In 2021, a positive customer experience is simply the only way for brands to survive. COVID-19 has triggered an avalanche of change that no one could have predicted a few years ago. Today, brands are forced to rethink their whole value proposition, thanks to a major shift in consumer buying behavior. Falling sales and declining margins mean that it is no longer sustainable for them to drive sales through steep discounts and offers all year round.

In the next decade, customers will be won or lost based on how much attention you give to 3 things: Personalization, Simplicity, and Convenience (PSC). For example, if your online content isn’t directly related to what a customer may be searching for or if it isn’t easy to understand, you could lose out on engagement and sales. To put it into perspective: 33% of customers report switching to another business after a single bad experience.

To get the customer experience right, you need to get good at understanding customer needs on an intimate level. As they say, knowledge is power. Thankfully, the average business has access to plenty of customer data to deliver the right experience. For example, customer journey mapping can be used to segment them based on purchase frequency and average order value. This data can, in turn, be used to learn about customer preferences and structure the customer experience.

Remember: customer experience begins with seeing things from their point of view. Data-based insights are key to solving recurring issues before they result in customer attrition. Before a customer finally leaves, you will likely see any or all of the following symptoms of dissatisfaction: high cart abandonment rate, repeated callbacks, or a low repeat purchase rate.

How to Optimize Your Customer Experience in 2021

Here are 5 proven strategies to optimize customer experience beyond the pandemic:

1. Focus on the customer journey and not individual transactions:

The average customer uses multiple devices to interact with a brand. This shows that you need to view different touchpoints as different parts of the big picture. In other words, there are more possibilities for conversion that exist today than ever before. Flexible, integrated systems and processes are critical to giving customers a consistent experience.

For example, if a customer reports that he has not been given a credit for a returned order, your team should be able to look at the previous interaction, explain what caused the delay, and ensure that the credit is processed. That’s not all: To drive loyalty and referrals, it is essential to anticipate customer expectations and deliver them in the simplest manner possible. Customer personas are a great way to do so. Based on data analysis and feedback, they can enable brands to create a seamless experience across channels.

2. Personalization is expected

As touchpoints become more diverse, personalization is no longer an option. Research shows that customers regard personalization as a basic expectation. In fact, 80% of customers prefer brands that personalize their products and services. By leveraging customer data, it is now possible to dive deep into their psyche and cater to their needs in a much more intimate way.

Done well, you will see a dramatic change in your Customer Effort Score (CES) as well as overall CSAT. Besides, personalization can help you overcome the problem of declining attention spans. This means that for your marketing messages to make an impact, they need to be relevant and easy to understand.

3. Self-service options:

73% of customers prefer to search online before calling customer support. However, 25% of them end up spending between 10 and 15 minutes looking for the information. From the customer experience standpoint, it is certainly an opportunity that brands should move quickly to satisfy. Not only can this work wonders from the customer effort (CES) perspective, it can also reduce the overall cost of customer support. What’s more, self-service can also open up new upsell and cross-sell opportunities. For this, consider every possible channel that a customer is likely to use – smartphone, laptop, and mobile app. This can help you pick the right self-service tools such as chatbots and/or interactive IVR.

4. Focus on delivering outstanding customer service

A positive customer experience is the direct outcome of great customer service. While it is perfectly fine to have complaints or escalations every once in a while, it is critical to carefully analyze each problem and understand the cause. With a proactive approach, you can retain customers and boost revenues over a period of time. Brands like Amazon are so popular because they have a cross-functional customer service approach. In other words, a 360-degree integration across teams. What’s more, they have also optimized their processes to closely mirror the typical customer journey. This should be the foundation of any customer service team in 2021 and beyond.

5. Responsiveness and speed

Website speed and responsiveness are finally getting the attention they deserve. There is a clear correlation between the two and customer engagement. For example, research shows that optimized websites attract more than 60% more page views per visit and up to 70% longer average sessions. From the customer service perspective, the key areas to focus on include ease of navigation, clarity relative to screen size, loading speed of embedded content , etc. To ensure smooth website performance, test its speed using online tools regularly and install the latest updates recommended by your hosting service.

Last Words

To catch up with changing customer expectations, businesses need to add to adapt and improvise their systems and processes continuously. In the context of the pandemic, maintaining service levels has been a challenge for small businesses in particular. While cost can be an inhibiting factor, working with an experienced customer support provider like Helplama can be an excellent alternative. Our flexible plans give you the ability to scale as per requirement at an affordable price. We are easy to work with and do not believe in long-term contracts. Ask about our Zero-Risk Guarantee when you contact us!