Customer engagement has evolved in the past few years faster than we anticipated. And thanks to technology and pandemic, we experienced a series of unprecedented changes that no crystal gazer warned us of. However, if you had read 2019 trends, you would know that distributed customer service teams and cloud communication platforms were expected to become a norm even back then. But only a few took it seriously.
The only way to thrive in these changing times is to remain on top of upcoming trends and prepare for what lies ahead. So to find out what’s brewing in 2022 in the customer engagement industry, we sat down with our customers, stakeholders, industry leaders and discussed the customer engagement industry plans. Also, we dived deeper into the data and analyzed the ongoing merger & acquisitions and pandemic-induced urgencies that are sure to define the 2022 customer trends.
Let’s get started.
Unifying Communication Channels to Facilitate Connected Conversations
Customers are exploring new communication channels every day. Be it Email, WhatsApp, Telegram, or Facebook messenger; they are flooded with options. As a result, it’s hard to guess how they will traverse the online world and where will they land. For example, they may see your ad on Instagram, then move to your website, and may end up calling you or vice-versa. But iterating their information on every platform is the last thing they want to do.
The only way to serve customers in their unpredictable journeys is by unifying communication channels and delivering a hyper-personalized customer engagement experience at every touchpoint.
33% of customers get frustrated by having to repeat themselves to multiple support reps.
This is why, in 2022, all industries will be adopting Unified Communications (UC). Irrespective of where the customer arrives, UC will bring together email, voicemail, video conferencing, messaging apps, AI chatbots and other communication channels to deliver prompt and frictionless engagement on every platform. Furthermore, this approach will be backed by AI-driven conversations where the collected customer information would be further analyzed to provide dynamic and intelligent responses at different touchpoints.
Adding Identity to Business Communication to Fill Trust Gap
As per the 2021 numbers released by Truecaller, India ranked 4th on the list of countries receiving maximum spam calls, and just one spammer made over 202 million spam calls. This has created a major trust gap between customers and businesses because of which customers are now cautiously answering every incoming call.
In 2022, businesses will communicate with customers through verified caller ID solutions to steer clear of such tricky situations that can damage brand reputations. These solutions provide the context of the incoming calls by displaying the brand, the name, logo, and reason for the call on the calling screen. Truecaller and Google are currently two of the biggest brands providing these solutions in the market.
Growth in IP & App-to-app Calling to Provide Flexible and Economical Calling Solution
Global VoIP market is expected to grow from $85.2 billion in 2021 to $102.5 billion by 2026. (Source: Businesswire) This growth in the numbers is said to be the by-product of the CoVID-19 pandemic which pushed a lot of industries to go remote, especially IT, Telecom, and BFSI sectors.
By switching to IP & app-to-app calling solutions, businesses can save up to 68% of their phone costs compared to traditional phone services. In Indian and emerging markets where companies rely heavily on calls, the cost-saving capability of IP calls will be a primary accelerator of this trend.
Favouring this growing need for flexible and economical calling solutions, the Indian communication industry has also made a few regulatory changes to make the adoption easy for businesses.
Hybrid Workforce Will Become a Norm With Distributed Teams
According to a McKinsey survey, nine out of ten organizations will be combining remote and on-site working. There’s no compelling reason for businesses to not pursue a hybrid work culture. Most companies working remotely have experienced increased productivity and customer satisfaction during the pandemic without having to compromise their business continuity.
As a result, businesses are also poised to continue in a distributed setup in 2022. Cloud communication solutions have played a big role in instilling confidence. In the last two years, these solutions have persistently solved communication challenges with features like live chat, video call, project management, VoIP, conference call, mobile app connectivity, and file-sharing capabilities. And it will continue to do so as more and more companies go hybrid.
Due to this, in 2022, businesses will continue to overrule the traditional CAPEX model of multi-year investments with OPEX investments on easily customizable, scalable, and virtual solutions that can support their changing needs of a hybrid workforce.
Adoption of Intelligent Conversations at the Intersection of Human and Bots(Conversational AI)
It’s practically impossible for customer service agents to attend to every customer query on every communication platform, especially when customer touchpoints are constantly growing.
Conversational AI tools are advantageous in such tricky situations and will be the primary reason for its large-scale adoption in 2022.
Unlike scripted chatbots, AI-powered bots utilize the power of multiple trailblazing technologies like,
- Machine Learning,
- Natural Language Processing,
- Intent Recognition,
- Text-to-speech and more
Combination of these technologies makes the otherwise bland and rule-based conversation more dynamic, intelligent, and contextual. Rather than just processing keywords, these tools take a step back and attempt to analyze the conversation’s setting. Examining conversations on a deeper level refines the company’s response and enables fluid and human-like contextual conversation when required. For fallback, human agents are always kept in the loop to take up the slack when bots fail to answer.
Breaking the Customer Data Silos With Customer Data Platforms (CDPs)
Unifying customer communication is easier said than done. Although traditional data platforms capture all the possible customer communications, the silos between these applications are a major setback when trying to unify the communication. In addition, these silos have often resulted in outdated, disconnected, and inconsistent data, ultimately defeating the purpose of collecting customer data.
Here, Customer Data Platforms (CDP) solve this challenge by aggregating all the customer information in a single place and creating unified customer profiles. Accumulating data in a single database allows businesses to anticipate customers’ next steps and enables them to place right and personalized information at different touchpoints strategically.
Delivering connected and consistent customer engagement will become a lot easier with the adoption of CDP. For that reason, a lot of businesses will likely add CDPs to their engagement stack in 2022.
Employing Sentiment Analysis at Different Customer Touchpoints
This year contact centre monitoring will go beyond just reporting and analytics. Instead of just scratching the surface, companies will dig deeper. They will introduce sentiment analysis into the processes, which will help them understand when customers are unhappy, furious, or agitated and how they can remedy it before the situation goes out of hand.
Sentiment analysis tries to understand the underlying subtext of customer comments on the calls, text messages, reviews, social media comments, and more. As a result, it will find patterns and opportunities to enhance the customer experience. It relies on a combination of new technologies such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning, and computational linguistics to mine data like social media comments, blogs, and product reviews for relevant input. The tool flags the responses as positive, neutral, or negative upon assessing these inputs.
Get the Ball Rolling
By now, you would have understood that the customer engagement industry is all about moving fast and delivering intelligent customer experiences. Although, you don’t need to do it all at once. But starting early is the key.
If any of the above trends align with your business and customer needs, then you must start evaluating them seriously. Exotel team is here to help answer your queries with its personalized assistance and full-stack cloud communication product portfolio. So get in touch with us now to learn more.