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As we move into a digital reality, good shopping and service experiences become crucial to business success

The past year has brought rapid and unprecedented changes for companies and people. Not only has a global pandemic transformed the way we live, collaborate and connect, but economic and social upheavals have forced consumers to reexamine their values ​​and what they expect from the companies they do business with.

Almost overnight, consumer needs drove commerce to an almost exclusively online model, forced companies of all sizes to deal with the future of their work environments and set new standards around customer expectations. And they not only want speed and convenience in the service, but also seek empathy and commitment from companies to their pain.

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Amidst this scenario of dizzying changes, the volume of consumer engagement also rose by 44% in Latin America, and companies had to adapt in ways they never thought possible to offer this experience. In Brazil, 76% of consumers say that the experience has become more important for them now compared to the previous year. These data are from the recently released CX Trends 2021 study by Zendesk.

In it, customer service leaders and technology buyers from 175 countries show that in this journey towards a digital-first world, technology, speed and people are allied to achieve a champion service level, equal to what the consumer increasingly expects to receive. There are five main findings that the report presents based on these points, including for small and medium-sized companies:

  1. The digital curve: forget the plans for a digital transition, as we are already experiencing its reality. Technology is now for everyone, and the rule is to adapt or fall behind. More than half of the companies participating in the survey said they want to invest more in technologies that can help them better manage their workforce (which is now distributed), adapt to keep up with their customers' needs and add ways to offer Support. Even companies that classified these initiatives as low priority before the pandemic, have now changed their thinking.

In Latin America, 9 out of 10 companies said that the pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology, with 70% believing that it accelerated between 1 and 3 years. As organizations invest more in their customers and employees, they prioritize solutions that bring convenience in all these relationships, such as omnichannel, better IT security, agile technology, collaboration tools for the remote workplace and delivery of Artificial Intelligence in the operation.

  1. The digital experience: another interesting finding was that people are looking for online experiences, with 65% of them looking to buy from companies that offer fast and easy digital transactions. Those that manage to deliver a good experience in this regard, lead the engagement with customers and are 75% more likely to increase their customers' expenses. In Brazil, this percentage is even higher, since 8 out of 10 of Brazilian customers (82%) say they would spend more with a company that provides good service. Contrary to loyalty, the study showed that for most Brazilians, a single bad experience (74%) or more than one (83%) is enough to leave the mark - a number that remains consistent year by year.
  2. A more conversational world: As people adopt new behaviors, messaging apps like WhatsApp and Chat are growing in popularity as they allow for more dynamic conversational experiences. Almost a third of consumers started buying from new brands during the pandemic and more than twice that number was through new channels. At the same time, most of these customers have reported that they will not stop using these new channels in the future. In Brazil, the adoption of new means to contact customer service was 84%, with almost half of these being messaging channels.
  3. Focus on agility: the only constant is change, and 2020 was particularly an extremely volatile year. Therefore, service and support organizations are looking for ways to adapt quickly to changing customer needs. In Latin America, both CX leaders and agents have cited this as a priority going forward and many companies, especially smaller ones, are adding technological resources to increase collaboration and promote more efficiency among service teams. The fact is that more agents (+ 30% compared to 2019) are now working through multiple channels, which means that they need to be able to easily switch between them to meet customer demand.
  4. The future of work has begun: companies are rethinking how to work smarter. Many are developing long-term solutions aimed at employee engagement, more flexible hours and structural changes in workflows, which include new tools and technology. These changes for the internal team should translate into better experiences for customers. Globally, 40% of service managers say they do not have the right analytics tools to measure the success of their remote teams, while in Brazil this percentage is only 16%. Therefore, we have a long way to go, but it is showing very positive points of progress.

The success of business in 2021 will be directly related to the ability of companies to offer a good service experience and, in the post-pandemic world, this will only be possible by embracing the new reality that has appeared. The world has changed, and consumers have changed with it. And this transformation of mentality, in which the customer becomes the center of everything and the most proactive companies in pleasing him, is certainly no longer an option.

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