Every year in Q4, trends reports are released across industries to forecast how brands can be innovative and savvy in the upcoming year. 2021 is no different, however, what is different is the approach to the trends. COVID-19 touched everyone, and it forced many industries to go virtual, impacting the way we work, interact, manage, and do our jobs. It also impacted how people work and collaborate with brands and customers.
In our annual report of future trends in the customer experience space, we take a deep dive into 2021 CX trends. The report focuses on both customer and employee experience trends shaped by the pandemic and digital transformation through 2021.
Here are seven trends for CX in 2021:
- The Digital Customer Takes the Lead
As the pandemic continues, the digital customer takes on a new face.
For example, some digital customers may be long-time digital consumers, or perhaps a new digital customer. As we move into 2021, we must consider the unique digital customers, especially those new to channels.
2. Customer Trust Is Paramount
Customers need to feel safe to do business, whether in-person with the safety protocols for protection against COVID-19 in-place, or digitally with different safety protocols for customer data. Transparency, for in-person or online safety protocols, will help brands bolster consumer confidence and trust.
3. Remote Work Ushers in New Opportunities to Better Serve Customers
With remote work the norm for many industries, companies will reshape how to better serve customers while employees are working remotely. As more business is managed from employee’s homes, there is another opportunity to use tools to reimagine customer experience and find solutions to continually improve CX and retain customers.
4. Enterprises Embrace Automation with a Human Touch
With the new digital roadmap, companies are exploring ways to integrate automation or move up roadmaps to increase automation. In 2021, organizations should begin considering which high-volume tasks can be more easily and quickly resolved by automation.
5. Cybersecurity Becomes a Top Priority
The transition to remote work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a rise in digital services. The increase in cloud acceptance requires an increase in infrastructure security to prevent data leaks. The cheapest cybersecurity isn’t always the best. Organizations should define risk tolerances and needs before deciding on cybersecurity needs.
6. Redefine Workplace Flexibility
COVID-19 has altered employee’s opinions on workplace flexibility. This redefined workplace ushers in new strategies for productivity and engagement.
As 2021 approaches, businesses must find adaptive ways to be future-ready, train employees remotely, and use remote work as a recruiting tool.
7. Diversity and Inclusivity Become Essential
From startups to global enterprises, employers are waking up to the fact that diversity and workplace inclusivity are more than a hot topic—they’re essential to building a thriving business. Employees from different demographic groups, cultures, sexual orientations, and other background origins are a key driver of innovation and marketplace understanding. And when employees feel valued, that drives increased positive performance results, retention, and engagement.
Consumers are quickly adapting to changes brought on by COVID-19, and the trends we have presented exemplify how CX is reimagined, in part by COVID-19 and in part by the continued digital shift. By adapting some or all of these trends, your brand can achieve the performance needed to thrive in 2021 and in years to come.
Along with the seven trends, we also recognize and label five ways that businesses can prepare for the CX in 2021, which include being consistent, nimble, realistic, effortless, and prepared. In the upcoming year, it is vital for businesses to continue adapting to the customer and employee experiences.
From the unique digital customer to cybersecurity, to employee engagement virtually, our 2021 CX Trends report covers the CX trends you need to incorporate today. Read the full version of the trends report here.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Cerise is the Chief Marketing Officer at TTEC, a leading Customer Experience as a Service (CXaaS) provider to many of the world’s most iconic and disruptive brands.