Customer Relations: the 5 trends not to be missed in 2022

trends customer relations 2022

Customer Relations: the 5 trends not to be missed in 2022

The pandemic has deeply transformed the business of companies and caused major changes in consumer behavior. In 2021, companies had to consolidate the digital transformation, launched in 2020 for most of them, to meet new customer demands. To do so, brands have adopted relevant strategies and implemented innovative solutions to optimize customer relations. The customer relationship in 2022 will be placed under the sign of evolution. Companies will continue to invest in digitalization while considering the changes in the customer relationship that revolves around rich and personalized human contacts. In this article, we propose you to discover the different trends for this new year.

 

 

Retrospective of the Customer Relationship in 2021

 

The arrival of the Covid in 2020 had forced companies to undertake a digital transformation very quickly (or to accelerate it for the most mature ones) thus gaining 7 years in terms of digitalization. For companies, the year 2021 has proven to be, once again, a unique period due to the global pandemic. In this context, online sales have increased significantly and in 2021, consumers have favored this channel over physical sales.

 

This uncertain situation has also deeply changed the customer relationship. The transformation of customer expectations, habits and consumption patterns has led to the emergence of a “new customer”. The 2021 customer has adapted to digital technology and has adopted new communication channels. They want to be free in the way they interact with brands and are constantly looking to maximize their time and efforts. Finally, they are attentive to the experiences they are offered and the commitments of the brands they consume from. Understanding and engaging this new customer was the challenge for companies in 2021.

 

Companies have continued to accelerate and even industrialize their digital transformation to meet customer expectations. In addition, they have enriched their services and improved the customer experience through the multiplication of digital communication channels. According to a BVA study on customer service in 2021, new channels such as chatbots, live chat and click-to-call are making steady progress and are perceived as attractive by consumers. Companies that have reached digital maturity have taken the opportunity to offer new services around the video channel. In 2021, we have seen the development of live shopping, one-to-one video calls, remote showrooms, visual assistance, etc.

 

Rétrospective relation client 2021

 

 

Trends in Customer Relations for 2022

 

1/ Digital transformation will impose new challenges

 

illu-transformation-digitale

The customer experience will evolve more in the next five years than it has in the last 15” said John O’Hara, President of NICE EMEA at NICE Interactions Live Paris 2021. To continue to grow and stand out, companies have no choice but to reinvent themselves and innovate. To do this, they must adopt the new codes of customer relations to offer the best possible experience. The knowledge of the customer journey, listening to their expectations and continuous experimentation are the keys to success.

 

In 2022, customer relations will be omnichannel. This does not necessarily mean being present everywhere and all the time, but above all knowing how to combine and rationalize channels. The objective is to offer customers the right channel at the right time. For example, a customer can browse a company’s social networks to learn about its products, then check prices via the brand’s website before going to the store to make a purchase. A Harvard Business Review study on the buying behavior of U.S. company’s customers showed that 73% of shoppers use multiple channels during their buying journey.

 

Many communication channels are suitable to the implementation of an effective omnichannel strategy. These include social networks, chatbots and visual assistance. When integrated with customer service, remote assistance enables a true omnichannel experience to be delivered. Let’s take the example of a customer who has a problem with an equipment. The customer will try to contact the company’s customer support. This can be done through a phone call, a message on a chatbox or by sending an email. To solve the problem more quickly, the support agent can send an invitation via SMS or e-mail allowing the customer to connect directly to the video from a simple web browser.

 

To ensure the success of this strategy, companies will have to equip and train their employees to all these new technical solutions.

 

 

2/ Human contact remains essential

 

illu-interaction-humaineThe emergence of digital has led companies to believe that consumers no longer want human contact. However, they attach particular importance to interaction and would like brands to listen and empathize more. The social distancing imposed by the health crisis has intensified this need for interaction and proximity between brands and customers. In 2022, any company that wants to grow and provide a good experience will have to offer a human customer service.

 

Remote relationship channels have diversified within companies, but telephone channels such as the telephone or click-to-call are still the ones most used when it comes to human contact, according to a BVA study. In 2022, all digital channels should continue to grow, especially video. Indeed, the proximity that video provides allows to combine human and remote relationships. Thus, it will continue to be deployed in customer relations as an effective support for customer assistance.

 

 

3/ Ever more demanding customer expectations

 

illu-attentes-clientCompanies know that customers are increasingly demanding. And the pandemic has not lowered their expectations. The reason is simple: in the same sector, the offers are more and more diversified. It is then easy for a customer to switch from one brand to another. The Zendesk study on Customer Experience Trends 2022 highlights that more than 60% of customers are more demanding in terms of customer service. To stand out from the crowd and avoid having customers leave, a company will have to provide an outstanding quality of service in terms of speed, security, and engagement.

 

In 2022, customer relations will be fast! According to an Easiware research, the number one expectation of customers is to get a response on the first contact. Brands must therefore use technology as well as creative approaches to improve efficiency and offer customers ways to save time. Visual assistance has many benefits when integrated with customer service, including improving first call resolution rates. The use of visual assistance allows the agent to visualize the problem encountered by the customer. This allows the agent to diagnose and resolve the problem faster while ensuring a good customer experience.

 

Customers also have high expectations regarding security. An Onfido study shows that 44% of French people have given up creating an online account because of annoyances. Among these, we find the fear that the data will be transmitted to third parties (50%), the fear related to the security of the transmitted information (46%) or the too large amount of information requested (33%). A good customer experience therefore also requires a company to be transparent about how it uses and collects its customers’ data. In 2022, companies will need to ensure seamless security, promote security practices such as two-factor authentication or the use of one-time passwords, for example, and ensure compliance with personal data protection regulations such as the GDPR.

 

The third expectation of customers concerns the commitment of brands. 63% of people are more attentive to companies’ commitments since the health crisis. As mentioned earlier, new customers want to give meaning to their consumption by consuming less, but better. They therefore attach particular importance to the values and commitments promoted by brands. The emergence of labels such as “Relation Client France” or “Excellence de Service” is not insignificant. The evolution of customer relations is leading companies to show more sincerity and reliability in their organizations.

 

 

4/ The employee experience at the heart of customer relations

 

illu-experience-collaborateurThere is a correlation between customer satisfaction and employee experience that is called “Symmetry of Attitudes”. This concept consists of placing the quality of the customer relationship and the quality of the employee relationship on the same level in order to increase employee engagement and customer satisfaction. According to McKinsey, people who report having a positive employee experience have a level of engagement 16 times higher than employees with a negative experience. It is therefore essential for companies to put employees at the heart of their organization.

 

In recent years, the volume of customer requests has continued to increase, as have customer expectations. Therefore, it is essential to give them the keys to do their job well. This can be done through digital awareness, training, or access to business technology tools. There are many solutions (selfcare, knowledge bases, etc.) that can increase employee performance. Video is an interesting and innovative solution to establish privileged relationships and provide personalized experiences. Whatever the use case, the use of video offers significant advantages for agents:

 

  • Time savings: problem resolution is faster thanks to real-time video and collaborative tools (shared annotations, screen sharing, etc.);
  • Reduced effort: visual access to the customer’s problem allows the agent to make less effort to understand the situation from the start;
  • Maximize productivity: with faster resolution of customer cases, employees can handle more.

 

 

5/ Customer service: the workhorse of loyalty

 

illu-service-clientCustomer service has become more important than ever to businesses, as it plays a critical role in their success. While the original purpose of customer service was to provide quick assistance to customers, this is no longer the case. The goal of customer service is to create a lasting relationship with each consumer who interacts with a brand by offering rich interactions. To achieve this, companies will need to:

 

  • Place customer service at the center of the organization

Customer service is the main point of contact that consumers have with a brand. This means that advisors are the primary contact for customers. They are the only people in the company who have such a global knowledge of customers, their expectations, their frustrations, etc. It is therefore essential to link customer service to the rest of the company and to encourage collaboration between the various departments. In addition, there has been an increase in collaboration efforts between different departments, with 43% of respondents saying they spend more than 50% of their time working with marketing teams, an increase of 33%. By promoting internal collaboration around customer success, companies will be able to improve the customer experience, strengthen customer loyalty and optimize business growth.

 

  • Consider customer service as a true profit center

By capitalizing on customer service, companies can turn it into a true profit center. First, it allows them to retain customers, which costs much less than acquiring new ones. Secondly, advisors can identify recurring issues that are deemed negative by customers. They can then provide valuable information to the company to correct these blocking aspects. Agents will be able to focus on more important customer requests and possibly handle more cases. Finally, employees now accompany customers throughout their journey, from product discovery to purchase and post-purchase. They are thus able to develop sales. By detecting customer needs, they can identify sales opportunities, and even carry out up-selling or cross-selling.

 

For companies, it will therefore be essential to invest in this activity in 2022 if they want to stand out from competitors, attract new customers and retain customers in the long term.

 

 

In 2022, minimizing customer effort, going beyond their expectations, building a close relationship with them, and maximizing the employee experience will be key areas where companies will have to invest to optimize customer relations. The implementation of video communication technologies, such as video conferencing or visual assistance, can help you achieve your goals. At Apizee, we provide 100% web-based and secure solutions. If you are interested in integrating video into your business strategy, we would love to help you. Please contact us to learn more or to get a demo.

 

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