The pandemic-driven disruption is unrelenting. Businesses are having to continually adjust in a number of ways. From connecting teams, meeting new consumer demands and finding innovative ways to sell products and generate leads, it’s been a challenging time for all.
However, this resilience has brought moments of brilliance and innovation. As we look ahead to 2022, here are some key trends that we can expect to see more of over the next twelve months.
Chatbots and humans: Blurring the lines
As society continues to rely on technology, enhancing the customer experience by augmenting chatbots to mimic human and in-store experiences will be an exciting trend to watch over the next 12 months.
We’re going to see human touch and chatbots increasingly threaded across business channels. As humans become more frustrated with generalised support queries and repetitive answers, chatbots are a great solution for alleviating the burden on agents. As the mechanisms to achieve best-in-class customer service continue to develop, chatbots will deliver the authentic exchanges needed to foster a positive customer experience, building trust and loyalty. The digitalisation of customer service is gaining momentum and will continue to do so, with chatbots disrupting the customer engagement arena.
Chatbots are and will continue to redefine conversation. For customer support teams, smart customer service tech means efficiency, and for customers, it means prompt, personalised service from anywhere.
The Conversational Customer Experience
Over the next 12 months, we will see more companies invest in technology to enrich customer connections. As technology has become a lifeline for many, there has been an openness and receptiveness from those who previously didn’t engage much with tech, bringing a demand for seamless, personalised and proactive engagements with brands. Customers are less forgiving, so creating a customer experience that is receptive, helpful and easy to navigate will mitigate frustration and reduce pressures on customer service teams.
More and more businesses will look to deliver a bi-directional customer experience that harnesses the customer’s needs to deliver answers. Repetitive, generic and irrelevant messages simply won’t cut it. Chatbot tools are excellent as they can operate 24/7 and become increasingly effective over time through repetitive understanding. We will see the conversational customer experience become an essential tool in the next year and beyond.
WhatsApp: The one-stop-shop
WhatsApp for Business made some significant strides in 2021. With the rollout of WhatsApp’s Shopping Cart and the initial development of their Business Directory feature, transactions in-app are becoming easier and will continue to grow. Soon industries will be using it as a first-choice selling and customer engagement channel.
We will begin to see WhatsApp become a one-stop-shop for customers, thus reducing friction at the point of sale. Already a treasure chest of data, WhatsApp becoming the sole app where a customer can go through the entire purchase journey will be of immense value for businesses.
With a user base of over 2 million active users, there is a significant commercial opportunity to reach customers in the channels they operate daily with hyper-target products and services. Rather than jumping from app to app, we will increasingly see WhatsApp as a popular destination not only for communicating with friends and family but buying right there, right now.
Commerce in the Metaverse
We’re seeing multiple technology elements combine, including virtual and augmented reality, to create a new world for people to live and consume. In 2022 and beyond, we will see more brands build and nurture their digital universe to engage customers through new channels.
One place which will be exciting to see how brands develop their virtual standpoint is the Metaverse. An omnichannel strategy is a golden ticket for customer engagement. The Metaverse will transform how brands sell products and services. Although the Metaverse will not exist for a while, businesses will have to begin looking at their position is in these new virtual realities to compete and be at the forefront of innovation.
With NFTs shaking up the scene and the value of combining physical and virtual, chatbots will become paramount for managing and processing requests. The data harvested from these new digital landscapes will enable businesses to drive better product discovery and satisfaction. Brands will deliver a more immersive and personal experience for customers to create a seamless and frictionless shopping environment.
Technology will continue to transform
It’s an exciting time for businesses. Technology is constantly developing, and updates are launching daily. Moving forward, the key for businesses will be investing in essential digital tools to enhance offerings and maximise the capabilities modern software presents.
2021 has laid the foundations of what a post-Covid world could look like. Flexibility, agility and a willingness to learn will enable businesses to thrive and stand head and shoulder above the rest. The future is digital, and I look forward to seeing how these trends materialise and become a reality.