Improving customer experience is expected to be a huge priority for small businesses in 2022. Brands will continue to build on their successes from the past year and learn from missteps to leverage technology-driven solutions and develop deeper connections with customers.

Even if your business offers a great product or service, customers will soon turn elsewhere if customer experience fails to satisfy them. Customers no longer view satisfaction as adding value to their experience, it’s become central to the purchasing journey.

Customer experience
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As customers now have far greater access to information and competitor brands online, pricing is not the biggest factor driving sales. In fact, up to 86% of online consumers will pay more for a better customer experience. This means that guesswork is no longer enough when it comes to what customers want and need.

To get the customer experience right, you need quality data and accurate insights into each customer’s experience.

Even in a digital age of increasing automation and self-service, the customer experience is key to customer retention and increasing profits.

The customer-facing elements of the digital experience, such as your blog, website, email content, and advertising, may appear similar to other brands in your industry. That’s why it’s vital to find ways to deliver the relevance, value, and personalisation which will make your brand stand out from the rest.

Customer Experience Trends

The global pandemic transformed daily life, work, and shopping for many of us. It caused unprecedented disruption across most business sectors, costing UK SMEs just over £126 billion.

Online sales rocketed as the leisure industry and physical retail stores struggled, and businesses were forced to adjust to this new consumer landscape. With a new year in business about to begin, here are the top three predictions for customer experience trends in 2022:

  1. Predictive consumer insights: Increasing numbers of brands will harness data analytics to understand their customers better and enable them to improve their customer experience offering.
  2. Increase in third-party data: There will be a greater focus on consumer data acquired from third-party sources to create hyper-personalised customer experiences as part of the online consumer experience.
  3. Personalisation evolution: Brands will invest in transforming personalisation into individual customer experiences. Personalisation will become one-to-one experiences to develop emotional bonds and long-lasting customer relationships.

Using automation for enhancing customer experience

How to Boost your Customer Experience in 2022

Here are some key ways your small business can improve customer experience in 2022.

Use data to predict customer needs

Rather than assuming you know your customer, use data and predictive data analytics to make decisions, predict churn rate, improve customer loyalty and increase margins by up to 60%. With accurate data-driven customer insights, you can better understand your customers, improve your customer experience, and implement effective ways to retain them. You can also use this data to segment customers with similar consumer profiles and create tailored packages for them, and entice new customers.

Deliver a personalised customer experience

In 2022, businesses will harness customer data to benefit customers and deliver a more personalised experience. Website personalisation will become a key part of the cross-channel digital experience for existing and prospective customers. Delivering a more personalised customer experience has many business benefits, for example:

  • Improved customer relationships
  • Higher customer retention
  • Increased conversions
  • Increased sales
  • Better data to use in the future

Create experiences that go beyond personalisation

Customer experience is not just about providing a good service. It is about creating emotional bonds between the customer and the brand, which translate into lasting relationships. For instance, Nike By You is a service provided by the global footwear giant Nike. It enables customers to design and customise their Nike sportswear and footwear. This gives customers a greater sense of ownership and makes them feel in partnership with the brand.

John Lamphiere, Regional Vice President of marketing firm ActiveCampaign, believes that customer expectations have never been higher. He said: ‘If personalisation was important in 2021, then going further to create one-to-one experiences that delight and create super fans will be hugely important in 2022. Sending a discount voucher on a customer’s birthday is no longer enough to make that customer feel important.’

Respect customer privacy

While consumers may want businesses to know about their needs and habits to provide relevant and personalised customer experiences, you must not lose sight of data privacy. Web users won’t tolerate businesses collecting and using their data without their prior knowledge or permission.

Consider adding a consent box on your homepage to collect email addresses, and pop-up windows letting customers know what data you are collecting. You can also include links to your privacy policy in your website or email communications, which will help build a sense of trust with your customers.

Harnessing the power of data to inform customer insights, personalisation, and one-to-one experiences will be essential drivers for improving customer experience in 2022.