Forrester predicts that 2021 will be the year that companies accelerate digital transformation while focusing on customer experiences (CX) and the platforms and technologies designed to enhance them. This is a view shared by many. The Gartner Top 10 Strategic Predictions for 2021 and Beyond emphasises how the pandemic has forced companies to adopt new ways of engaging with customers. And the reports and statistics keep coming. If you want to keep hold of that constantly changing customer and market, you need to offer relevant content, targeted support and engaging, well, engagement. People want more from brands than just emailers, sparkly newsletters and half-hearted support in a world defined by closed doors, masks, social distancing and isolation.

So what does define customer experience (CX) in 2021?

Self-Service is essential

First off, self-service isn’t the remit of the lazy company that throws up a Q&A and an email address and expects the customer to be happy. No. Self-service is intelligent, automated, self-learning and multi-directional. Your customer needs to be able to check their bank balance, their loyalty rewards or their purchases in one simple step. But if that step isn’t simple, then your self-service has to be capable of getting them to the right place and right person at the right time. Don’t expect your customers to stick around if you don’t put effort into your self-service solutions.

In 2021, self-service is defined by: artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots (good ones), responsiveness, relevance and speed. If your self-service options are powered by technology and driven by speed to resolution, then you’re moving into 2021 with the right tools in place.

Create a better journey

One thing that 2020 put in the customer pocket was a deeper reliance on digital and mobile. Your customers have changed. Their expectations are much higher. Think you can do a grocery delivery service that drops off the goods in 5-7 days? Your competition does it in 37 minutes. Think that your customer support can vaguely wave in the direction of an answer? Your competition will not just answer the question, it will give a clear timeline. You have to build a better journey. You must meet customer expectations. Otherwise, you will be left behind by those that do.

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