5 Customer Experience Trends to Watch in 2021

9 Mar 2021

The sheer number of channels available for content distribution and consumer consumption continues to grow and, for marketers, the challenge is to provide a memorable customer experience in the midst of this abundance.

Being able to react to the market at speed and offer your customers experiences that delight and amaze them is crucial to competitive success. So, how do you do it? How can you create a successful customer experience strategy?

Creating a memorable customer experience starts with your CMS

Modern content management systems (CMS), unlike their monolithic predecessors, offer agility and flexibility via a headless, decoupled, or hybrid architecture, depending on the needs of the organization. While monolithic CMS platforms feature tight coupling of front and back-end capabilities, restricting design and content delivery flexibility, a hybrid CMS that uses headless and decoupled technologies enables developers to select the frameworks and tools of their choice to create content, while offering agile, omnichannel delivery options on the front-end of the platform.

An example of this hybrid approach can be found in Crownpeak's Digital Experience Manager (DXM) , which facilitates extraordinary digital customer experiences. It enables you to use your favorite content design solutions and frameworks and delivers that content rapidly across multiple channels and devices.

In 2021 customer experience will be a top business priority, and for those companies able to react, adapt and deliver at speed there is everything to play for.

Below we cover five customer experience trends that are worth watching in 2021.

Trend #1. Winning websites will be customer-centric

With all the customer experience options available today, including social media platforms and content-rich sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, etc., it can be easy to forget the huge impression your organization’s website makes on your audience. Relying solely on content you distribute through other channels can be counterproductive if it causes you to neglect your own website’s potential. Customers today expect a consistent brand experience–if you produce beautiful videos or other compelling content but your website is bland and uninformative, it can take a toll on your customer acquisition and retention rates.

Besides the design of your website, the pandemic of 2020 has made it clear how important it is to keep customers updated about all the latest actions your organization is taking in reaction to current events. As you head into 2021, keeping your audience informed about such actions remains a key activity for your website. Providing this type of information helps reassure consumers and bolsters their trust in your brand.

Remember that your website is often the first step in the customer journey, meaning it offers your best chance to create a great first impression; providing relevant information and a well-designed CX is key to doing so.

Trend #2. Superior CX will be relational-not transactional

The modern customer appreciates a sophisticated customer experience. They want to be more than just a transaction to your business; they want to feel they have a relationship with your company or brand.

How can you meet customer expectations in this regard?

The key is to demonstrate that your corporate culture is empathetic and welcoming. This encompasses things such as the ease of doing business with your company, the degree of personalization offered, the way you treat your employees, and the way you handle customer service.

Research by Salesforce shows that 71% of customers think businesses that demonstrate greater care and empathy have earned more loyalty this year. One way to accomplish this is by evaluating each customer touchpoint to make sure that your customers feel valued every step of the way when doing business with you.

You can demonstrate you value them by sending emails to acknowledge your customers at important points in the customer journey and by personalizing each customer interaction. Optimizing the customer experience extends from the content you deliver to contact such as emails and phone calls.

Another crucial touchpoint for creating a welcoming customer relationship is your contact center. The interactions your customers have with personnel here go a long way to establish your brand image with your customers. Your staff should be trained to go the extra mile to meet and exceed customer expectations.

Smiling man at his desk.

Trend #3. Interactive, immersive digital experiences will be highly prized

According to a recent marketing study , interactive content generates two times more conversions than passive content and generates up to five times more page views than ordinary content. Why is that the case? Likely, it is because interactive content is a conversation rather than a lecture, a two-way communication in which a brand is listening to the customer just as much as the customer is listening to the brand. It’s easy to see why interactive content can lead to better customer experiences overall.

In this time of social distancing when many consumers are facing unprecedented levels of isolation, providing interactive, immersive digital experiences can help companies stand out from competitors in a uniquely positive way.

You can provide interactive, immersive digital experiences in a variety of ways, including:

  • Augmenting the commerce experience with virtual ways to shop and buy
  • Leveraging location-based marketing activations
  • Providing 360-degree stories for customers to explore digitally
  • Displaying products in 3D with digital twin modeling
  • Developing mobile and video games to better demonstrate new products and services
  • Providing simulated trials of products or services
  • Creating virtual communities for brand loyalists

Trend #4. Omnichannel will become non-negotiable

Given the many channels and devices consumers use to access content today, taking an omnichannel approach is vital to optimizing a business’ ability to deliver a comprehensive customer experience.

With the pandemic forcing many firms to move to a digital-only model in 2020, the trend toward omnichannel marketing and customer service efforts has only accelerated. The development of hybrid headless CMS such as Crownpeak’s DXM has helped power this trend by offering businesses the ability to seamlessly deliver content across a wide variety of channels.

This helps companies provide the type of consistently engaging digital experiences customers expect. If a customer accesses your content from the desktop, only to find that a seamlessly integrated personalized experience is not available when they use their smartphone, disappointment is likely to set in. For optimal results, a business should project a consistent CX through social media, email, live chat, marketing material and offline. The rapid content delivery enabled by modern CMS enables timely adjustments to meet customer expectations.

Trend #5. The customer experience will be defined by flexibility and speed

One of the hard-learned lessons from 2020 for brands was that, in times of uncertainty and rapid change, companies must be able to move quickly to meet customer needs. Companies that are flexible and agile, able to meet customers in their moment of need, will be the ones that customers will come back to time and again.

Creating and delivering consistently engaging digital experiences at a steady velocity instills trust in customers and helps your business grow. Be sure that you have the technology in place to deliver those experiences with speed and efficiency.

Crownpeak’s DXM enables extraordinary digital customer experiences

To enhance the customer experience in 2021 requires technology capable of providing the design functionality and flexibility to create and distribute beautiful, relevant content across multiple channels at the speed of business. Crownpeak's DXM is a hybrid headless CMS platform that enables you to produce high-quality content, using popular design frameworks such as JavaScript, that can be delivered to consumers across a wide variety of channels.

DXM’s flexibility and support for powerful design tools helps you deliver a rich, relevant, and highly targeted customer experience. The solution’s use of APIs for distribution means that your content can be delivered rapidly, rather than being slowed by a lengthy development process or bogging down programming staff with numerous front-end change ticket requests.

This helps boost customer loyalty by keeping your content relevant and enabling you to respond to changing customer preferences and market conditions quickly. It also enables you to reach your audience on the channels of their choice, rather than being restricted to one or two channels due to inflexible CMS front-end delivery capacity.

DXM features enterprise-level functionality, including SDKs for popular JavaScript frameworks that build the necessary DXM configuration for supporting inline editing, drag-and-drop, and real-time preview. The solution also includes templates and components non-technical marketing staff can put to work building new experiences (not just editing content fields), and multi-destination capabilities such as translation support and content. Additional features include content enrichment capabilities supporting asset transformation, distribution, and delivery as well as experience layer services including testing, personalization, and search.

Are you ready to see it in action and start delivering a great customer experience to your own customers today? Request a demo.

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