ICYMI, it’s becoming crystal clear in the COVID era, and (hopefully) imminent post-COVID business world, that delivering a world-class experience is tantamount to brand success. But brand marketers need to more fully understand how CX is tied to tech savvy—and how achieving the latter is a crucial necessity for accomplishing the former. New research from CRM firm Zendesk reveals how experience and tech adoption go hand in hand.
Despite 2020 being a year of far-reaching and rapid transformation in how people live, collaborate, and connect, the firm’s new Customer Experience Trends Report 2021 reinforces how customer experience is increasingly crucial to business success, and shows that the most successful companies are adopting new technology at record speed.
In fact, the new survey of tech decision makers finds that 75 percent say COVID-19 sped up technology adoption at their companies. At the same time, half of customers say that experience is more important to them now compared to a year ago and 63 percent of companies say their organization prioritizes CX more than a year ago.
Further highlighting the acceleration of technology, a 2020 Gartner survey found that 91 percent of organizations said that CX was one of, or the primary goal of, their digital business transformation efforts.
“Against the 2020 backdrop of dizzying change, companies adapted in ways they never thought possible. With the customer experience more important than ever before, having the right strategies to meet customers where they are can make or break a business’ success,” said Shawna Wolverton, executive vice president of product at Zendesk, in a news release. “The fundamentals of business remain the same, but the need for relationship-driven, conversational customer service accelerated at an unprecedented rate.”
Companies adding new channels embrace messaging:
From navigating changing behaviors to adopting new channels to reimagining the workforce, the new report gives companies a roadmap to navigate this new CX landscape so they can champion good customer service at every turn.
Top findings include:
Stay ahead of the digital curve
Companies are adopting technology at light speed, and it’s adapt or get left behind. Of the 75 percent of companies that say the pandemic sped up technology adoption, 50 percent say it has accelerated by 1-3 years, while 25 percent say it’s accelerated by 4-7 years. As organizations invest in the customer, they are prioritizing seamless omnichannel service, better IT security, agile technology, collaboration tools and the digital workplace.
Be part of a more conversational world
As customers adopt new behaviors, the soaring popularity of messaging apps opens the door for more streamlined, conversational experiences. Sixty-four percent of customers have tried a new way to get in touch with customer service in the last year. For many, that includes using messaging for support requests over apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, which spiked significantly during the pandemic with social messaging up 110 percent year over year.
Support requests surge over messaging apps:
Realize the power of employee experience
In an increasingly distributed world, companies must rethink how they work smarter across teams. Many employees still don’t feel like they have the right tools to succeed in this new and often distributed environment, whether it’s keeping track of their performance indicators, staying connected with their colleagues, or feeling supported by their companies. Forty percent of managers say they don’t have the right analytics tools to measure success for remote teams, and 46 percent of agents don’t have the right tools to work successfully from home.
Set teams up for success by emphasizing agility
Facing continued volatility, service and support organizations must find ways to keep up with their customers. 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.
Most agents don’t have access to the most common types of customer data:
Make it easier for customers with a focus on CX
Unprecedented in speed and scale, the recent surge in online channels puts pressure on companies to meet rising expectations as customer experience takes center stage. The vast majority (75 percent) of customers say they base their purchasing decisions on whether or not a company offers a good customer experience, while 80 percent will still take their business elsewhere following bad experiences—a figure that remains consistent year over year.
Companies are investing in their customers and employees:
This annual look at the top trends in customer experience combines analysis of the Zendesk Benchmark, a unique data index on how more than 90,000 companies use their support solutions, with the results of surveys gauging the attitudes of more than 8,000 consumers, customer service agents and managers, and technology buyers, in 15 countries, including US, UK, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, Mexico, India, Singapore, Korea, Italy, the Nordics, and Benelux.