The last two years have been hard to predict. Actually, it’s been hard to predict what will happen in the next few weeks, let alone for the entire year.
While we may be sick of hearing about unprecedented times, we can’t deny that the last two years have turned multiple industries upside down. The pandemic forced many businesses online and accelerated digital transformation for countless others.
Throughout it all, you’ve worked hard to maintain a seamless customer experience (CX)—rising to elevated expectations even while battling supply shortages, staffing challenges, and delayed delivery services.
Customer experience has become a higher priority for all types of businesses. 63% of CX managers say their company prioritized CX more than a year ago, according to Zendesk. And half of customers say that customer experience is more important to them than a year ago.
Last year’s priority shift has set the stage for a game-changing 2022. Here are our predictions for the CX industry.
1. Personalization will become table stakes.
For years, CX professionals have advocated for more personalized experiences—especially in the online space. While it used to be a differentiator, It’s now a must-have.
According to a report from Segment, 70% of consumers wish brands knew more about them, particularly their style preferences and household needs. And 45% will actually take their business elsewhere if they don’t receive a personalized experience.
So what does this look like in practice? It’s more than remembering a customer’s name. Lean into a well-rounded omnichannel experience. Maintain customer conversations across media channels and devices, curate personalized collections, and always ensure user data is secure.
2. Customers will embrace social commerce.
Have you bought something directly from Instagram in the last year? What about Facebook?
About half of U.S. adult social media users have made a purchase via social media in the past year, according to a survey from Insider Intelligence. And we expect the trend to pick up steam in 2022.
Instead of sending customers from social platforms to your own website, customers can make purchases right within the platform. Between marketplaces, influencers, and your own brand presence, it’s often more effective to keep transactions within the platform’s ecosystem.
As a result, expect to spend more money on social media sites like Instagram to increase purchases directly within the platform.
Marketplaces have made it easier to display goods and services, and selling through direct messaging has grown in popularity, too. Customers can see a product, ask questions, and make a secure purchase without ever having to leave the platform.
With its increasing popularity, it might be easier to send traffic to these platforms over brand-owned websites. It’s certainly worth some testing in 2022.
3. Brands will face the same old customer issues.
Whether in the contact center or on the sales floor, customer conversations will continue to center around the same age-old questions:
- Where is my order?
- When will it get delivered?
- When will you have more available?
The supply chain woes and overburdened last-mile delivery services we all faced the last two years will still be a problem. Unfortunately, we can’t say goodbye to it just yet.
As a result, your contact center will continue to face these repetitive but easy-to-answer questions. You can lean on AI-driven chatbots to handle the influx or hire more agents to keep up with customer demand.
Bonus lesson: We’ve also learned over the last couple of years that current events can send customer inquiry volumes skyrocketing. With this knowledge, you can prepare your team whenever global issues trickle down to the customers
4. The talent shortage will shift contact centers’ tactics.
With unemployment low and the demand for talent high, staffing your contact center will continue to be a challenge.
To continue delivering a stellar customer experience, brands need to focus on productivity solutions and conversational platforms that will streamline customer interactions.
There will also be an emphasis on flexibility within the contact center. Brands will focus on solutions that quickly and easily scale up or down with customer needs. Because hiring challenges will continue, it’s likely this need will be filled with other options, including AI, chatbots, and self-service options.
5. Contact centers will focus on empathy.
Empathy was the big topic of 2021, and we expect to see brands taking action on it in 2022. Expect to see it play out on two levels: brand empathy for customer service agents and agent empathy for customers.
49% of people want customer support agents to be more empathetic, according to Zendesk.
The talent shortage will force brands to increase agents’ wages—and give them higher-value tasks as a result. The push to streamline customer service and create more self-service options means live agent interactions will be even more valuable as a result. Instead of answering “where’s my order” questions, agents will be available for more high-touch interactions at every step of the buying process.
What does this mean for the customer service agents? Brands will be competing for talent, so perks like flexible working arrangements matter. Higher wages and higher-value tasks will lead to better engagement and hopefully more overall job satisfaction.
6. Adoption of digital payment platforms will accelerate.
Millennials and Gen Z will continue to expand their buying power, and as digital natives, they’re more likely to use digital payment platforms. No one wants to manually enter their credit card data anymore (we can relate).
Brands will need to adapt to the next generation’s buying habits. In 2021, 4 out of 10 smartphone users in the U.S. have made a contactless mobile payment at least once, according to Statista. And digital/mobile wallets are responsible for 29.3% of e-commerce transactions in the U.S
We expect to see these numbers grow as more people resist manual credit card entry and rely on mobile payment platforms, like Apple Pay or Paypal.
7. People will put down their phones.
A crazy concept—we know. People have felt like they need to be available at all hours of the day, and the pandemic only increased this “always-on” mentality. It’s led to a rise in burnout and just an overwhelmed society. According to McKinsey & Company, 42% of women and 35% of men reported feeling burned out often or almost always in 2021.
We expect to see more customers silencing their email notifications and turning off their phones in 2022. What does it mean for the customer experience? A heavy reliance on asynchronous messaging.
Rather than dealing with customers through live messaging and voice conversations, expect customers to pop in and out of conversations as their day permits. In fact, this 2021 Gartner press release predicts that 80% of customer service organizations will abandon native mobile apps in favor of messaging by 2025.
For your CX team, this requires a different approach to conversations. They’ll need to juggle multiple requests across platforms and be able to pick up conversations where they left off. To give customers the best experience, lean on a conversational platform that helps your staff manage it all.
Strengthen Your Customer Experience in 2022
Even though the future is uncertain, brands have the ability to give customers a top-notch experience with every interaction. You can be the bright spot in a customer’s day, a moment of reprieve in an otherwise tumultuous week.
Use these CX predictions to anticipate what’s to come in 2022 and plan ahead. And if you need help facilitating customer conversations, scaling, or meeting your customers where they are, Quiq can help.
Ready to take a deeper look at the power of a conversational platform and see what Quiq can do for your customer service team? Schedule a quiq demo