What does a great customer experience look like in 2021?

A great customer experience is in the eye of the beholder and if last year taught us anything it is that customers will carry on using well designed digital channels for the simplicity and speed of service they provide.  However, people are still feeling quite anxious and worried about their future, so ensuring that customers are treated with empathy will be critical to meeting their needs. So, how do you create a great customer experience in 2021 that is both empathetic and simple?

In 2020, we saw digital transformation happened at breakneck speed. The pandemic forced businesses to undertake huge changes, just to carry on operating.  This resulted in the largest digital transformation we have ever seen, but there is still more to come in 2021.

Focusing on your customers

Many customers are now beginning to feel a bit fed up with organisations using Covid as an excuse for poor service, which means that the next tranche of digitisation will be focused on meeting the ever-increasing expectations of customers.  So, what expectations do customers really have in 2021?

A great customer experience falls into 3 broad categories. Your customers want things to be

  1. Easy – This means simplicity and clarity in dealing with you and what actions need to be taken enabling them to do things quickly
  2. Reliable – They want transparency and they want you to do what you say you’re going to do when you said you were you were going to do it
  3. Supportive – Showing you care, by being empathetic and helping them to resolve their issues

So, how does this translate into your cx strategy?

Joining up the dots in the customer journey

Because customers are now much more inclined to use digital channels and self-service, in 2021, we will see organisations using the foundations they built last year and ironing out all the kinks to deliver a better omnichannel customer experience. To achieve this goal in 2021, they will need to look at things holistically so a consistent experience can be created seamlessly when customers move from one touchpoint to another across the entire customer journey.

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This will necessitate linking up your voice, chat and social media platforms and giving your frontline staff access to all the touchpoints that a customer may contact you on and their history across the various channels, ideally in a way that is easy to access the information they need so they can respond to customers quickly and accurately. Staff will need the ability to switch channels to meet customer preferences at a specific moment in time.

If your digital channels are designed from a human-centered outside in perspective you will be able to learn from customers online behaviours to create digital empathy, such as offering proactive support to ensure smoother interactions.

To deliver an outstanding customer experience is about creating a synergy between automated and human engagement, striking the right human-digital balance, by enabling customers to quickly and easily chat or talk to someone if they need some additional support.

We know that 97% consumers think that empathy/compassion in customer service interactions is very important/quite important according to research published in July by MyCustomer: Empathy In Customer Service. So, businesses need to identify when it is best to use assisted service and where people really add value to the customer experience, which typically is when a customer’s issues are complex or fraught with emotions.


There is no doubt that digital channels will increase in 2021, but it is the human-touch of your cx strategy that will make the difference in our current climate of uncertainty and anxiety.

Accelerating Digital Transformation