2021 trends in customer experience

2020 has been a difficult year for many sectors, due to the pandemic and the restrictions put in place by the government to limit its spread. In particular, organizations that have been able to maintain their activity have had to adapt their business model in a few months, and sometimes even weeks, and carry out a digitalization which usually takes several years. The customer experience has thus evolved rapidly, and emerging trends will be confirmed over the coming year.

The contactless customer experience – The pandemic has forced companies to adopt a contactless model of delivering goods and services, and customers have adopted this practice overwhelmingly. As a result, they are now more inclined to opt for automatic checkout in supermarkets or to avoid physical stores. This trend will continue beyond the end of the pandemic due to the advantages this model provides, including flexibility and speed.

Self-service in B2B – Self-service is instrumental in influencing B2C customers in general, but the situation is changing and the B2B segment is now rapidly adopting self-service interaction models. This applies to both online and offline activities, and is mainly due to the increased speed of service and flexibility.

The same customer experience, wherever they are – Most employees have had to step outside of their comfort zone and have to telecommute. On the flip side, teams have been able to stay connected while breaking down many obstacles that seemed insurmountable a year ago. Thus, for important business meetings, it was previously necessary for participants to meet physically, especially in the context of B2B; Likewise for training or on-boarding, face-to-face experiences have always been considered the norm. Today, companies not only want to provide themselves with the means to resolve any difficulty from any location, but also to offer an optimal customer experience, regardless of the place of delivery.

Customer loyalty – Often, it is more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain existing customers. With the collapse of the global economy, customer retention has become a top priority for many businesses that have had to rely on a loyal customer base in order to be able to maintain their business. With shrinking marketing budgets, acquiring new customers is now about attracting the right audience and keeping them over time, as opposed to random acquisition at all costs. This results in increased attention to areas such as account management and loyalty programs.

Budget cuts – Regardless of their size, most businesses have been forced to cut costs. As it is now clear that savings are possible, many companies are skeptical of a return to their pre-pandemic spending levels. This could relate to marketing, infrastructure and even IT costs. Software providers that offer better value for money will therefore be favored.

The expanded scope of CRM – A few years ago, CRM was mainly used by sales teams. Faced with the multiplication of points of contact with customers, it is now spreading its wings to reach all the teams that are in contact with customers. Today, CRM is associated not only with sales force automation, customer service and marketing, but also with areas such as e-commerce, point of sale, and online services. ground. Therefore, the scope of CRM is set to expand further. According to Gartner, it indeed holds the largest share of the global software market and continues to grow at a breakneck pace.

Unification, with the possibility of à la carte purchases – The SaaS industry is going through a wave of massive consolidation: every two days, small suppliers are bought out by bigger ones. This trend is expected to continue. True customer orientation requires a deep understanding of the complex areas of the customer lifecycle, and it is not easy for a supplier to develop expertise in each of these areas. However, the successful completion of all these operations offers a much greater benefit to companies. To remedy this, a few vendors are attempting to rapidly expand their portfolio through acquisitions, while others are developing the required technology in-house. On the other hand, large companies continue to follow the decision-making process in a vacuum, at the level of each department, and this is where the ability to make a la carte purchases can prove to be beneficial for both the supplier and the customer. the customer.

Vertical and sectoral offers – There is an increasing demand for specialized software at a sectoral or vertical level, where sub-segments are developing. What could be considered an industry (eg manufacturing industry) is now evolving into a more targeted business segment (eg car manufacturing). We will therefore see the emergence of increasingly specific CRM offers, as organizations will seek software that is as close as possible to their operating mechanism and that meets all the complex needs specific to each segment.

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