Successful businesses must consistently adapt to address changing customer behaviour, and modern customers seek to engage with businesses on their terms, whenever and wherever they prefer.
The adoption and commitment to unified business communication platforms and tools will keep surging, and as such there are significant communication trends set to influence how businesses engage with customers in 2024.
Increase In Demand For Asynchronous Business Communication
Looking back to the days when our sole means of written communication with customers was email, it used to be acceptable to reply within a day.
The communication landscape has dramatically changed.
In today’s world, the initial five minutes are paramount. Failing to respond during this critical timeframe results in around 90% decline in engagement. This necessity to capitalize on the moment has given rise to asynchronous communication systems, empowering businesses to provide near-instant responses.
Adopting Omnichannel Strategies
The need for businesses to engage customers on their chosen digital platforms and schedules has fuelled the widespread adoption of comprehensive omnichannel solutions. These solutions empower businesses to utilize websites, social media channels, email to enhance the quality of interactions with customers, suppliers, and internal teams.
This adoption bolsters two fundamental business strategies:
– Elevating customer engagement and extending customer lifetime value.
– Boosting operational efficiency.
It is vital to emphasize that omnichannel solutions extend beyond mere sales and service; they also play a pivotal role in gathering information during the pre-purchase phase, demanding seamless integration of communication channels like email, chat, voice, social media, and more.
Consequently, we will witness an increased reliance on integrated systems capable of seamless interoperability with other cloud-based solutions.
API Integration To Become More Advanced
As the technologies of a new communication era takes hold, the potential applications of application programming interface (API) integrations, enabling seamless interaction between multiple computer programs, are becoming increasingly evident.
Businesses now incorporate essential unified communication functionalities into websites and applications. This trend underscores the growing importance of API integrations in streamlining and enhancing communication processes.
Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, we anticipate a continuous evolution in API integrations aimed at unifying communication platforms. This evolution is poised to grow in sophistication and expand over time, promising even more refined and comprehensive solutions.
Voice-Activated Shopping: A Game-Changer
Voice-activated shopping has experienced remarkable global growth, with its value surging from $2 billion in 2018 to an astounding $19.4 billion by 2022. Any business crafting an e-commerce strategy should not underestimate this trend, as it presents a significant opportunity.
It’s crucial to recognize that customers desire the flexibility to interact with businesses at their convenience, and voice-activated shopping allows them to search for and purchase products while on the move or engaged in other activities.
Retailers present shopping centres should consider the implementation of voice-activated systems or interactive touch screens for in-store customers. These options eliminate the need to wait for assistance from a human attendant, making them particularly appealing to tech-savvy shoppers.
Social Buying To Target Younger Shoppers
Social buying, i.e. the practice of purchasing products directly via a brand’s website or social media platforms, is a burgeoning global trend set to gain significant momentum in the near future.
In light of this, businesses are encouraged to allocate time towards exploring and incorporating social buying into their e-commerce strategies.
Breaking Down Silos
One of the most prominent trends in the realm of customer relationship management (CRM) was the transformation of CRM platforms into comprehensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. Salesforce and Zoho serve as prime examples of this evolution.
As we move into 2024, cloud-native systems like these are set to intensify their competition with and gradually replace legacy ERP systems such as SAP and Oracle.
This transition is primarily propelled by the recognition that depending on legacy systems can act as a “handbrake” for organizations, impeding their ability to adapt swiftly to the constantly evolving business landscape. While this might not be relevant for certain industries, such as manufacturing, it undeniably holds true for businesses reliant on customer engagement.
Emphasizing Security at Every Turn
In the past few years, businesses have placed a heightened emphasis on cybersecurity, and this is only poised to persist and intensify. The persistent threat of cybercriminals, coupled with prominent breaches both domestically and internationally, will keep businesses vigilant, making cybersecurity a paramount concern.
Compliance will remain in the spotlight, owing to the substantial volume of data being collected. Currently, there are established regulations safeguarding consumers on certain platforms, while others lack adequate protection. Regulatory frameworks are expected to continue evolving to keep pace with the dynamic landscape of data privacy and security.
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
Although NLP has been around for some time, AI is set to enhance the precision of human language comprehension, encompassing voice recognition, language translation, and speech synthesis. This development bodes well for businesses, as it will render interactions with AI systems more intuitive and seamless, ultimately elevating overall operational efficiency.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution
While automation has been a prominent trend for some time, its adoption has been somewhat subdued. This is not due to a lack of interest or desire but rather stems from the infrastructure and systems necessary to support automation not being fully prepared.
However vendors and end users will continue to seek to enhance the capabilities of robotic process automation (RPA) software, leading to greater integration with other technologies. Consequently, the concept of the digital assistant will continue its evolution, whether in the form of virtual assistants like chatbots or physical robotic assistants, as seen in restaurants around the world.
The empowerment of chatbots through machine learning and AI-driven technology has reached unprecedented levels. Presently, it is estimated that chatbots could handle up to 69% of customer interactions from start to finish. Nonetheless, to capitalize on this potential, businesses must ensure that their underlying operational and business support systems are equipped to accommodate machine learning and AI capabilities.
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