10 Digital Communications Trends to Watch Out for in 2022
The covid-19 pandemic has redefined how businesses interact with their customers. Even businesses traditionally resistant to change have had to pivot to digital overnight as people became more accustomed to shopping, working, and fulfilling other needs online. Contactless deliveries, curb-side pick-up, virtualized healthcare, online learning, mobile payments, etc. have become the norm of the day. With the pandemic stretching well into 2022, such changes are here to stay. Customers now expect (more than ever before) companies to meet them where they are and serve them quickly and painlessly. Businesses globally have their work cut out — while the disruptions of 2021 and 2022 were all about coping with the shock, 2022 will entail getting back on track and finding ways to win their customer’s trust and loyalty. There will be a continued focus on going digital to improve both customer and employee experience as most of the world continues to work remotely.
We’ve compiled a list of the most dominant digital communication trends in 2022 that we hope will help you stay ahead of the curve and make smart choices for your business.
- 1Increase in Multi-Channel CommunicationCustomer communication over multiple text communication channels such as email, voice, SMS, live chat, and WhatsApp was already on the rise, and we expect this trend to accelerate significantly in 2022 as more people get comfortable exploring newer channels to reach out to companies. In fact, a 2020 Mckinsey & Co. report says that younger consumers are way more likely to embrace new channels and they increasingly evaluate brands based on the seamlessness of their experience. They will ask questions on one channel, and then move on to the next to complete their purchase. They will no longer be satisfied only with buying a product at a reasonable price, but decide on who to purchase from based on the ease of their customer journey as they move from channel to channel.
For businesses, this will mean managing omni-channel communications, replying to more customers online, and doing so while never losing track of the customer no matter which channel they are on. They will need to spend significant time and resources in communicating with customers across multiple digital touchpoints, and do it well consistently to avoid losing market share. Therefore, customer-first businesses will focus on simplifying their customer communication.
2Taking Mobile-Friendly Interfaces a Step FurtherConsumers are spending a lot more time on their mobile devices, especially after the pandemic. Most high-growth enterprises, well aware that the future is mobile, had started designing mobile-friendly interfaces even before 2020. In the year ahead, we expect the number of mobile-only customers to rise significantly, and purchase journeys to take place entirely on mobile. So we will start to see businesses focusing not just on creating “mobile-friendly” experiences, but rather “mobile-first” experiences to boost sales and customer support. In addition to designing their company’s web presence for mobiles devices rather than desktops, high-growth businesses will also focus on incorporating mobile-specific technologies such as GPS, data-gathering, built-in cameras, and near-field communication to create features that are not available to desktop users. They will also focus on optimizing for voice search, optimizing for local search, minimalism, and so on.
- 3Growing Uptake of Cloud Communication PlatformsAs enterprises continue to grapple with the aftermath of the pandemic, a top priority for organizations has been to focus on delivering digital services while at the same time preserving cash by optimizing IT costs. Cloud communication platforms have been a natural choice, as they offered businesses a way to connect with their customers digitally without having to make any investments in on-premise hardware. In 2022, we expect the deployment of cloud communication platforms to shoot up as businesses scramble to unify their customer communication across multiple channels and use a single cloud communication platform that offers easy-to-use interfaces, flexible APIs for any channel, as well as SaaS and CPaaS options. Having a unified communication system will help companies minimize mistakes that invariably happen when businesses function with disparate software platforms that are not integrated. Cloud solutions will be highly sought after due to their scalability and their ability to enable multichannel interactions from basically anywhere.
- 4 Increase in Hybrid WorkforceThe pandemic necessitated an overnight shift to remote work for employees. Companies had to create makeshift arrangements to help their staff work from home. They leveraged messaging platforms to send out urgent communication and ensure continuity of work. In 2022, with most of the world still working from home, and employees increasingly expecting greater work-life balance even when office resumes, we expect companies to work towards creating systems of deeper collaboration between teams. They will try to formalize hybrid models of working, and roll out proper processes for complete digital onboarding of employees. They will make investments toward making communication smoother and transparent between different teams including HR, finance, admin, sales, marketing, and so on. When it comes to customer communication, businesses will invest in resources that empower their support reps who work remotely to answer all customers questions with speed and precision.
- 5 Blended AI for Customer Support to Gain TractionMany businesses have been using different degrees of automation when it comes to providing customer support and service, and in 2022 we expect to see a real maturing in the way companies blend human agents and bots to boost contact center productivity and provide exceptional customer service at reduced costs. As AI becomes increasingly democratized with low-code or no code solutions, more businesses will adopt AI solutions for customer communication. AI-based bots will increasingly be able to use natural language processing to gauge human intent, and hold conversations that feel “human”. In cases where human intervention is needed, such bots can intelligently route the query to the most suitable rep or department. Moreover, AI bots will be able to better assist human reps in understanding which leads are worth chasing by analyzing previous customer interactions. This kind of blended service will help businesses drive the best outcomes.
- 6More SMEs to Adopt Omnichannel StrategiesOffering a variety of digital touchpoints to provide exceptional customer experience has mostly been the prerogative of larger businesses. SMEs know they too need to have a strong digital presence on multiple channels, but often find costs prohibitively high. But increasingly, we expect SMEs to make omnichannel a key part of their strategy. In 2022, cloud-based omnichannel contact center platforms, which do not require huge investments in on-premise infrastructure, will enable many SMEs to be on an equal footing with larger businesses. They can scale their online business and be present on multiple platforms without overhauling their IT infrastructure. They can easily manage all their customer conversations from a single window and increase their digital footprint.
Rise in Strategic Ecosystem PartnershipsThe covid-19 pandemic taught businesses the importance of being resilient as well as agile. To stay relevant, many forward-thinking businesses partnered with third parties via APIs to offer more value to their customers. These partnerships helped such businesses to protect, even increase their revenue streams while others languished. In 2022, we expect to see a substantial increase in strategic partnerships — for instance, many businesses that may not have the technology needed to create chatbots will tie up with bot providers to offer chatbot services on their customers’ preferred channels. Enterprises will also tie up with third parties to offer a bouquet of services that go beyond their core competencies. For example, banks will work with external partners to address a broader set of customer needs that go beyond financial services, be it hailing a cab or booking flight tickets.
Video to Become a Potent Marketing Tool for BrandsEven back in 2019, an average user watched above 100 minutes of video content per day; this number has risen exponentially post covid-19, when people were stuck in their homes. Savvy brands were quick to identify videos as a potent storytelling tool, and made it a critical part of their marketing strategy. They used videos to tell stories on various social media platforms, encouraged customers to post videos about their experience with a product or service, creating high-value engagement. In 2022, videos will find their way into the mainstream as more businesses — fashion brands, FMCG companies, food & beverage players, automakers, etc. — use video content to increase customer engagement and sales. Whether it is for product tutorials, vlogs, to conduct Q&As, or stream live events, video will play a huge role as businesses look to create a unique brand identify in a sea of noise.
- 9Rise of Voice AIThe scope of pre-recorded voice conversations when customers call up a business has largely been limited so far. Customers who call a business to report a problem or find some information often up end having to listen to a long list of pre-recorded messages that may or may not be relevant to them before they can get their point across. This creates a poor customer experience. Tech-savvy businesses have been working to leverage voice AI to make customer calls a much better experience. 2022 will see the rise of the next generation of voice AI, where technologies like natural language processing will be able to gauge the caller’s intent from some key voice signals and direct them to the right place at the right time, saving customers’ time and energy.
Growth of 2-Factor AuthenticationThe move to digital has brought about an unwanted side effect in the form of cybercrimes, which have been on the rise. Businesses usually use simple passwords to protect their customers’ account, but 2022 will see wider use of 2-Factor Authentication, which involves not one but two steps to ensure more security. Having a second form of authentication will go a long way in preventing fraud and help users gain greater control over their online accounts.