14% of businesses failed because they neglected their customers.
Granted, this isn’t one of the top reasons — lack of market need, capital access, and poor management make up the majority — but a business still must prioritize every customer’s needs.
Why? Because 84% of companies that improved their experience for customers saw a lift in revenue.
Want to learn what it takes to stay ahead of the biggest customer experience trends in 2020, so you can enjoy similar rewards? Hear from 17 experts on how they are preparing for the big changes.
1. Experience Over Product Focus
Carlos Castelán predicts companies will shift focus to driving customer engagement, rather than just trying to sell more products.
To emphasize his point, the Managing Director of The Navio Group shares a few examples:
Memorable experiences pay off — companies encourage in-store traffic via word-of-mouth and thus, promote purchases among new customers.
Castelán shares, “When a retailer can win on experience, they have more of customers’ attention. That means a higher likelihood of purchasing products and becoming more loyal.”
Aaron Shields agrees. He also shares a crucial tip for businesses that want to create great experiences — and that is to listen to customers.
The Partner and Director of Research at The Cult Branding Company adds:
These days, retailers are forced to rethink loyalty.
Current research on loyalty shows that it’s a mix of behavior and attitude, and yet, many loyalty programs are only focused on the behavioral element.
And that’s problematic.
Behavioral loyalty refers to repeated purchases with no clear preferences for the product. This means that — to paraphrase Jared Cornell, a customer support specialist — customers are merely buying because of laziness and inertia.
“They’re missing the connection customers feel toward the brand. Creating a connection begins with building awesome experiences,” stresses Shields.
Want to build awesome experiences? Listen to customers. Get on the phone with them and start gathering those important insights.
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Bruce Hogan predicts more local businesses will start using SMS as a two-way marketing channel. The CEO of Software Pundit says, “As people spend more and more time on their phones, this trend will grow.”
Haley Anhut, too, shares the same view on SMS.
The Content Marketing Manager at Clean Origin predicts more brick-and-mortar businesses will use it in customer support, appointment bookings, and two-factor verifications.
Clean Origin, which sells lab-created diamonds, is using SMS to create authentic one-on-one conversations with customers.
Anhut adds that they’re also looking to integrate it with product recommendations. Currently, the store has integrated its SMS channel with a customer experience platform to track orders and send delivery updates.
Cassy Aite advises companies to be up-front when communicating with customers.
The CEO and Co-founder at Hoppier explains, “From refund policies to shipping times, always speak the truth. Nowadays, customers are more tech-savvy than ever. Not only can they find this out on their own, but they will also publicly shame you if you lie.”
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Anastasiia Khlystova sees companies moving from account-based marketing (ABM) to people-based marketing (PBM).
The Content Manager at HelpCrunch shares that these companies are setting up dynamic call-to-actions (CTAs) and images on their websites that change according to specific visitors’ behaviors, and points to Proof as an example:
Khlystova and her team are making big changes to gear up for this trend — particularly in personalized customer support.
She explains, “Our personal onboarding assistants help new customers with chat widget installation and customization, and setting up their own proactive chat messages.”
Malte Scholz predicts personalization will take over chatbots. He shares, “The benefits that chatbots bring don’t hold that much value in an era where personalization is the key to increasing trust and conversions.”
The CEO and Co-Founder of airfocus recounts a time when they created a chatbot sequence to address the most common questions asked by new customers. What was supposed to be a time-saver became an angry mob of customers.
“Within two weeks, we had six customers who were so mad at our chatbot that they started cursing at it.”
Moving forward, Scholz plans to hire a customer service rep for at least eight hours a day to offer personalized assistance to customers.
Samantha Odo zooms in on personalization, specifically for “money pages”. The COO of Precondo explains, “Customers will start preferring websites that show them products based on their previous shopping history.”
“Product pages are money pages that display highly relevant content,” Odo continues.
Odo adds that all these can be done through big data analytics:
“Integrating the latest plugins and software on a website would help to give hyper-personalized product experience to clients. Moreover, not only purchase history but previously visited pages will also get stored for providing a better experience.”
And finally, Lindsey Marx predicts voice-activated security and double-tap protection as two of the biggest customer experience trends in 2020.
The Marketing Content Strategist at Best Company thinks that not only do these security measures address the increasing volume of security threats, but they can also help to “correct customer experience”.
To combat this, Marx and her team plan on investing in content marketing to better communicate with their customers on how they’re keeping them safe and protected.
Your Next Action: Raise Customer Experience in 2020
Will these trends go away anytime soon? Probably not.
To meet and exceed your customers’ expectations, adapt to these trends and evolve with them. If or when needed, invest in customer experience tools to improve the experience.
Where you devote your efforts this year will make a big difference in your business in the long road ahead.