Over the last 19 months, many organisations have been forced to rethink how they engage with customers to meet rapidly shifting consumer preferences in the face of massive disruptions. As a result, we observe more customers demanding a highly personalised experience from their interactions with businesses.
In particular, customer channel fragmentation has become the new normal, with more touchpoints and channels than ever in the customer journey.
Leading organisations have moved from being product-centric to being customer-centric. By including new communication technologies, they provide greater levels of personalisation and responsiveness that create a distinct advantage over their competition.
Here are a few business communication trends that will shape the hyper-personalised customer experience in 2022.
#1: Integrated omnichannel customer journeys
Both multi- and omnichannel customer journeys involve several communication channels, but the lack of integration makes the former channel-centric and not customer-centric. Hence, it does not provide a consistent and ubiquitous customer experience that businesses can achieve with an omnichannel approach.
Collecting voice-of-customer data is essential to identify key touchpoints and adapt the flow of interactions to the wants and needs of your audience. That implies integrating all the relevant communication channels with your internal systems and corporate tools.
Communication APIs give organisations more control over how their numerous communications channels interact with each other and with third-party databases like CRMs or customer support solutions. Doing so results in highly personalised communications and greater contextual relevance for all stakeholders.
With 40% of mid-sized enterprises planning to scale up their digital capabilities for customer experience (CX) using CPaaS by 2025 (See this Gartner report for details), communication APIs will continue to enable businesses as they shift from multichannel to omnichannel customer journeys.
#2: Balancing automation, self-service and human interventions
Organisations have been investing in automation to reduce their cost-to-serve, but some have lost track of the human aspect in the process. In the face of increased competition, the ability to provide smart automation, self-service options and personal human interactions at scale will help brands stand out.
A good start is to triage inbound customer interactions with chatbots and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems to adapt the level of response to the conversation topic and the user’s preference.
Gojek for example, has leveraged communication APIs and IVR flows to optimise the management of lost and found incidents, to the point where more than 50% of lost and found cases are now resolved without the involvement of a customer support representative.
Despite the improvement of AI-based communications and the emergence of sentiment analysis, chatbots and IVRs cannot match the emotional awareness of humans. Therefore, digital interactions should complement human interactions and not replace them.
#3: Centralised and integrated communications for continuous CX improvement
To understand customers and provide actionable insights, businesses must connect communication channels with customer data sources and distribute knowledge across the organisation in real-time.
These requirements are easier to achieve when all the communication flows are managed and processed by the same platform. That is why CPaaS, UCaaS and CCaaS are currently being merged by several cloud communications players.
It will also optimise the machine learning process and thus improve the guidance provided to the agents.
We anticipate that more enterprises will want to unify their systems as part of their digital transformation initiatives.
Hyper-personalisation will drive excellent customer experiences for the foreseeable future
A truly hyper-personalised customer experience needs to feel consistent and seamless throughout the customer journey, balancing cool efficiency with human warmth, and doing it all while constantly improving on the insights given to the agents in real-time.
As businesses continue to embrace the move to the cloud, the amount of added value provided by customer data integration has piqued everyone’s interest as they observe the benefits of improving information and data flows between communication channels and third-party applications. For this reason, we foresee a bright future for communication APIs in supporting the shift from multichannel to omnichannel customer journeys.
In tandem, we can expect businesses will empower customers with the right mix of intelligent automation, self-service options, and personal human interactions in their CX.
Finally, to accomplish all of this at scale, whilst leveraging machine learning to fine-tune their customer insights in real-time and meet their DX goals, we believe enterprises will view unifying their CPaaS, UCaaS and CCaaS systems as an attractive option in the years ahead.
Read More: 3 Business Communication Trends Driving Hyper-Personalised Customer Experiences in 2022