Author: Julien Rio, Senior Director of Marketing at RingCentral Engage Digital
The digital transformation of enterprises advanced significantly in 2020. Many of them had to quickly adapt to deploying remote work and, moreover, expand their usage of digital channels.
A contemporary study by McKinsey demonstrates that implementing some core aspects of current working solutions could have saved five years on the adoption of digital tools. In this context, what will be the outcome of these developments in 2021? What trends should you enact now to assist your organization adequately in the future?
The shift to digital experiences has been undertaken for several years in the retail sector. Today, retailers have to distinguish themselves by offering choices to the brick and mortar experience, a position expedited by events in 2020. This trend is further backed by 49 percent of customers who say they buy more online since the start of the health crisis.
Systems such as click & collect, previously applied by the principal retail players, are expanding to all industries. Shop journeys are planned and concentrate on the customer experience, often through a team member.
Therefore, digital can assist the sales teams in physical stores. This performs a pivotal role in aiding sales staff in-store. Mainly since the rise of digital interactions is set to increase by 40 percent in 2021, according to Forrester. To anticipate this increase, organizations must adopt the channels their customers use and love, and for their agents managing them, the tools to manage channels with ease and frictionless effort.
Contact center flexibility is a vital specification of a successful customer experience. At the beginning of 2020, businesses had to swiftly deploy solutions for working remotely to sustain a level of flow.
For enterprises with digital maturity, it was easy. But more difficult for others who had not yet fully developed digital systems.
Companies relying mainly on the cloud were able to handle this transition quickly. At the same time, those with on-site solutions encountered severe obstacles, in particular, due to the need for physical hardware.
This year, the versatility to be available to customers and satisfy their expectations becomes indispensable to standing out. Therefore, companies should embrace adaptable strategies empowering them to accommodate changes.
The use of comprehensive technologies offers flexibility and can combine the innovations of tomorrow with company fundamentals.
The rate at which asynchronous interactions for customer service continues to grow is phenomenal. Channels such as Facebook Messenger and Instagram have seen daily conversations increase by 40% amongst customers and businesses.
Also, with 2 billion users on WhatsApp and 1.2 billion on Messenger, consumers’ attitudes change and encourage the increased use of these messaging apps throughout the customer journey.
GAFAs continue to support this shift to asynchronous, by promoting the messaging activity. For example, Google began the rollout of Business Messages, allowing users to message a business preferably rather than making a call and alternately pushing direct messaging.
Globally, there have been peaks in every sector over the past year for customer service queries. With bricks and mortar stores closing temporarily from time to time, it means customers have looked towards digital channels and those that offer the feature of asynchronous messaging.
To meet the expectations of instantaneous favoring customers, fast asynchronous communication is increasingly displacing synchronous channels such as live-chat. In 2021, implementing the best tools to handle these demands and answer within the appropriate timeframe will be imperative.
Digital channels are acclimated to many circumstances and enjoyed by a burgeoning number of customers. Nevertheless, the phone continues to be a profoundly used and necessary channel. It could have been the root of difficulties, essentially, because of queuing or wait times, but the phone sees its methods enhanced thanks to digital.
Call deflection makes it feasible to redirect calls to digital channels when suitable for the customer and the company. It can be proposed before the call, throughout the queue, or during the call. The customer can communicate by telephone when needed and utilize digital when it is more fitting. This exchange of channels can be extended to perform a payment or collect necessary information (order tracking, price, etc.) promptly via digital channels, without idling time.
Automation and digital make it possible to reduce call volumes and provide much faster answers. Agents are less constrained by resolution time goals and can provide better service. In 2021, the call deflection approach will be more widely adopted to support the transition of telephone interactions to digital.
Artificial Intelligence is a significant trend that has been unfolding for many years. We are presently at a high-level where use cases are becoming further relevant and no longer diminishing the customer experience.
Companies have increasingly identified the most fitting cases for chatbots. They have ascertained more enhanced collaboration among chatbots and agents, which can free up time to concentrate on demands with greater added value.
Customers have become more and more used to this technology and see it less negatively than before. According to an Uberall study, 80% of people who interacted with a chatbot had an excellent experience. The main benefit they see is being able to get responses around the clock. In 2021, companies will continue to rely on the complementarity between agents and chatbots to simplify the customer experience.
Every day, customer service agents can be faced with barriers that depreciate their effectiveness and influence the customer experience. Agents can lose up to an hour a day shifting between tools, and 73% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service.
Employee satisfaction also has a meaningful impact on customer service. By providing agents with the best tools, they can interact seamlessly with the team through different modes (team messaging, video, and phone) to receive the information they require and resolve customer requests quicker and more efficiently.
The adoption of unified communications tools even more likely and necessary since the extended use of remote working. This axis should be an inclination for companies planning to advance their customer relations in 2021.
Digital will remain a central point in the customer experience into 2021. Thanks to the growth of automation to support agents and the generalization of new forms of exchange, organizations will be capable of putting people back at the center of the customer experience, to sustain a strong link with customers.
About RingCentral, Inc.:
RingCentral is a publicly traded provider of cloud-based phone systems for businesses. It is headquartered in Belmont, California and has offices in Denver, Colorado; Manila, Philippines; Xiamen, China; St. Petersburg, Russia and Odessa Ukraine.
Published: Wednesday, February 24, 2021
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