Customer communication is vital if you want your organization to succeed. Through customer communication, you’ll inform your customers about your latest products and services. You’ll direct them through their experiences with your brand. You’ll resolve disputes and interact with your customers directly—and perhaps most importantly, you’ll leave a lasting impression on them about the nature of your brand.
Today, brands have more tools than ever with which to interact with customers, from social media to email blasts. But what does the future of customer communication look like?
Important Tools to Watch
We can start by looking at some of the most important tools that could be developed in the customer communication world:
- Digital signs. Digital signage allows organizations to display all kinds of information, helping customers navigate a store, streaming real-time video to them, or even guiding them on how to use certain products and services. They can be used by almost any business for almost any application, and they’re getting less expensive to produce and manage.
- Social media platforms. It goes without saying that social media is a powerful tool for customer communication, and it’s already being heavily utilized by most customer-facing brands. However, social media is going to become even more important as new types of social channels emerge, and customers get used to the idea of every brand being available via social media.
- Video interactions. Video-based interactions are more valuable than written or image-based interactions, in part because they’re easier to comprehend. Since it’s getting easier to capture, transmit, and produce videos, we’ll likely see an increase in the use of tools that allow for video engagement.
- Automation and self-service. Communication tools that allow for automation or customer self-service are also going to become more popular for several reasons. These tools reduce total costs for businesses, which is worth noting, but it’s also important to acknowledge that most modern customers prefer self-service.
Hallmarks of the Future of Customer Communication
So how will these tools develop? Which new tools will emerge? What kind of trends are we going to see companies engage in?
These are some of the hallmarks of the future of customer communication:
- An emphasis on engagement. Effective customer communication isn’t just about conveying a message as efficiently as possible; it’s about truly engaging with your customer. Are they invested in this interaction? Do they feel like they’re a meaningful part of it? Does this make them want to have similar interactions in the future? Communication tools like digital signs are better at supporting engagement than others.
- Data-based decisions. Companies are going to plan their entire customer communication strategies based on the conclusions they glean from hard, objective data. Rather than imagining what customers want to see, or gathering subjective data from a handful of surveys, companies will be pushing hard to learn more about customer preferences with measurable metrics. They’ll be forced to experiment with different tactics, seeing what works best for their audience, and they’ll have the data necessary to make a final decision.
- Bots and AI. By 2024, the chatbot market alone is expected to exceed $1.34 billion. Already, you’ve likely encountered chatbots as you attempted to make a purchase or explore a new website. Chatbots allow companies to automate at least part of their customer service strategy, and the AI that backs them is getting better. It’s only a matter of time before bots and AI become a dominant form of customer communication.
- Self-service options. We’ll also see an expansion of different self-service options available to customers. Today, it’s pretty easy to find an FAQ page on a website for a product we’re enjoying, or look up a video tutorial on how to solve a common problem. But in the future, we’ll see an even more diverse array of options.
- Omnichannel options. Not every customer wants to be informed the same way. That’s why more companies are shifting to an omnichannel model, utilizing every mode of communication available to them in different ways; customer communication of the future will use email, social media, traditional mail, video chat, chatbots, and dozens of other options.
- Empathy and compassion. Though technology may advance, effective customer communication is still going to depend on a valuable human interaction. That’s why empathy and compassion are going to become even more important as distinguishing factors—especially in customer service.
In many ways, the future of customer communication isn’t so different than the customer communication strategies we’re using today. However, if you want your business to thrive in this world of ever-advancing technology, you’ll need to adopt new tactics and tools to stay ahead of the competition. At the end of the day, your customers are the most important factor for your success, so they need to be your highest priority as a business.