The way businesses communicate with their customers is altering. Lockdowns have changed our lives, and traditional ways of transacting are being replaced with new tech-based methods.
There is also a greater level of expectation from the customer as we move towards a lifestyle of on-demand and customer-led activity. The ‘always on’ culture of web-based service means that communication with the customer is almost as vital as the service that is being provided.
In this blog, we share five customer communication trends for 2021, many of which will shape how customers see the businesses they engage with and help them to form longer-lasting opinions and relationships.
Personalising communication is nothing new, after all we get emails from businesses all the time that are addressed personally, but the next level – hyper personalisation – is something that customers are starting to expect and it is becoming increasingly accessible to businesses.
Personalisation can create more meaningful experiences for customers. Take something like Netflix for example. It efficiently recommends films and programmes based on your viewing history, making a meaningful connection with the user. The hyper personalisation element then comes into effect. It takes the recommendations and sends them to the communication or social channels that you use, so you will get personalised communications tailored for you specifically. These are all highly personal elements of communications channels and many people now appreciate the near one to one communication experience.
Again, chat boxes on websites are not a new, but they are becoming an ever more useful and powerful tool in the customer communications process. They offer an instant reply to visitors to your website and many simple enquiries can often be dealt with through this medium. Firstly, it can be perfect for giving immediate solutions to customer queries, enhancing the customer journey experience. Secondly, it can relieve pressure on call centres allowing you to prioritise calls. This can offer long-term cost savings for the business as well as providing instant responses and fast data capture for future use.
They are also available 24/7 which is perfect for the ‘always on’ generation.
Customers now expect the same consistent approach across the many channels that businesses use for communication. In other words, the messaging and brand tone of voice on their social media channels should be the same style as an email, messages on phone systems or even printed material. In other words, the customer gets the same experience no matter how they engage with the business. This will show that a business is co-ordinated and deliver a more aligned approach to every channel they engage with, including telephone communications.
Privacy and security
The notion of privacy on the internet is becoming an ever more challenging situation.
While customers understand the need for data to be held by companies, the security risks, how the data is used, and general data security is a priority topic at the moment.
Being able to demonstrate that a business is responsible and a safe place for the private information of its customers is a huge communication win. If customers feel secure in where and how their data is stored, there is a much higher chance of customers staying loyal to that business.
Following on from security is transparency. This is about a business showing themselves to be what they are, rather than trying to appear differently or even conceal important information.
This includes admitting an error or mistake publicly rather than trying to cover it up, and never attempting to share ‘fake news’ to distract from or disguise actual situations.
It is also about the transparency of pricing, services, and details of the operational processes a business adheres to. In today’s open world, these things matter to customers and can present excellent communication opportunities allowing the customer to choose confidently.
Communications trends for the coming year can be looked at in two ways – either new technology or methods of communication or a messaging style or tone.
Either way, we feel that they can be incorporated into a businesses’ existing communications strategy to enhance how and where customers are engaged with. It can also easily be utilised into existing platforms from telephone systems to electronic communications, making it a seamless change in approach in the post-pandemic world.