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Looking Forward to 2022: Predictions for the New Year

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Published 12/17/21
4 minutes read

The 2020s are off to a rough start, but businesses don’t have the luxury of slowing down if they want to stay competitive. Despite the challenges, 2022 and beyond hold new opportunities for businesses willing to innovate and meet the future.

Here are a few predictions about what 2022 holds for businesses, their employees, and their customers.

Customer Experience Will Be THE Key Priority in 2022

Over the past two years, many organizations hyper-focused on keeping the proverbial lights on by cutting costs and investing in essentials. Now that the economy is picking up, business leaders must re-prioritize customer experience to attract new customers and grow existing customers. Customers today expect you to know them, delight them, and meet them on their terms.

For Marketing and Sales teams, this means adopting a digital-first approach that emphasizes personalized interactions on the customer’s time. While digital-first interactions have been growing for years, digital transformation is necessary for survival in a post-COVID world. According to Forrester, 80% of consumers will see the world as all digital, with no divide. This puts the onus on Marketing and Sales teams to ensure persistent, prompt, and personalized touchpoints across channels—thus meeting customers where they are, at the right time, with the right message.

As for existing customers, the sad truth is that B2B organizations are losing their “champions” within their customer companies due to employee churn. As friendly faces exit customer companies, new faces entering might not appreciate the value of your offerings as they look to shake things up and reevaluate budgets. This puts greater pressure on improving customer success and retention strategies with seamless execution, proactive customer management, and appropriate growth plans.

The goal is to offer consistent experiences end-to-end. This means delighting prospective customers who discover your brand for the first time all the way through turning customers into brand advocates. Long-term growth starts and ends with quality customer experiences.

Digital Natives Will Play Larger Roles in B2B Purchasing Decisions

Piggybacking on the last prediction, studies show that 73% of Millennial workers are now involved in B2B purchases. As older generations leave the workforce and younger generations either enter and mature in their careers, businesses should expect buying dynamics to shift away from Boomers and Gen Xers and towards Millennials and Gen Zers. These latter generations are dubbed “digital natives” as they have grown to expect seamless digital experiences. Two prime examples include Netflix and Amazon where consumers enjoy highly personalized content that is easy to find, delivers exactly what’s desired, and is instantaneous.

Smart companies ought to introduce or expand their digital capabilities and levels of automation in the new year to drive engagement across all digital channels to meet these expectations.

AI Will Help Address Talent Shortages

In what’s being called the Great Resignation, employees are weighing their options and going after new opportunities at a higher rate. An astounding 4.3 million workers in America quit their jobs in August 2021 alone—and Microsoft estimates that roughly 40% of the global workforce is considering leaving their employers within the next year. These shake-ups are felt across the economic landscape—from customer service to food service, and from executive leadership through entry-level professionals.

This leaves business leaders to fill in the gaps. While more competitive wages and benefits are essential to attracting top talent, it’s also prudent to automate workflows where you can. For example, Marketing and Sales teams ought to consider Conversational AI solutions to automate personalized outreach over email, SMS, and website chat. By offloading redundant—albeit important—communications between consumers and brands, business professionals enjoy more time focusing on high-value tasks such as building relationships and converting customers. Customer Success teams would similarly benefit from intelligent automation’s ability to improve customer experiences and augment employee capacity.

Responsible AI Is Front and Center

Privacy and trust should always be top of mind—especially as organizations incorporate more AI into their workflows in the new year. Organizations will have to determine best practices regarding whether to disclose AI personas as such or position it as a digital employee.

Our position is that exchanges between consumers and brands should feel real and personalized—no matter if driven by an AI or an employee. In either case, privacy must be protected under existing privacy and data regulations; such as the 8 User Rights of GDPR.

AI Will Offset Slow Economic Growth Rates

It’s unlikely that the 2022 economy will take off like a rocket. But it probably won’t dip into another recession either. It’s more likely the economy will experience slow, cautious growth.

AI-based automation will be a necessary solution to help companies handle slowed growth. Investing heavily in a traditional workforce is not in the cards for many businesses. Instead, they’ll have to rely on keeping customers and employees happy through scalable personalized interactions delivered by Conversational AI.


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