How might customer communications change in 2019?
It’s impossible to predict the future, but we think there are a few trends emerging in 2018 that are likely to blossom in the next twelve months.
Some of these trends are driven by customers, some by technology, some by internal corporate pressures – and some by competition from agile startups.
As internet speeds and data allowances have increased, so has the thirst for video.
And as the appetite for online video has increased, tools for creating video content have become more accessible. This means that more marketers and brands are creating video content than ever before, and the appetite for video only grows.
We expect to see this shift continue, with more brands (large and small) using video to teach, inform, entertain and persuade.
It's a powerful way to engage customers - and it's more affordable than ever before.
Bigger experiences, enabled by data
5G mobile networks, mesh Wi-Fi, super-fast broadband – these technologies are all giving people access to bigger experiences on mobile devices and PCs. Brands can deliver more content in more engaging ways.
While the average customer communication will still need to be optimised to use data efficiently, the expanding bandwidth does create opportunities for creating new kinds of experiences.
More in-home devices
Voice-controlled assistants are not going away. Even though the first wave of devices may have been underwhelming, the likes of Google, Amazon and Apple have sold an estimated 56 million smart speakers in 2018 – following 33 million units sold in 2017.
More and more homes include a smart speaker, and people are becoming more familiar with how to engage with them. We’re learning how to speak to our digital assistants, and learning how to get useful information from them.
The implication for the customer communications field is that customers are using smart devices to manage all kinds of tasks – including placing orders, making calls, searching the web and handling their appointments.
How could your company use these smart devices to support customers?
Chatbots continue to grow slowly
Chatbots are another technology that may have suffered from relentless hype.
But chatbots keep getting better. By learning from interactions, chatbots (and the brands that manage them) are gradually developing useful chatbots that can answer simple queries, lead customers to resources and reduce unnecessary tickets and contact centre interactions.
Not only is personalisation a powerful way to connect with your customers, it’s also something customers expect from your brand. Customers want to feel understood and recognised, rather than sensing that they’re just a source of money with legs.
Beyond simply addressing customers by their name, consider customising messages according to their recent orders – or their stated preferences. Modern customer communication management (CCM) solutions make this kind of personalisation easy to achieve on a large scale.
Merging of customer support and marketing
With so much overlapping activity, it’s not surprising that many commentators are talking about a merging of customer support and marketing. If marketing is the company talking about its offers, customer support could be described as the customer talking back. It makes sense to connect the outreach with the response. Otherwise you could be having two sets of one-way conversations.
Could your organisation do more to close the loop between your customer support and marketing operations?
Prioritising digital transformation
For companies that have not evolved with digital technology, or undergone a digital transformation, 2019 might be the year when pressures from competitors become too great, and a transformation becomes the greatest priority.
Customer communications that are ready for the future
At DocCentrics, we help leading companies transform the way they communicate with customers. We can help you implement a powerful customer communications management (CCM) solution that gives you future-proof features like omni-channel communications, dynamic personalisation and event-triggered communications. Contact our team to find out more.