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2021 Predictions: Customer Experience

18 Jan 2021

Trends, technologies, key topics, and issues around customer experience that will shape up 2021

2020 has been a year of both acceleration and great pause for customer experience (CX). These conflicting traits led to challenges and loss for businesses and people at large. Yet the challenges were also met with innovation and ideas that upended the status quo and expedited digital experiences to meet customer needs in days or weeks, not months or years.

Scott Turton
       Scott Turton

Customer experience has changed in dramatic ways for both customers and the brands that serve them. “Nice to have” experience improvements became “must-have” ways to get customers what they needed and frankly, to stay in business. To understand what lies ahead for 2021, our customer experience expert Scott Turton shares with us his top 5 predictions:

1. New ways of resourcing will be defined

Many businesses have invested heavily in CX talent through a variety of models (heavily insourced/outsourced, local vs. near/offshore captives etc.)  We’re now starting to see many businesses questioning whether their arrangements are fit for purpose for the future.  Some are unaffordable as budget pressures mount, others have proved difficult to scale and many still have challenges in insight, quality and speed to market. We see new models emerging and lots of change in how CX work is delivered.  Enterprise agility and an ability to improvise will be key.

2. Design convergence and prominence will grow

Where user experience (UX) was once pigeon-holed as a “presentation layer” capability, many more businesses are realizing that the potential of good design goes well beyond making their apps and websites attractive and easy to use.  As human-centered design becomes much more established, more and more businesses are using the disciplines of user research, service design and design thinking to challenge entire end-to-end services and propositions.  We see designers as the new architects of our businesses and expect to see their influence grow in 2021.

3. Brand purposes become more meaningful than ever

For some time, businesses have recognised the need to share a powerful brand purpose. But for many, the has simply been a mission statement on the website and not much more.  With the changes witnessed, business shouldn’t look the same after Covid – brands need to recognise that purpose creates distinctiveness and will be key to future growth. We will see real growth of brand values as a component of decision making for consumers, accelerated by the Covid pandemic.

4. Brands will stabilise and industrialise their services

For many businesses, the pandemic has led to new online self-serve channels being created out of necessity.  Businesses should be asking themselves whether consumers will continue to expect them (and have higher expectations of them) once some form of normality resumes.  This means replacing quick solutions with scaleable, high-performing versions that will be fit for the longer term.  With this change, we expect investment in technology programs and data mastery in order to make it happen successfully.

5. Sustainability will become a selling point

We believe that our planet will become a key persona in the design and delivery of CX in the future.  Businesses are starting to understand how the way in which they engage customers – online and offline – impacts the environment.  Volumes of emails and use of bandwidth can have as profound effect on carbon footprint as flights and delivery trucks.  More and more businesses will switch on to this imperative as their net zero targets appear on the horizon.  And they’ll win business by sharing their progress with customers.

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