As we start the beginning of a new decade, numerous top 10 lists with 2020 predications can be found all over the internet. Some of these are funny predictions made long in the past that paint a world of living in flying houses and every family owning private helicopters. Other, more serious predictions include emerging partnerships and the convergence of cloud-based applications and the increased adoption of AI across multiple industries and systems. While business predictions, in general, tend to focus on changing technology, one trend that seems to be popping up everywhere is around the customer experience and building employee trust. In a world where customers are more empowered than ever to make decisions, aligning customer services roles with marketing, sales and brand values are key to winning new business and building brand loyalty in the years ahead.
According to Forrester, more than 55% of consumers will consider company values when making a buying decision. Although this is not a new trend, it is a growing one and something that companies cannot ignore. For companies to succeed in the future, they need to create values-driven experiences with both customers and employees. Finding customers and employees who share the same values is important in creating long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. For SMBs, this can mean finding and working with other SMBs, who already understand the needs and business mindset of a smaller organization. However, finding customers, vendors and employees who have similar experiences are not enough. It is also important to align other values – from sustainability to people-values to community service, to processes and more.
As companies look to increase automation, the human experience will become even more important internally and externally. While technology will continue to replace the need for humans to perform mundane tasks, finding employees with creative skills and the ability to easily empathize and connect with other employees and customers will be the competitive difference in the future. Just like automation delivers value throughout a business’ entire operations, the human experience and aligning the right people will also deliver value across the entire customer lifecycle. To succeed going forward, businesses need to consider aligning marketing, sales and customer services roles more closely. Building trust and loyalty to engage employees internally are the first steps to better serve customers. A 2019 survey from the Edelman Trust Barometer says that 75% of people trust their employers more than government, media or business in general to do what is right. Why is this important? Earning employee trust through a genuine commitment to purpose leads to a competitive advantage. According to Deloitte, in addition to an increase in employee and customer satisfaction, purpose-driven businesses grow 3 times faster on average compared to their competitors. When employees believe in your products and processes, they translate this information to customers. Aligning roles across your organization means that employees do not need to scramble to keep up-to-date on customer accounts and communication is seamless and effective.
As you review your plans and budget for the year ahead, consider the importance of investing in the right people and the right technology. Implementing software that automates processes allows your team to focus on building relationships with customers, vendors and each other. Companies that succeed in the future will be able to seamlessly align technology and customer service with other areas of the business. This means providing employees with the proper tools they need to succeed in their jobs, while fostering a more collaborative environment.