Customer experience in 2021: The future of CX

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Customer experience in 2021: The future of CX
With experience top of mind for customers, focusing on CX has become a business imperative for organisations.
Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

The past year has seen an exponential growth in the use of digital channels.

As individuals and organisations have embraced the new reality of working and staying connected remotely, this has led to businesses in APAC having to embrace digitalisation at light speed to meet customers’ shifting expectations. As a result, the way companies create and deliver experiences is more crucial than ever to customers. Our Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report 2021 research revealed that Australians view customer experience as more important now compared to a year ago.

In fact, creating standout experience has a strong link to an organisation’s bottom-line. Our research found that over one in two (55%) consumers are happy to spend more for better experiences, and two in five (38%) would even switch to a competitor after just one experience that is not up to scratch.

Here are four tips to help you empower your teams, implement the right tools and processes to navigate the evolving CX landscape and set up your business for success in 2021:

Unlock the power of employee experience

In an increasingly distributed world, companies must rethink how they work smarter across teams and ensure their employees feel supported so they can bring their best to the table. This requires equipping employees with the right tools that would allow them to keep track of performance and measure success for remote teams, to stay motivated and to work from home effectively.

Bring agility to your team

There is no doubt that the pandemic has shifted customers’ behaviours. In fact, our research showed that customer experience leaders cited the ability to quickly adapt to the evolving needs of customers as their biggest challenge in 2020 and the highest priority going forward. In 2021, businesses need processes and tools that can help them keep up with their customers. For example, to deliver an agile customer experience, companies need modern tools that are built for usability and efficiency - tools that empower agents to deliver positive customer experiences from anywhere, at any time.

Integrate messaging apps into your channel mix

Our research found that 69% of customers in APAC have tried a new channel to get in touch with customer service in the last year, and it’s likely online experiences will continue to play an important role in 2021. With the increased digital usage, customers are open to using new channels to engage with customer support, so you need to make sure you have the right channels in your mix.

For instance, messaging has quickly become the preferred way for businesses and customers to communicate because it is convenient, fast and feels more personalised. Customers are looking for support through apps they are already using in their everyday lives, so it’s the perfect time to open the door for more streamlined, conversational experiences by integrating apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger into your system. 

Embrace empathy

When it comes to what makes a ‘good’ experience, customers are increasingly viewing empathy as key. Our research found that over half (59%) want customer service agents to be empathetic. Empathy helps build trust and emotional connection between the customer and the business. Infusing empathy into the way in which your support team interacts with new and existing customers would translate to more thoughtful and efficient responses, and ultimately customer loyalty.

With experience top of mind for customers, focusing on CX has become a business imperative for organisations looking to nurture customer loyalty and edge out their competition. By embracing these best practices, you can empower your support teams to champion great customer service at every turn by staying relevant, accessible, and approachable.

Steve Bray is Regional Vice President for Sales, Australia and New Zealand, Zendesk.

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