Bright Spots of 2020: How Last Year’s Learnings Are Shaping Customer Experience in 2021

A list of learnings from 2020 that will continue to determine the trajectory of customer engagement in the year to come.

We drastically shifted the way we operated in 2020. Remote work and the rapid pace of digital acceleration changed everything from the way we serve and interact with customers to how we build and maintain team relationships.

Despite the tumult of the past calendar year, there were several transformative developments that occurred in the way of customer experience. What follows is a list of learnings from 2020 that will continue to determine the trajectory of customer engagement in the year to come. 

1. Digital acceleration will only increase.

It’s pretty clear that some of the businesses we thought were inextricably tied to in-person experiences can, in fact, thrive in a purely digital environment. In a study done by Accenture, 52% of consumers said technology played a huge role in their everyday lives, and in 2020 it was more important than ever that companies cater to these digital-first customers.

Massive financial enterprises drastically improved their online offerings for customers, making in-app experiences feel as seamless as in-person visits to a local bank branch. Retail businesses also found ways to offer immersive shopping experiences while miles away from their shoppers.

According to PwC, organizations that embrace digital acceleration have 17% higher profit margins over a span of 3 years, so it should come as no surprise that businesses will continue to invest in the tools and infrastructure necessary to meet customers’ expectations for digital engagement. 

Airkit, the world’s first low-code customer engagement platform, is one such tool. With Airkit, companies are digitizing formerly paper forms, automating routine customer interactions, and providing digital self-service workflows to not only meet elevated CX standards but exceed them. 

2. Trust and safety are the foundation of customer experience. 

Any business that could pivot to a digital-first experience did, and with this migration to online service came an increase in the digital surface area these organizations now had to protect. 

Security and clarity in UX will be essential to building and sustaining customer relationships in 2021. Businesses who invest in building digital experiences that make their customers feel secure have a major leg up over those that don’t. In research done by PwC, 63% of customers said they would share more information with a company that prioritized better CX

Trust is a key component of any online transaction. If through a subpar digital experience customers feel their information is not safe with you, the likelihood that they will continue to engage with your business is low. Engineering a user-first design backed by research and protected by strong security protocols will be critical to businesses looking to expand in 2021. 

3. A retention mindset is crucial to growth.

In 2021, customer retention and a keen focus on the intersection of digital infrastructure and savvy marketing will win the day for businesses vying against new competitors. It’s essential companies have the insight they need to form an accurate picture of CSAT, user preferences, UX optimizations, and more. To make an impact based on that data, engineering and marketing teams must work closely together. 

Unfortunately, many companies are resource-constrained and saddled with a backlog of engineering projects, which means that the seamless, omnichannel digital experience and self-service options their customers require are out of reach. This inability to meet elevated customer expectations creates a CX gap and increases the risk of churn, 67% of which could be avoided if businesses were able to resolve a customer’s issue during their first interaction.

Understanding and solving a customer’s specific problem efficiently is possible with digital engagement platforms like Airkit. Airkit helps bridge the CX gap, empowering businesses to build customer experiences like proactive renewal outreach, personalized upsell and cross-sell offerings, automated feedback collection, and triggered offerings to win back lost customers. 

4. Every customer moment matters.

Most folks experienced a massive dip in human interactions last year, so it makes sense that customers are in the mood for more personal digital engagement. When most experiences went digital, it became even more important for businesses to treat their customers not just as an account or a pit stop on the way to hitting a sales quota but as a real person.

According to Harvard Business Review, customers that have a positive experience with a brand spend 140% more compared to brands that provide a less than stellar experience. Customer experience begins long before a customer makes a purchase. It starts with the first interaction they have with an agent or the first live chat they send while browsing your site, and those interactions should be both empathetic and human. Using an inefficient auto-responder as a substitute for a customer service agent won’t cut it in 2021.

Quality communication and personalization are tied to customer satisfaction and, ultimately, revenue. Now more than ever, customers want human connection across digital experience, both before and after they buy. 

Onward into 2021

We can’t pretend to know everything 2021 has in store, but we do know a whole lot about the tools you need to serve your customers. This year, Airkit will continue to empower you to deliver better digital experiences for your customers—experiences that make your customers feel secure, cared for, and human.  

If you’re ready to learn more about building better customer experience in 2021, get in touch with the Airkit team.

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