CX Trends In 2022: How to Deepen the Customer Relationship In The New Year

By Andy Traba, Head of Product Marketing, NICE

Over the last two years, the pandemic has shifted how we approach all facets of life. Businesses have quickly adapted to enable digital and virtual experiences in order to minimize the impact of pandemic-related disruptions for customers. A recent McKinsey report found nearly 70% of companies who reported effective responses to the pandemic said they invested more than industry peers in digital-related capital expenditures.

This transition has reset expectations for customers who have come to embrace — and now expect — digital interactions that go beyond voice, email or chat across many different touchpoints, including apps that are optimized across a variety of devices. Living life online has fueled human desire for instant gratification. Consumers have grown impatient with minor, even understandable, inconveniences like delivery delays, long customer wait times and customer service interactions that don’t solve their problems.

As 2022 progresses here are some areas companies should focus on to ensure that they continue to build a positive experience for their customers.

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Be more proactive, not reactive

In the next five years, we will see a bigger growth in customer expectations than we have experienced in the previous fifteen. To stay ahead of the game, brands must use artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics to acquire insights and information about their customers before they even reach out.

Knowing information — such as what service or data the customer may be looking for, when consumers engage with outbound messaging, what their preferred channel is and how and what touchpoint is best to connect with them — will be the driving force for brands to better control the conversation and have more meaningful interactions outright. Any information that can be garnered throughout the customer’s lifetime journey with a brand is critical in order to pick up the relationship right where it left off. Even better, quicker interactions not only show respect for customers’ time but also free up agents to handle more interactions.

To build trust, appreciation and loyalty, brands must move away from “spamming” in favor of proactive communication that adds value. Using automated systems like smart, AI-driven conversational chatbots to guide users through searches and early troubleshooting provides customers additional ways to interact with the business and solve issues in their own time.

Brands will invest more than ever in CX “front line” employees

Now, more than ever, businesses understand the impact of positive customer experiences in maintaining brand loyalty. And when it comes to personalized, friendly interactions, agents are truly the experts – and the key component in delivering successful interactions that lead to customer retention.

The pandemic is upending labor market dynamics leading Americans to early retirements, career changes and “The Great Resignation.” With 41% of all US employees having considered changing or quitting this past year, businesses must evolve to improve employee retention. This means brands need to find new ways to show agents and customer service representatives that they’re valued – and their work is appreciated.

The solution is to help employees do their jobs better, reduce their workload and help them feel more confident in interactions. Technology can help with this. Brands must tap into AI and analytics to best interpret customer data to guide employees during interactions and recommend next-best steps. AI can also automate basic, redundant tasks so agents can focus on providing more personalized and empathetic experiences. Along with an increased investment in training for front line employees, workforces will be unified on brand messaging and performance expectations, ensuring they are well-prepared to resolve even the most complex queries.

The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and moved brands’ interactions with customers beyond the contact center. While businesses are better equipped for the digital age than they were even two years ago, continued evolution is necessary to meet higher customer expectations and maintain brand loyalty. Brands must remain nimble and adaptable as they navigate 2022 and the demands of an increasingly digital world.

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