It’s Complicated: Your 2021 Customer Relationships Have Some Serious 2020 Baggage

I’ve been writing a lot lately about customer expectations, the changes we’re seeing, and how some customer care providers have been able to step up to meet those expectations.

As I’ve mentioned, part of the challenge that every retail brand faces now is that the rate of change during this strange year has outpaced anything we’ve seen in the past. Customer needs, expectations and – critically – even many of their core values are undergoing rapid, seismic shifts. And, as with any healthy, mutually beneficial relationship, if you want things to last, you need to notice, accept, adapt – and take good care of you, too. A tall order for any brand, especially when you consider how very much more difficult it has become to track and fully grasp these changes. Even your

In other words, do you really even know who your customer is anymore? Consider this:

The massive experiment in remote working in response to the pandemic dramatically heightened awareness of the jobs and activities happening at home daily. Millions of dads are more involved in their kids’ lives, and many want to keep that dynamic going… If the past five years of data says a certain kind of woman is your primary shopper, are you sure that’s still true? Things may have changed, and they’ll keep changing.”

That’s just one example offered up by writer Tara Kelly, in her recent article for Marketing Technology Insights. While the focus of her “5 Customer Experience Trends to Watch” is primarily on marketing, the implications for customer care are profound. You can read more, below.

At Skybridge Americas, we have always believed that the key to delivering superior customer care lies in embracing – and delivering on – each of our clients’ goals. That takes so much more than cutting edge technology and innovative process. It demands a sustained commitment to being flexible, adaptable, and lightening quick when the circumstances demand it. It’s that commitment that allowed us to deliver seamless service to all of our clients and their customers throughout all of 2020. If you’re considering making a change to your customer care operation and would like to know more about how we can help you, please reach out. We would love to talk!

Predictions Series 2021: Five Customer Experience Trends to Watch in 2021

By Tara Kelly

2020 changed the way we look at things. To deliver a great customer experience in 2021, you’ll need to understand how customer perceptions are evolving. Knowing these trends can help you meet customers where they are in the year ahead.

As this bizarre and uncertain year comes to a close, it’s a good time to step back and look at how the past several months have affected customers and changed the way we do business. It’s also a great time to consider how these changes might carry forward into the year ahead and reflect on what that means for the customer experience.

Big societal trends reverberate down to the micro-level, overturning established buying patterns by altering consumer economics and, just as importantly, changing the way customers see the world. Company leaders need to understand how that lens is shifting and be prepared to meet customers where they are to deliver a great customer experience. Here are five trends to watch.

People Crave Connections

More time at home, the lack of travel and restrictions on social gatherings make it harder to build memories and relationships the way we used to, so people crave connections. Brands that creatively fill that void and convey this message — “I see you” — can enhance the customer experience despite the lack of facetime.

Some companies are getting creative with concepts like gifting — providing beautifully packaged, personalized gifts — that connect with customers and express appreciation. That trend will likely grow as brands look at imaginative ways to make human connections, share thoughts and give thanks. Look for new concepts that go beyond the Zoom happy hour: a more personalized, virtual version of gathering to share drinks and appetizers at a distance.

Digital Excellence Is Table Stakes

Companies that didn’t have a strong presence and robust support capabilities on digital channels when 2020 began have been scrambling to put those assets in place ever since. The truth is, achieving digital excellence can’t be put off any longer, not with so much commercial opportunity happening online and customers reaching out for support across all channels, according to their preferences.

Digital support channels like texting, chat, bots, etc., are table stakes now, and the rush to create those capabilities is like the final push from on-premises systems to the cloud in the recent past. While they are building out those channels, companies may have to beef up live human intervention in support systems to keep customers happy. But keep in mind that delivering a great customer experience will require more than the basics.

Cars Become a Home on the Road

People are looking at their vehicles in a different way now. Cars have become extensions of our living rooms. It’s not uncommon to see drive-thru graduation, anniversary, retirement, and birthday celebrations on the news. Rolling campaign rallies and drive-in movie-style candidate speeches are a thing in politics this year, with supporters honking approval to applause lines.

Vehicles used to be a way to get from point A to point B, but now they’ve become a safe bubble where people can hang out — together and in public but also apart. Technology may take this further in the future as autonomous vehicles morph into a pod where people work and spend time together. Meeting the customer where she is might mean connecting in a car…

READ the entire article >

-Bobby Matthews

Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Skybridge Americas

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