It’s been a year for accelerated behavioural shifts and whilst no one can predict what’s next for certain, at TTMC we’ve been looking ahead to some of the upcoming trends in customer engagement and communications.
Here are some of our predictions for 2021.
Better contact through multichannel strategies
We’ve talked a lot previously about the importance of multichannel marketing and communications strategies to reach and engage audiences and, whilst this is nothing new, brands and businesses are finding new and more effective ways to reach audiences than ever before.
With two billion active monthly users, WhatsApp has blurred the lines between business and personal communications and three million businesses are already utilising the platform to support customers, provide purchase updates and share product information. Whilst some buyers prefer a phone call to deal with more complex or sensitive issues or email where a more detailed written record is required, others prefer the instant nature of messaging, a channel familiar to them through their personal communications. Brands also benefit through real-time communications and instantaneous feedback which increase customer satisfaction and enable them to proactively address potentially risky situations before they become targets of social media negativity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased urgency for businesses to adopt better digital processes and move operations to the cloud as, despite the technology existing for some time, many have lagged behind in migrating , whether due to data and security concerns or legacy systems.
The future of the physical workplace is not in jeopardy, but it’s likely that as we move into 2021, we will see a lot more hybrid scenarios, collaborative office spaces and, of course, home working, which means organisations must ensure their employees are truly set up to be successful, productive and still feel part of a unified team.
This will be crucial in terms of equipping employees to deliver a better customer experience, which will be even more important as a brand differentiator in 2021. Getting this right is crucial for many reasons, including:
Protecting personal data
Providing frictionless customer journeys, wherever your teams are
Enabling real-time collaboration between colleagues
Checking in on employee wellbeing
Syncing documents and data in multiple locations
Access to the right tools and equipment
AI and analytics
Every year there are grand predictions for artificial intelligence changing the way we work and live and, whilst that might instil futuristic images of robots in our minds, we tend to forget it’s constantly automating and shaping processes already. Speech recognition technology and home assistants, chatbot APIs, machine learning and automated financial investments are just a few everyday examples in business and consumer life.
It does still feel, however, that we have a way to go before we see AI-driven chat bots delivering a natural and humanlike interaction or a truly authentic, hyper-personalised customer experience powered by AI/Analytics. We may not be there yet but in 2021 we will continue to see ongoing incremental improvements in this area.
Deeper, more authentic engagement
One of the overarching themes for 2021 is likely to be closer and deeper levels of engagement, with businesses re-evaluating their experience in 2020 and re-shaping their communications strategies accordingly. Following a year in which the transparency and integrity of brands has been placed in the spotlight, the ability for businesses to proactively reach out to their audience in times of need and make meaningful connections based on customer needs and preferences will be key.
Whether in the use of predictive analytics or market research to anticipate needs, instant messaging to deliver up-to-the minute order status or remote sales to reach out to the right contacts with the right message, we believe customer engagement in 2021 will be characterised by:
Customer centricity based on deep insight and understanding
Relationships founded on trust, authenticity and aligned values.
Value-based interactions where buyers feel less ‘marketed at’ or ‘sold to’
A customer experience that moves closer to customer expectations.
As we’ve all experienced, one year can bring massive change and accelerate trends beyond anything we might have thought possible. As we look forward to 2021 and take stock, it does feel as if some of that change could be for the better, benefiting both supplier and buyer in the quality of their engagement.
If you’re re-evaluating your customer engagement strategies, we offer a wide range of flexible phone-based services from inbound call handling and responsive customer support, expert lead generation and lead qualification, to high performance remote sales, including multilingual capabilities. Get in touch if you would like to know more.
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