The year 2020 is a watershed for businesses around the world. However, digital transformation became a front-and-center priority across organizations. Work from home was de rigueur, and agile companies survived. Brands that focused on customer service showed historic growth numbers, the global downturn notwithstanding (think Amazon). Now at the tail end of 2020, it’s time for some crystal ball gazing and learning about what 2021 holds in store for businesses and customer service.
There is no going back to pre-COVID era
All research points to the fact that the inevitable changes brought about by COVID-19 are here to stay, as far as businesses are concerned. Zoom meetings replace the brick-and-mortar meetings. Customers don’t want to visit your office or branch anytime soon. They would instead call your contact center or talk to your shiny new voice bot application. But what has not changed is customer expectations. If anything, the lockdowns and virtual meetings have only made customers more assertive.
Thankfully, technology is here to help. Conversational AI and automation have come of age. The key to delivering a great experience to digital-first customers is flexibility and adaptability. Access to data and AI solutions can help brands revolutionize customer service and lay the foundation for improving customer satisfaction and net promoter scores.
Serving customers in a digital-first world
2020 showed us how resilient consumers really are. The swiftness with which they embraced new technologies to stay connected, shop, access essential services, was remarkable. Brands need to stay in sync to serve customers in a digital-first world – where there is an app for everything, and almost anything is achievable online. To succeed, enterprises need to focus on customer-centricity and reduce friction in their digital interactions.
Amazon demonstrated how anyone could buy anything online (within reason, of course) will be provided with stellar customer service. 2021 will herald the appointment economy’s birth, where convenience is guaranteed virtually, and the best customer service is right at your fingertips. It means brands need to invest in 24/7 customer support, virtual bots, customer self-service, and a killer omnichannel strategy to transcend the silos of various online and offline channels.
It is all about data, AI, and automation
The best part of the digital-first economy is the sheer amount of data to help brands serve customers better. AI can help make sense of all that data. Automation can render humans free to do more productive work while the machines handle the mundane and repetitive tasks.
Thanks to scalable Conversational AI platforms, it is possible to parse data related to a customer’s interactions with a brand across channels and build a cohesive repository of actionable insights. Machines can understand the context behind customer interactions, the next best course of action, and so on. All this can lead to better customer service while helping brands cut down on costs and improve efficiencies across the board.
What are your predictions for customer service in 2021?
Join us on December 10 12 pm Pacific / 3 pm Eastern live for our contact center predictions live conversation. Ask Dan Miller from Opus Research, Neal Topf from CallZilla and ICMI Top Thought Leader Leslie O’Flahavan your questions. More details here.