3 CX Trends to Spread Cheer During the Holidays (and Beyond)
Holiday e-commerce sales will grow 11 percent to 15 percent this season, per Deloitte, with retail sales right behind at a 7 percent to 9 percent increase. In total, people will spend about $1.49 trillion to $1.52 trillion dollars holiday shopping.
That’s a lot of spending — and 83 percent of people say they would stop purchasing from a brand after just one bad customer experience. If you don’t have the proper strategy, this season will quickly turn cold as consumers "add to cart" with your competitors.
Here are three customer experience trends to keep in mind this holiday season (and beyond).
Community Will Make a Comeback
Customer service can be extremely frustrating for users. Brands must have care options to meet customers where they are, plus automation to deal with increased holiday season call volume.
To aid in that care, consider communities. The average brand community reduces at least 10 percent of customer service inquiries. Customers pose questions on forums or community pages, and other customers that have experienced the same thing provide guidance.
Another community perk: customers consistently offering insights will regularly update your pages, giving a nice search engine optimization boost. When other people search for that topic, your page will appear atop the rankings, introducing more people to your brand.
New Measures of Customer Sentiment
Keyword tracking has long been part of brands' digital strategies, particularly across social channels. It’s a tried and true formula: Monitor for a specific product name, keyword, or competitor, and start a conversation when it pops up.
However, merely tracking keywords and vague sentiments won’t fly in the future. That only paints a partial picture, and brands need to understand a customer’s whole story.
Expect a shift to the why behind the ways customers are feeling. Use root-cause analysis to determine the true nature and motive of customer conversations, and take action accordingly.
For example, a company may learn both customers and agents are frustrated by the return process. Applying those insights, the company refreshes its customer experience, reducing call time and turning returns into exchanges — and profits.
With root-cause analysis, you can properly respond across all customer touchpoints and improve their overall experience.
Brands Will Bring More In-Store Elements to the Digital World
Consumers like the convenience of ordering from home. They get to avoid commutes, long lines, and can browse without fear of someone breathing down their neck for the last toy on the shelf.
Brands have been forced to adopt digital presences during the pandemic. However, there are perks to an in-person shopping experience, so they won’t disappear entirely. The companies continuing to innovate are the ones leading the retail resurgence.
For example, a clothing company may create an elaborate “virtual fitting room” for consumers to see exactly how an outfit will look. That digital element eliminates the pain of finding a seemingly perfect shirt or pair of pants, only to learn it’s a size too small. By introducing ways for people to better tailor their experience, you’re building trust — a key component to the brand/customer relationship.
Similarly, a food company might offer digital tailgate packages to make game day more interactive. Cross-promotional collaborations abound with these types of packages, from media and sports partnerships to clothing and food and beverage deals. Imagine connecting with your fans without them ever having to get up from their recliner — that’s a more powerful tool than a durable offensive line.
The growth in customer spending will be challenging for brands, but it will also provide an opportunity. Embrace the power of community, dive deeper into customer sentiment, and bring in-store benefits to the digital experience. Brands that don’t will be left out in the cold.
Nick Hill is general manager of communities at Khoros, a global leader in digital-first customer engagement software.