How to improve customer experience strategy

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Customer experience strategy in 2021 was no different. These trends are looking to continue into the new year; 2022 will be less about revolution, and more about refinement on what has become the mainstream.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have ushered in the world of remote work, Zoom chats, and micro subscriptions, and–for the most part– it looks like they are here to stay (including the pandemic). However, this has only increased customer demand, and–as a result–opportunity.

Here’s what to look out for in customer experience in the coming year. 

1. Customers are expecting empathy

For most, 2021 was another year of ups and downs. Economic, personal, relationship, or health problems- it’s difficult to say what your customer, or even neighbor, has been through. For this reason, people are desiring a more empathetic connection to their own situation.

According to a Salesforce survey, 68% of customers want companies to demonstrate this kind of emotional intelligence or understanding with them. What do they end up with? Only 37% of respondents say they receive the empathy they are looking for.

There are plenty of ways to build this kind of rapport. Be nice on the phone or on video call, for example. But customers are looking for an even more personal connection. That’s where Salesforce CRM comes in: Salesforce makes creating, maintaining, and building this connection easier for both the business and the customer by allowing data to be accessible across multiple platforms, whether by phone, chat, or email. Service and sales reps can understand and empathize with customers more easily than ever and, as a result, provide them with the best solution or information relevant to their needs.

In fact, this “personal connection” is a theme that we’ll continue to revisit throughout this list. 

2. User-cetnric omni channel experiences = More sales

Particularly during the stay-at-home period of 2020, many people found themselves spending less time outside, and more time inside, scrolling. Studies show that, on average, 66.5% of consumers increased their phone usage, as well as 49% increased time on their computers, throughout the rise of the pandemic.

Considering the increase in technology usage, and the decrease in in-store or in-office customer service experience, omnichannel experiences became more relevant than ever. More consumers online leads to more brand visibility and, therefore, an increase in customer relationships. Not only does this omnichannel presence create a positive experience for the user, but the data collection companies can access through products like Salesforce can help generate an even better experience; creating a continuous flywheel of customer support.

The numbers show that when customers buy in digitally, they buy in more often. It should be no surprise that going digital isn’t just the future–it’s the present. Creating an exemplary omnichannel customer experience, which makes it easy for customers to answer their own questions, receive all requested information, and engage with your customer service team, results in a return customer.

3. Using bots to assist with customer experience management

We’ve already explored how customers prefer personalized experience, but they also demand speed. More and more companies are employing chatbots, whether via app, website, social, or text message, to respond instantly.

If your business could have an actual human respond to each inquiry instantaneously, that would be ideal. However, for most industries, that’s just not feasible. Chatbots can handle simple and frequently asked questions and respond in a personal manner. They can also stall for time until an agent becomes available. At the tail end of 2021 into 2022, bots are frequently being used in mini-applications, such as Facebook Messenger, to create a much more thorough chat experience which is significantly more tailored to the user.

As advanced as bots have become, they occasionally can make errors. This can lead to customer frustration. As we move into 2022, more and more organizations and applications are upgrading their bots to become more intelligent, making them more informative and helpful. Investing in smarter bots that can perfect workflows and truly understand consumer needs is crucial in 2022. Bots can also be used in tandem to support human customer service agents, not replace them. Just like your CRM, bots can become another tool to build the customer relationship. 

4. Customers will expect more personalization

Bots can be good, but here’s why they can’t (yet) replace real humans. Customers are requiring more and more personalization. In the previously mentioned Salesforce survey, 66% of customers mentioned they’re looking for companies to empathize with their own unique needs. Only 34% of respondents feel like they’re being treated as an individual.

One of the biggest advantages of Salesforce CRM is the ability to treat each customer like the individual they are. The automation included is there to increase the personalization, not decrease it. This personalization also pays off: 56% of B2B customers wouldn’t do business with the same company again after a poor experience.

Mass marketing, as ubiquitous as it is now (and likely will be forever), is also not ideal. Customers are reacting to what are being called “micro moments,” which provide a more meaningful way to connect. These are little, personal touches that have a big impact on making the customer feel special.

5. Looking for services, buying subscriptions

In the 2020s, cable TV has become less and less common. Most consumers have multiple subscriptions to various streaming services, whether movies and tv or music, and even more computer programs and phone applications. In fact, many digital consumers will subscribe to podcasters or other content creators for a fee. In combination, these subscriptions may altogether cost more than they used to pay for cable.

What’s the difference? Personal choice. Customers don’t mind subscription pricing as much if they’re getting something they want. This is set to become one of the biggest trends in customer experience; customers are willingly signing up to pay for services monthly.

The traditional business method was simpler. Sell goods or services, pay for goods or services, move on. Hopefully, the customer comes back for more one day. Today, it’s all about maintaining a relationship at a personal level. The customer can feel even more taken care of if they’re getting exactly what they want.

If the subscription is useful, it only serves to build brand loyalty with the customer. It also just so happens to make the company more money every month. It’s a win-win situation. Of course, auto-renewal will only get you so far–the subscription needs to continue to provide value to the customer to stay relevant.

6. Social will continue to reign

Social media isn’t old news yet. Here, we’re not so interested in how to connect with an engaging social media campaign. Instead, the goal should be to have such positive customer experiences that they share about it on social. The bigger fear is, of course, negative reviews going out into the world. However, any positive customer experience will minimize the risk of negative reviews.

If your customer feels special, and satisfied with their care, and if they develop loyalty to your brand, they’ll often want others to feel the same way. With so many different outlets to let the world know, it’s never been more important to build this relationship with the customer on a personal level. 

Make excellent service a new year resolution

Work with the customer experience experts at Forcivity to build systems that deliver a strategic, efficient service operation.

According to a Salesforce survey, 68% of customers want companies to demonstrate this kind of emotional intelligence or understanding with them. What do they end up with? Only 37% of respondents say they receive the empathy they are looking for.

If the subscription is useful, it only serves to build brand loyalty with the customer. It also just so happens to make the company more money every month. It’s a win-win situation. Of course, auto-renewal will only get you so far–the subscription needs to continue to provide value to the customer to stay relevant.

In a Salesforce survey, 66% of customers mentioned they’re looking for companies to empathize with their own unique needs. Only 34% of respondents feel like they’re being treated as an individual.

Molly McGee