Thought Leadership

2021 Tech Trends: Why the Human Touch Needs to be Felt Digitally

2020 has accelerated digital adoption across all populations – we are all more reliant on our apps, phones, and browsers in everything from buying our groceries to purchasing cars, or even accepting new mortgages. 

Across the board, companies have accepted that their data must be more accessible and connected in order to differentiate their services and make authentic connections with their customers. We all want to deal with brands we trust – but we also want to interact more intuitively and conveniently than we ever have before. 

Data is now taking centre stage in order to help brands create the personalized experiences consumers demand. For many businesses, data – or more accurately, effectively stewarding data – has become the currency for customer loyalty. 

CIOs and CDOs – as masters of the data and tools which provide holistic customer views – hold the power to improve personalization and attract customers through intelligent engagements. And, thus, are gaining greater influence and the power of the organizational purse. 

In Deloitte’s Tech Trends 2021 report, it stated that 40% of CEOs said their CIO or tech leader will be the key driver of business strategy–more than the CFO, COO, and CMO combined

As we emerge into 2021 and continue to live our lives online, tech-enabled personalization, in particular, will be the key business strategy driver that will transform the way brands engage with their customers. This means more than inserting a customer’s name into a salutation or subject line. It means leveraging all customer data to create the next-best-experience for that individual. The connection and authenticity that defined our best in-person interactions, we now must provide digitally. 

We’ve seen digital-first businesses thrive during remote times, but established businesses with legacy processes have the opportunity to create the best aspects of their services in a digital format and differentiate themselves in how they engage with customers. 

Tech-enabled business strategy leading to more agile & accurate customer engagements

Customers are making more and more complex and considered decisions digitally, whether online or even through a mobile app. People are buying expensive cars through an app on their phone and accepting mortgages online – without ever speaking to another person. Some of our largest decisions and purchases that traditionally happened through high touch human interactions have migrated to the convenience of our couch.  

Businesses are learning that they have to play catch up and close the tech chasm, by making mobile experiences and applications more robust and accessible to larger audiences than previously expected.  

When thinking through where to begin redesigning the customer experience – onboarding might be the best place to start. Nothing sets up a relationship better than a good first impression! Sending the same emails or notifications to all customers in a set pattern feels tired and loses customer mindshare from the outset. Focusing on bringing real connection and understanding of an individual to those first interactions will set up an on-going relationship where your customer is more likely to look to you for advice and guidance moving forward. 

We have an opportunity to be part of our customers’ biggest moments – we should make those moments count. We need to nurture our customer relationships through personalized interactions while ensuring their data and information is secure – providing them with the advice, guidance, and feeling that they would have if they were able to have a conversation sitting with an expert in a private office. 

These digital experiences and relationships are not just for millennials. Older generations are adapting to digital life faster than expected out of the necessity 2020 presented. After a year of digital family gatherings, Zoom happy hours, and even grocery shipping – almost everyone has adopted more digital services than the market previously expected. 

One of the keys to enabling customer personalization is how we handle structured and unstructured data. Big and different data sources need to be leveraged in the right way to create complete 360º customer views that result in Customer DNA that highlight and surface the next best customer experience. 

For many companies with legacy technologies, the secret to nailing Customer DNA will be flexible integration frameworks that can combine data from many sources, including homegrown, legacy systems. If being competitive requires creating ‘Bespoke for Billions’, legacy companies will need to prioritize data modernization for positive customer outcomes, integrate legacy components, while continuing rapid digital transformation. 

Moving into 2021, customers will be expecting a brand experience that maintains the one-to-one connection they miss, without losing the convenience of conducting business from their couch. It will be more important than ever for digital strategy to seamlessly integrate not only mobile and online touchpoints, but in-store experiences, phone calls, and everything in between. 

At NDGATA, we’re doing away with the old communication model. We’re interested in enabling experiences that give customers real-time gratification and make a lasting first impression. 

If you’d like more information or to schedule a demo with one of our experts, contact us.

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