6 customer engagement trends to watch in emerging markets
Last year, the world welcomed 222 million new online users, a figure that grows 4.8% each year. As companies redefine their communication strategies to reach their customers on social media, the post-pandemic landscape has seen nine out of ten companies compete for better customer experiences.
In light of this, let’s take a look at the top five trends that will shape the customer engagement industry over the coming year.
- Exploit the human-AI relationship for personalized customer engagement
Gone are the days when a customer waited for their calls to be answered or repeated requests to a support person several times. Three-quarters of online customers expect a response within five minutes. Being the second largest segment of chatbot users in the world, Indian customers are already looking for personalized and efficient customer service.
To meet these expectations, organizations are already leveraging automation and synchronized communications. They combine the rapid responsiveness of AI agents with human support to stay available or âonlineâ for the growing number of customers through calls and chats. A hybrid response system promises 24/7 service without human teams having to compromise on other complex customer issues, while the human touch ensures satisfactory resolution of queries for customers who request it.
- Unlocking the potential of the cloud for a hybrid customer engagement workforce
When remote working became the new normal in many industries, seven in ten companies globally, including 25% of Asia-Pacific companies, invested in cloud communications services to conserve data, reduce breaches network, accelerate remote interactions and enable uninterrupted engagement. Going forward, cloud communication solutions will be crucial for organizations to transition to a hybrid work culture and serve their broader customer segments regardless of office presence. As physical systems grapple with obsolescence, businesses enter an era where the ‘experiment and fail quickly’ philosophy will replace the traditional CAPEX model of multi-year investments for the benefit of operational expenses (OPEX) on easily customizable solutions and scalable.
- Develop faster and more personalized customer interactions
Organizations are increasingly leveraging unified customer analytics and engagement stacks to understand unique customer needs and expectations in real time to deliver faster, hyper-personalized engagement experiences. These systems enable AI bots built into the customer service framework to effectively assess and respond to different customer moods using sentiment and speech analysis.
In the years to come, companies will use analytics-based systems to identify unhappy customers from satisfied customers and take action as needed. This could be contacting the customer through the preferred channel or forwarding the customer with the relevant human agents to improve case resolution, conversion and customer retention.
- Caller ID and IP call solutions to make communications transparent, secure and efficient
A recent Truecaller report revealed that India was the fourth country most affected by Know-Your-Customer (KYC) spam and scam calls this year. Naturally, Indian customers are both cautious and uninterested in engaging with companies during calls. To trust them, companies will need to engage their customers through verified and enhanced voice calling modules. This need is already at the root of a two-way change that will intensify in 2022.
The first is the growing integration of verified caller ID solutions offered by Truecaller and Google. These solutions allow companies to give identities to calls and messages in the form of a logo, name and reason for the call for context to put the customer at ease. The second is the adoption of VoIP solutions that will allow businesses to connect with customers within the application itself, thus minimizing the risk of breaking engagement due to the trust factor. App-to-app calls not only help customers avoid fear of being scammed or spammed, but also make communications more affordable for businesses.
- Video calls to dominate more industries beyond education
The pandemic has seen video-based engagement become the primary mode of communication between remote work professionals and home students. Over the next year, video-based services will become increasingly popular in many different use cases. Businesses are already moving beyond traditional methods of interacting with customers, such as customer support over the phone and in the office, to offer video support, and for good reason. A recent report observed that 77% of users today want to engage with video enhancement tools and 62% feel better understood and heard when they see real people on the other side. This change opens up a wide opportunity for service companies to learn more about customer expectations and address their specific concerns through transparent face-to-face conversations. Due to its advantage in making interactions more human and intimate, the video will also exercise its primacy in the health consultation, professional counseling and dating industry in 2022.
- The omnichannel advantage will be based on a multi-format mobile experience
A poorly designed website can scare away 57% of users, while 90% of users had a bad experience accessing customer service on mobile. Companies are always on the lookout for innovations that can help them avoid this. Rich Communication Services (RCS) is one such innovation that will be adopted more and more in the future.
The new generation of SMS, RCS messaging enables communication via photos, videos, GIFs, polls and audio. Having only recently entered the market through Google and Android systems, it has already started to improve customer engagement for brands across industries. Subway, for example, used RCS to entice its US customers with high-quality photos of its sandwiches, generating 140% higher conversion than text-based SMS.
With more than 130 million Indians connected for the first time in the past two years, a new chapter in the post-pandemic business landscape awaits to be explored. To maximize their customer engagement potential, businesses need to connect with their customers not only through online platforms, but also by establishing an omnichannel connection every step of the way.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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