technology trends along the customer journey 2021

After a difficult 2020, everyone is looking forward to the new year and what it will bring. Last year was marked by a push in digitisation for consumers and businesses, what would normally have taken about five years was implemented within eight weeks. Especially for businesses and their customers, there are some exciting technology trends along the customer journey. They will help companies improve the quality of their customer experience in 2021. Find out what they are in this article. 

Trend 1: Habit loops for more user engagement

Most of what we do as humans is linked to habits. They have a huge impact on how we interact with each other and how we react to external influences or brands. An important trend for 2021 is therefore the implementation of such habits. More specifically, habit loops to encourage user engagement in the digital environment. 

These are neurological loops that are responsible for a habit. They consist of three components: cue, routine and reward. An excellent example of a habit loop is a notification on a smartphone. The ping of the notification is the cue, routinely we then reach for our smartphone and check the message and are rewarded with a new message. 

In a brand context, habits are meant to excite potential customers and get them to grab more “rewards”. This is achieved by associating the desired product with positive emotions or by seeing it as something one would definitely like to have. 

Trend 2: Internet of things for better customer insights 

Internet of things (IoT) helps companies to improve processes, increase productivity and thus save costs. For companies, however, IoT is not only a way to increase profitability, but also to improve the customer experience. For example, companies can collect real-time data to see what customers are getting from their products. In turn, they can use these insights to improve these products and services. 

IoT also helps to understand customer behaviour and improve communication for increased customer satisfaction. It also offers the opportunity to optimise customer support and predict problems before they even arise. 

Trend 3: Omnichannel becomes the new standard

Omnichannel marketing has been on the rise for some time and the motto for many companies is to be accessible on all (or at least many) digital channels and social media platforms. In terms of customer service, however, this brings some challenges. For example, it must be regulated for each channel how a customer enquiry reaches the right employee. 

But even more important is consistency across all channels. After all, customers are spending more and more time online and accordingly expect more from companies. They should not only be reachable anytime and anywhere but also have a consistent tone on all channels. A corresponding CRM platform helps to implement this omnichannel approach and create a consistent basis for all digital channels. 

Trend 4: Digital transformation is a must

We have all heard the terms “digitisation” and “digital transformation” over and over again in recent years. In reality, however, many companies have still relied on the tried and tested and neglected a proper strategy for digital transformation in their own company. 

At the latest with the global events in 2020, however, we know how important digital structures are. And not only internally for employees, but also in the customer context. So this year you need to start building digital structures and breaking down digital silos. After all, digitisation only brings something if the digital strategy correlates with the corporate strategy and does not stand on its own. 

Trend 5: Conversational AI for a better customer experience 

Chatbots are already evolving from simple chat assistants to smart AI chatbots that enable real conversations. This is what makes them interesting for many companies in the first place. This is because AI chatbots or conversational AI can solve support requests independently and use the data gained to build better relationships with customers and strengthen their loyalty. 

However, this does not make support staff obsolete. The maximum benefit comes from a hybrid approach in which AI and humans work hand in hand. While the chatbot solves simple queries itself, the employee steps in for complex problems and supports the customer in finding a solution. In this way, customers have a 24/7 opportunity to communicate with the company, especially for simple issues, but do not have to do without the support of a human being for difficult issues. 

technology trends along the customer journey 2021

Trend 6: Predictive analytics for a better customer approach 

Consumers are increasingly travelling online and leaving digital footprints. For companies, this results in huge amounts of customer data that they can use to generate personalised customer experiences. To this end, they are increasingly investing in predictive analytics and artificial intelligence. This enables them to better analyse data and personalise services and recommendations for their customers. 

A study by Zion Market Search assumes that predictive analytics will reach a market volume of almost 11 billion dollars by 2022. This should make it possible to better predict future trends and behaviour. Companies can thus actively address customers with new products when they need them. 

Trend 7: No effective marketing without data 

Already, a majority of companies use data to better understand their customers. However, this is not enough for a truly personal and better customer experience. Data-driven marketing is therefore increasingly coming into focus. Data enables companies to address customers more effectively and to interact with them. 

And in the end, not only customers benefit from this, but also companies. Customers are only recommended products and services that they really need or want. On the other hand, the probability for companies is higher that a prospective customer will also buy if he belongs to the target group from the outset. At the same time, the available data results in more effective cross-selling and improved product development. 

Trend 8: Visual exchange on the rise 

A study by Forrester already assumed in 2017 that visual exchange is a useful tool for companies. The Corona pandemic, at the latest, underscores this assumption. Through visual engagement such as co-browsing and video chats, support staff can help customers solve a problem faster while giving them real-time, personalised support despite physical distance.  

With the right video tools, this shift is relatively easy. Offer customers and staff the opportunity to communicate directly via video, rather than after people have already picked up the phone. In-app integrations on the website also make it easy for customers to contact you directly via video. 

Trend 9: Augmented Reality becomes consumer-friendly

More and more companies are jumping on the AR bandwagon. MarketsandMarkets predicts that the market for augmented reality will reach an incredible 61.39 billion US dollars by 2023. Augmented reality is used, among other things, as a virtual product test and thus facilitates the decision-making process of customers. Instead of testing countless sofas in the furniture store, customers can simply project the desired piece of furniture into their own living room via smartphone or tablet using AR.  

Another area of application for augmented reality is training. AR models can be used to depict real products in the shortest possible time and significantly reduce the amount of training required.  

Trend 10: Voice Commerce brings a new shopping experience

So-called smart speakers such as Amazon Echo with Alexa or Apple HomePod with Siri can now be found in more and more households. The virtual assistants simplify everyday things through voice commands and make life much more convenient. 

In e-commerce, the potential of voice assistants has already been recognised, but not yet really exploited. This is because they can help consumers find products online via voice search and make the shopping experience easier.