Looking back on last year, there’s one word that personifies the customer experience industry’s response to 2020’s unprecedented events: adaptation. Very few periods in history have tested and challenged our industry to level up, listen harder, and adapt our efforts to meet customer and employee feedback. With the new year already here, we’ve assembled a list of the three top customer experience (CX) program trends you can look forward to in 2021:
CX Trend #1: The Value of Continuous Listening
We saw it throughout the year—when circumstances shift, our programs need to adapt as well. New channels, ways of purchasing, servicing, and working emerged overnight as people were suddenly required to stay home, go contactless, and take extra steps to ensure personal safety in a matter of days, or in some cases, overnight.
Ideally, new products, services, and ways of working are tested prior to going live, but this wasn’t always possible in 2020. Therefore, a test and learn mentality proved to be a valuable business asset. Many brands had to and learned to take a “launch first, listen second” approach using an adaptive, always-on listening solution to understand how customers and employees were responding to new initiatives, and then take action to adapt and improve those initiatives. To evolve at speed, brands will need to consider continuing or adopting this approach as external factors such as the Coronavirus require them to change and evolve quickly for success.
CX Trend #2: Focusing on the (New) Moments that Matter
Respecting our customer’s effort and time continues to be paramount, especially when considering the busy lives and conflicting priorities customers must balance. Factor in any extra anxiety around COVID-19 and our appreciation for people’s time and energy must be even greater.
Heading into 2021, it is more important than ever to design and structure a CX program around the key moments that matter to your customers. With all of the changes in 2020, those key moments may have altered slightly or changed all together, especially with the new purchasing and servicing paths that have emerged and new channels that have appeared. Customer journey mapping will help you with this in two ways:
- To identify and prioritise the high-impact and high-emotion moments for your most valued customers
- To help employees recognise, react to, and own those moments that matter. From there, you can make meaningful and impactful adjustments to the business.
Customer journey mapping will more than ever help brands ensure they are respecting their customer’s effort and time by focusing on and enhancing the moments that really matter to them.
Further Reading: Five Steps for Uncovering the Real Customer Journey
CX Trend #3: Understanding and Communicating the ROI Impact of CX
Many CX programs start out with the belief that “CX is the right thing to do” and are able to gain sponsorship from a senior executive within the organisation based on that logic. However, 2020 brought about greater scrutiny on resources and budgets. So, as we go into 2021, it will be more important than ever for CX teams to understand and prove the return on investment of CX programs.
Understanding how your CX program supports key financial and business outcomes for your organisation is paramount. To connect the dots, combine your CX and business/financial data, analyze the relationships between the two, working collaboratively with your finance team. Ensure the links are understood across the organization so it is obvious to internal stakeholders that your CX program is contributing to the overall success of the business. Many CX programs initially have the goal ‘to improve the customer experience,’ but undertaking the necessary analysis to prove the financial benefits will ensure ongoing investment for your program and CX initiatives.
It goes without saying that 2020 has been a year like no other. As we head into 2021 with new resilience, at InMoment we are looking forward to the upcoming industry trends that will come along with it. Adaptation is what defined 2020, but more importantly, it will be what takes us forward.
Here’s to a healthy and happy 2021 for you and yours.
If you’re interested in learning more, here are some of our top content pieces of the year for you to read.