2021 is over! It was a tough year for everyone but now 2022 is finally here.
We have already looked at upcoming trends in paid and organic search for 2022. But what about customer experience? What trends are we likely to see in CX over the next twelve months?
It’s time to get the crystal ball out again and peer into the future of customer experience and look at some CX trends for 2022.
Let’s dig in and speculate!
CX Trends 2022 – Increased Use Of AI In Customer Experience…
According to CX Network, in 2020 77% of CX practitioners reported a bigger demand for digital transformation than they anticipated due to COVID-19.
This increased demand for better digital experiences is here to stay.
But the sheer scale of the changes that have to be made are often overwhelming for customer experience practitioners. This is before taking the increased demand on customer contact staff into account. Any department that works on the customer journey or has direct contact with the customer is likely to be incredibly busy.
AI and Machine Learning can help to deal with this and free up more resources to work on delivering value to the customer.
However the high cost and complexity involved in adopting AI and ML practices can cause hesitancy, especially among C-suite executives. They may not understand the benefits or be able to calculate the return on investment that may come from implementing these new systems. Factor in a disrupted business climate and you can see why most CX focused businesses (25% of respondents according to CX network) are still in the planning phase of their AI/ML projects.
The Rise Of The Robot
But AI is here and businesses need to begin their journey somewhere. The benefits AI & ML can bring have incredible scope. The four most obvious areas where AI can play a part are mapping and improving customer journeys, chatbots to help customer service staff deal with increased demand, personalization at scale and empowering customer self-service. Any improvement in these areas should see increased ROI as well as higher customer acquisition and engagement rates. You will also be able to free up your CX and support resources to focus on your optimization efforts.
But if you have not yet begun to think about how AI can help your business, there are a few things you can do to build an AI strategy.
AI Actions You Can Take Now:
- Conduct a data audit, look at the data you have right now and see where AI and automation could help
- Work with an experienced partner to bridge the skills gap or if you have the budget, hire AI, ML and data specialists
- Use small “test and learn” trials to discover what is best for your customers and brand
CX Trends 2022 – Robots Are Great But We Need To Stay Human
While AI, Machine Learning and automation are a forward thinking way to lower cost and free up resource, it is important for brands to not lose their human touch.
Customer empathy is key for retaining human interaction. While most of us have used a chatbot at this point, most people prefer to speak to a person when they are faced with a complex problem. It is also important to be human when implementing large scale digital transformation at any company. Part of digital transformation is breaking down silos within an organization. If people are not educated about the benefits of that transformation, it is likely to be more painful and less likely to yield long term success.
Empathy Is For Everyone
Considering how your customers and staff feel will be a vital component of any CX strategy in 2022. You cannot anticipate customer needs effectively if you do not actually think about what your customers are feeling. Add in the increased cognitive load and stress of the ongoing pandemic if you are not an empathetic business, you will lose out to competitors who are empathetic. According to Capgemini, 75% of businesses think they are customer-centric and empathetic, but only 30% of customers believe that is the case.
Brands have to evolve their CX but above all, keep it simple and human. All the AI automation in the world will not help you if you are making your customers jump through too many hoops to get what they need.
Being an empathetic business also brings recruitment benefits. According to recent research from businessolver.com 83% of employees would consider leaving their job for a more empathetic organization.
So brands need to not only be empathetic to adequately serve their customers with better CX, they need empathy to retain talent and hire new staff.
Actions You Can Take:
- Break down silos in your organization, this not only dramatically improves your CX but helps your team to focus on the customer
- Keep it simple, always. This applies to messaging, the purchase funnel…the whole customer experience
- Do not focus on the customer above the needs of your staff
- Your staff are your stakeholders; educate them about any digital transformation efforts you are making
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are crucial. Not just for staff, but for customers too
CX Trends 2022 – Location Based Experiences & Services
With the pandemic constricting travel, being relevant to where your customers are will dramatically improve your overall customer experience. You can serve more localized messaging in your digital advertising or put a strong O2O strategy in place if your brand has physical retail locations.
Location based marketing is nothing new, but using digital channels to serve localized customer experiences to your customers can put you ahead of the game. This may include things like offering free shipping (if that is financially viable) but also smart inventory management. You can use location based services to tell customers if the item their need is in stock near them and even offer a hyper local delivery option to cut down shipping times.
Customers appreciate this level of convenience in their customer experience and it is likely to become a base expectation in the near future.
Actions You Can Take:
- Use targeted marketing messaging for different areas and regions
- Give customers clarity on if an item is “in stock” near them
- Give customers flexible delivery options
- Think about working with more local delivery partners where possible
CX Trends 2022 – Impact Of Data & Privacy Regulations
Customers are now more educated about privacy practices and the data rights they have. So you must always be clear about the data you are collecting. You must also give customers the opportunity to see that data on request.
This is a challenge to online businesses as guidance around data is very unclear. Especially if you are an international brand. For example, the recent Schrems II verdict means that data transfers to non-EU countries have to be individually assessed to ensure compliance. With many businesses transferring data in and out of the EU on a regular basis this could bring unforeseen problems.
The Effect Of Legislation
Imagine that a European company may be looking to store customer data on servers based outside the EU. Any data transfer would now have to undergo an individual risk assessment to ensure compliance with GDPR. This is further complicated by Brexit, with the UK now having left GDPR. The new UK-GDPR legislation is identical to existing EU GDPR regulations. But the agreement is limited to four years and will not automatically renew. This brings a level of uncertainty to international businesses and directly impacts how those businesses can serve their customers.
Data and privacy are incredibly complicated issues. It goes beyond keeping your customers informed on the data you hold and how you keep their data safe. Data regulations have a massive impact on customer experience, so it is vital that businesses stay educated on legislative changes.
Actions You Can Take:
- Be clear with customers about the information you gather
- Allow them to opt out
- Do not take more information than you need
- Stay on top of data legislation in the markets you operate in; this is a big hurdle for international companies
- Allow customers to access to the information you hold about them
Talk to MAQE
If you need to work with a partner to level up your customer experience, talk to MAQE via firstname.lastname@example.org. We are well-versed in cutting edge AI and Machine Learning practices. We also work with companies all over the world, so we can make sure your business is compliant with the latest regulations.