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2020 might have been unpredictable, but one common theme has reigned supreme – the customer experience is the most powerful differentiator any business can hope to deliver.
That trend isn’t going anywhere in 2021. In fact, a recent survey found beyond the watershed year of 2020, 59 per cent of people will care even more about the customer experience than they did in a pre-Covid world.
So what are the trends that will shape 2021, and how can you deliver?
2020 has altered the world in terms of the convenience consumers expect. After all this was the year that saw e-commerce boom, while traditional restaurants converted to takeaway, and click and collect became a retail mainstay. Meanwhile, technology was utilised instead of face-to-face meetings and travel.
The convenience metric that emerged in 2020 isn’t going anywhere in a hurry, making now the time to deliver on that customer expectation.
The real-world experience should be just as effortless as searching and purchasing online, so business should focus on tech that helps them meet this expectation.
Whether it’s mobile Point of Sale to speed up the checkout or technology that allows patrons to check in, place a food order and exit with minimal delay, the customer experience will continue to be all about removing the barriers to purchase across both online and real-world channels.
The past year proved a watershed one in terms of business communication. Those who stepped up to keep their customer abreast of their policies during Covid and their political position on issues like Black Lives Matter performed far better than those who buried their head in the sand.
But as the immediacy of 2020 fades, the communication needs to continue, and it happens in a couple of ways.
In 2020, Forbes noted consumers actually trusted the information from business more than they trusted their own government in countries such as the US.
Firstly, brands need to keep telling their customers what’s happening, whether that’s via digital signage that explains the latest Covid practices or social media posts about stock availability and social causes.
Next, they need to keep seeking feedback. Communication is a two-way street and business needs to remain abreast of the customer sentiment, and that’s where tech tools like feedback kiosks play a role.
In 2019, research company McKinsey noted personalisation would be the hot-ticket trend in years to come. Covid accelerated this shift.
Now it’s about hyper-personalisation through all stages of the purchasing journey, with technology like data and AI creating more “human moments”.
Personalisation plays out in a range of different ways through specialised offers and discounts to loyal customers, through great service, and by understanding what the individual customer needs.
Data is what drives personalisaton, and that’s where VIP clubs and loyalty programs are imperative.
Make it easy for customers to become loyal members of your brand through dedicated loyalty sign-up kiosks, and draw on their information to provide offers suited to their individual needs.
It’s now a well-established fact that the staff experience drives that of the customer. In other words, the happier your staff are, the better service they provide.
That means staff should be given the tools they need to do their job quickly and effectively, and should receive the training they require to cater to the customer’s varying needs.
Whether it’s mobile Point of Sale that staff can use to check stock levels and take orders on the shop floor, or tablets that give them information and insight in the palm of their hand, there are a range of simple tech tools that furnish staff with the expertise they need.
But it’s also a matter of asking staff about their experience, including seeking their opinion through tools like simple feedback kiosks to understand how you as an employer can improve.
Many of the trends that will be evident in 2021 have been shaped by the game changing year that was 2020. But even before that some of these shifts were under way.
Now it’s a matter of business drawing on the flexibility and resilience they demonstrated in 2020 to maintain the impetus that continues to meet the customer expectation.
You can view our range of tablet stands and accessories that are designed to facilitate the customer and staff experience here.