration and customer frustration? Are product recommendations tailored to individuals and their purchase history?
Once you have identified areas where you could increase personalisation, then you can begin to leverage the power of AI. AI, particularly machine learning, allows you to implement personalisation at scale while still retaining a realistic, human touch.
Examples of digital transformation approaches we will increasingly see adopted in 2022 include:
• Next Best Action – an AI module that analyses signals across multiple touchpoints and channels in real-time, and then uses predictive analytics and adaptive self-learning models to determine the optimum next step in a customer journey,
• AI-driven identification and verification processes – to boost security without sacrificing convenience.
Customer experience will be more important than ever before in 2022. The right tools and techniques will lead to loyalty, reduced churn and increased revenues – and the right culture will ensure a positive CX is intrinsic in terms of everything you do.
To find out more about the top CX trends for 2022, download our free guide.