As we head toward the end of 2021, I’m starting to receive many reports, articles, and interview requests related to sharing predictions for next year and beyond. While I’ll reveal my own predictions in a few weeks, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share some very important findings from Forrester, which continues to churn out amazing research we always learn from.
This particular research report, titled Predictions 2022: Customer Experience, is related to customer experience. We all know how important CX is to a business. Every year for more than a decade, the predictions have continued to tell the same story, that customer service and customer experience will be more important than ever. It’s true, and each year we find that customers’ expectations continue to increase.
With that in mind, here are three findings that all businesses, big and small, and both B2B and B2C, should pay attention to.
Customers will want more than half of pandemic-era services to become the “new normal.”
The Forrester data finds that consumers enjoyed the new services that became popular during the pandemic. Many of these services were available before the pandemic but were not used. The pandemic forced companies to focus on delivery, curbside pick-up, special shopping hours for different segments of customers (for example, senior shopping hours at grocery stores), and more.
These services, for many, were new, but the reality is that some forward-thinking companies had been doing them for years. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of these services.
One-fifth of retail and consumer goods firms will put the brakes on “better CX at all costs.”
Why would a company or brand be willing to back off their effort to better customer CX? The answer: If the cost of doing so is detrimental to employees. Customers are becoming aware of the poor working conditions and cheap labor practices, and they are choosing to avoid companies that don’t align with their values.
Earlier this year, a Forrester study revealed that 39% of U.S. consumers say that questionable labor practices will influence their decision to do business with a company. In the next year, according to the study, we will see “more companies factoring ethical responsibility to their employees into their customer journeys and offering products and services that balance conscience and convenience.”
One other thought: As one-fifth (20%) of retail and consumer goods companies make this shift, it’s only a matter of time before the other 80%—or at least some of them—recognize why they are losing business and start to make changes. The question is, will it be too late?
Privacy journey design will become a key CX priority in 2022.
Who isn’t concerned about privacy these days? To some, it’s downright creepy that a quick look at a product on a website would start to follow the customer around on all of their social media channels. Companies will collect more data directly from customers, with their permission, and create a personalized experience that makes their customers feel comfortable and confident about the company or brand.
When a customer shares data with a company, it is implied that it will not be misused. The company or brand that crosses that breeches their customer’s trust should be prepared to lose the customer. Forrester predicts that companies (20% in Europe and 10% in the U.S.) will focus their attention on privacy and consent journeys.
Forrester calls this a “Grand Pivot” powered by customers demanding changes with the companies and brands they choose to do business with. I’ve already mentioned that the pandemic accelerated the adoption of existing practices.
Nothing in the three predictions above represents anything radically new; however, many customers perceive it to be so. Companies must continue to monitor their customers’ needs and expectations and go forth as they see fit. Just ignoring any one of these will jeopardize the company of losing business.
This article has been reprinted with permission from Shep Hyken’s Forbes page.