The state of the customer journey in 2022 is resilient. Despite and because of a swath of COVID-related changes occurring throughout the world, business leaders are continuing to invest in rapid technological developments and digital transformation. The focus? Customer engagement and customer journeys. This focus on customer engagement and customer journeys isn’t just a matter of convenience, nor is it an empty trend. Instead, excellent experiences are now the main tools to acquire and retain customers.
In our data-driven report, The State of the Customer Journey 2022, we detail trends in customer journeys and the customer engagement landscape based on real results from our systems. While the report covers many channels, from email to web and in-store to social media, across several key industries and use cases, we wanted to share four insights here. Don’t miss out on the whole report. It’s chock full of customer journey data as well as key trends and insights for 2022.
1. EMAIL LIVES DESPITE RUMORS OF ITS DEMISE
While email has often been discounted over the past few years, CSG consistently finds it to be a leading channel for almost every industry. Not only did email interactions make up 63 percent of total journey interactions orchestrated within Xponent™, our end-to-end customer engagement solution, but they were one of the leading channels for almost every industry and use case.
With the high volume of emails sent, it’s no surprise that email is used so differently from project to project. While they made up a huge number of interactions on our “smart notifications” use case, there are many journeys where email can have a massive impact. We share more information on why email is such a powerful channel for customer engagement in the report along with tips to get the most out of your email communications. In short, brands discount email at their own peril.
2. IVR STANDS OUT AS A USE CASE FOR INTELLIGENT MESSAGING
When a consumer calls a business, often they’re first met with interactive voice response (IVR) systems meant to filter and flow customers to the right agent, resolve their issue or deflect to the website. CSG noticed a significant increase in IVR calls within our intelligent messaging offering over the past year. In fact, last year saw some significant changes to the overall trends in call time and volume. While total IVR calls increased 15x year over year, total call times only increased 5x. This means that IVR call times were down to one third of the average from the year before.
To make the most out of your customer journey, you need to be smart about your customer communications. Get the right answers to them faster, resolve inquiries on the first contact and deliver a cohesive experience. These are just some of the reasons to invest in IVR. In the State of the Customer Journey 2022, we share even more insights into how to deliver great customer experiences over the phone.
RELATED WHITE PAPER: Transforming Your IVR From Frustrating to Phenomenal
3. SCALE DRIVES JOURNEY SUCCESS, BUT JOURNEY SUCCESS STARTS SMALL
After decades of customer engagement work, we’ve seen firsthand the power of exceptional experiences delivered at scale. Our data indicates that higher volumes of interactions often confer not only a cost-savings on a per interaction basis, but they also can create greater engagement. This has two caveats, however. You don’t need to operate at maximum scale from the beginning, and more communications aren’t valuable for the sake of quantity.
Why would you start small if scale drives journey success? Because you have to get your experience right before you scale it up. By starting with just one use case, or orchestrating a journey across only a few channels, brands can lay the foundation for greater journey success and higher customer satisfaction in the future. As for the question of quantity, some of our best results come from journeys where our clients reduced the total volume of communications per week or month, but saw better outcomes from each message, including lower unsubscribe rates.
4. JOURNEYS VARY, BUT RETENTION AND CUSTOMER SERVICE SEE SIGNIFICANT INTEREST
With the changing business landscape during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, businesses of every industry have realized the true value of delivering a great customer experience. By engaging customers and keeping them satisfied, they can retain customers, drive repeat business and resolve customer complaints more effectively. All of this has a real business impact. That’s because reduced call times and increased customer lifetime value are major drivers of profitability in the new digital age.
Retention journeys are often more personalized than those with other objectives because of one key thing: customer data. That’s because these journeys are often with known customers with existing profiles. This makes it easier to make decisions and take the best next action along the journey. While these were not the most common journeys, there is a great deal to learn from successful retention projects.
The insights above are just a small sample of the data, trends and insights shared within the larger State of the Customer Journey 2022 report. Ready to dig deeper into the data, check out our methodology and absorb the full set of insights for 2022? Download the report here.