In December 2021, Forbes released an article predicting customer service trends for this year. We realized after COVID that it’s hard to predict just about anything these days, but with a few years of pandemic practice, let’s see how they did.
eCommerce Book sand Evolves – Customers are Buying More Through WhatsApp and Other Channels
This prediction hit… half. eCommerce is still exploding (and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future), but WhatsApp and other platforms haven’t impacted as much as expected. All social channels are trying to roll out ways to make shopping easier and quicker, but they haven’t made as big of a splash as Blake Morgan, the author of this article, suggested. However, with half of the year ahead of us, these platforms may become major players.
Instant Gratification – Online Customers Want a Response Within 5 Minutes or Less
This becomes more true every day. “Modern customers want what they want, and they want it now.” This is true across all industries and all platforms. Customers are no longer willing to wait to go to the store; they will Instacart it, so it gets there within the hour. They won’t wait a day to transfer their money; they’ll choose the option that gets it there in minutes, even if they have to pay a higher processing fee. And they sure won’t wait for a response, whether on social media or email.
Keep this in mind if you are in any retail or service industry. Your customer will go elsewhere to find the answer they are looking for if you don’t provide it fast enough. Therefore, fast (and effective) customer service should be your number one priority.
Earth Talk – Customers Want to Know Environmental Impact of What They’re Buying
Yes. This one is still accurate. It’s no longer enough to say that you practice sustainability or offer environmentally friendly options. You must show it, and you must live it. For example, clean beauty brands outperform and outsell huge names that have been around for years. In addition, Amazon allows you to sort products based on sustainability practices.
Sustainability warriors aren’t going anywhere. So it’s time to ensure your business keeps up with the times.
Experience Economy Booms – Moving Beyond Products to Services
“Shopping is no longer just about products.” It’s about how the process makes you feel. Did you enjoy the experience? Did you get anything out of it? These are the questions retailers must ask themselves today.
Free samples at Costco don’t cut it anymore. Instead, think about the men and women who offer to help you plan your next vacation or show you the new features of the latest TV while you’re doing your shopping. These are the experiences customers are looking for; they just happen to use your products to gain that experience.
Bots Help Staffing Shortages – Robots Taking Over Human Tasks
The pandemic has created staffing shortages unlike anything we’ve seen in this millennium, and technology is advancing at the speed of light. Put those two factors together, and you see robots performing jobs once held by kids in high school and college.
At the University of Tennessee, there are robot delivery vehicles now. Students, teachers, and employees will see these self-driving machines scoot across campus to deliver someone’s groceries or lunch. At Sam’s Club, you won’t know a teenager with a broom or mop anymore; no, you’ll see a vacuuming robot heading through each aisle. The technology is impressive as they have motion detectors not to hit any person or object in their path.
As hard as it is to predict anything these days, these are pretty on the nose. Customer experience is becoming more important each year and is more crucial than ever. As a business owner, keep these trends in mind and tweak your business plans and strategies to fit what your customers are searching for. Now is the time to get ahead and make a difference. If you need help with day-to-day operations, strategic planning, or growth approaches, reach out to us. A partnership with ABCO Group may be what you need to get your business into the eyes of the 2022 consumer.