2020 was an unprecedented and challenging year for so many, impacting our lives and businesses in so many ways. For many businesses to survive, there was a clear and necessary shift to focus on digital – one that experts believe will accelerate in 2021. Forrester predicts there will be a “40% rise in digital customer service interactions in 2021, and brands will add more digital channels (from 8 to 11, on average)”1. In this blog, we outline 3 key customer experience (CX) solutions your organization should consider (or continue executing) to ride the wave of digital transformation this year – while creating a frictionless digital experience for your customers and improving the bottom line.
1. Re-evaluate your customers’ needs and how their journey may have changed.
How has your customer’s behavior changed as a result of the pandemic? Your customer’s journey may look very different at the start of 2021 than it did a year ago. By fully understanding your customer’s thoughts, emotions and behaviors along key points in their journey – you can better anticipate their needs and help remove obstacles. Getting ahead of pitfalls means increased conversion. According to econsultancy2, “it can be anticipated that consumer needs may have permanently shifted as the way they do certain activities have changed [due to Covid]. A lot of us will need to step back and re-evaluate our assumptions of how our customers behave by revisiting activities like user research or customer journey mapping.” Here are a few tactics to consider to re-assess your customer segments:
- User Research: 1:1 surveys, focus groups, and persona development can help identify your customer’s needs and behaviors to more effectively engage your market. If you’ve already developed personas, dust them off an ensure that you’re still satisfying the needs of key segments.
- Customer Journey Mapping: Journey maps can help organizations identify those critical interactions where customer needs can be met, and customer loyalty earned.
- Service Design: Especially after a year when service changes may have been necessary to survive, it’s prudent to take a critical look at your back-end processes to ensure that any adaptations that were made are sustainable (and improved) for continued growth.
2. Personalize (and hyper-personalize) your customer’s digital experiences to maximize your technology stack.
Despite the power of many dynamic CMS platforms like Sitecore and Episerver, many companies are not fully maximizing the personalization power of their technology stacks, despite that being what consumers desire. Recent studies reveal that consumers are 36% more likely to continue buying from brands that send “relevant, personalized marketing messages”4.
If you’re not already delivering personalized and contextual content, it’s time to get started in 2021. Here’s a very basic personalization framework:
- Uncover consumer insights: Identify the people and moments to target to determine messaging that is relevant and valuable to them.
- Develop and Engagement Strategy: Create a plan that orchestrates what you will communicate, to who, when, and through which channel.
- Execute and Measure: Develop your personalization profiles and scoring, measure the results, iterate, and optimize.
Personalized web and digital content can be delivered based on (1) static personalization (known attributes about a user), (2) dynamic personalization (based on actions taken on your website), or (3) AI-driven personalization (based on consuming data about users and rendering results through machine learning). Knowing which tactic or blends of tactics to utilize will depend on your organization’s goals – and in some sectors such as healthcare and financial, being able to ensure adherence to privacy rules and regulations such as HIPAA.
- Healthcare Marketer’s BONUS: Talking to your internal compliance officer is a critical first step, and knowing the right questions to ask is imperative (see slide 17 in our recent presentation “Dynamic Personalization in Healthcare”). Also, remember to think beyond the website to look for other opportunities to deliver contextual information, such as a telehealth virtual waiting room.
3. Prepare for Voice Design and Voice Search.
The growth of voice design isn’t new or surprising. Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices have been more mainstream in the past several years, with experts estimating that over 20% of adults now own one, with that number rising each year3. Spending more time in their homes in 2020, consumers have become more comfortable utilizing voice search, and voice-enable devices for ordering or giving information. This year may present the right time to consider whether possible use cases exist within your organization to utilize voice technology to deflect customer support calls, improve your customer experience, or better position your brand in this growing space either via an Alexa Skill or capitalizing on the increase in voice searches.
Additionally, organizations should be prepared to create custom Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies based on consumer voice search behaviors and preferences. Ensure that your website and digital properties are optimized for voice search – allowing your organization to capitalize on consumer voice search profiles being built on mobile and home-based devices.
Let’s talk about how we can work together to solve your greatest customer experience challenge in 2021.