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ModSquad’s 2021 Digital Predictions — How’d We Do?

As is our January tradition here on the ModSquad Blog, we like to take a look back at the predictions for the digital space that we made 12 months earlier and see how we fared. With the book closed on 2021, it’s time for us to review last year’s predictions. How did we do? Read on.

1. A focus on the integrated social customer experience 

We correctly called it when noting that many organizations would need to build a strategy that supports consumers seeking support within social platforms. As it stands now, we can buy products on Instagram (that are likely things that pop up in our feed because we already want them), we can text with a company, and we can virtually try on new clothes or glasses. With all of these touchpoints, a thoughtful omnichannel customer service approach is required.

We care about where we shop (the website/app experience), the companies we’re buying from (businesses promoting standards we care about), and how we’re being engaged by a company (conveniently, on social media, where we’re spending time already). Customers want to feel valued, and going the extra mile goes a long way.

Companies had to prioritize social customer experiences in 2021 more than ever, and for good reason, as it truly is without a doubt a driver of brand loyalty. This trend is on track to continue: A recent Gartner report shows that 60% of all customer service requests will be sorted out by means of digital channels by 2023.

2. Video, again… and again 

We wrote about the anticipated continued growth of video in 2021, and we were not disappointed. Social media video advertising, shoppable videos, short form videos, live video streaming, interactive videos… These are the phrases content marketers were focused on last year. Video is the fruit of the internet, and last year marketers increased their spend on paid social media marketing by 25% over the previous year. Brands saw increased ROAS (return on ad spend) when utilizing regular creative assets and UGC (user generated content) in video format on social media. 

It’s all about getting creative and telling engaging stories. Having a healthy mix of organic and paid video content in your digital marketing strategy is ideal. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are rolling out shoppable video content capabilities within their advertising platforms, making it easier for brands to meet customers where they’re spending their time.

3. The growth of empathy-based service

We saw the call for more compassionate support for customers, as customer service leaders had pressure to meet customers’ expectations online and keep up with their competitors’ emerging offerings. Those customers, according to Zendesk’s 2021 customer service trends report, care most about:

  1. Quick resolutions
  2. Helpful and empathetic agents
  3. 24/7 support
  4. Being able to use preferred channels
  5. Proactive support

Helpful and empathetic agents. Let that resonate. While dealing with long wait times is important, having meaningful interactions along the way is a priority. According to Zendesk, 49% of customers want to talk to an empathetic customer service agent (something we know a thing or two about).

4. Flexible workplaces take root

As we knew, the work from home movement was not going anywhere. 2020 was only the beginning of this trend; remote worker numbers were expected to double going into 2021. From a business perspective it’s not a perk, it’s a requirement. Technology advancements and video conferencing tools like Zoom and communication software like Slack are meeting the needs of workers.

It’s estimated that by 2025, some 70% of the workforce will work remotely at least five days a month. Studies are showing high output and increased employee satisfaction with remote work, not to mention tremendous cost savings for companies. A recent Gartner CFO survey revealed that over 74% CFOs plan to permanently shift employees to remote work once the COVID-19 crisis subsides. In May, Twitter and Facebook told employees they could work from home indefinitely. Moves from top companies are paving the way for others as the overall landscape shifts.

5. Innovation in video calls and conferencing

Given the above, we recognized the urgent need for continued improvements to the ways in which we use video technology in our day to day communications. For the past two years, people have been connecting virtually in meaningful ways. We’ve been required to, whether we wanted it or not, to meet nieces and nephews for the first time via FaceTime, celebrate bridal showers together over Zoom, support sick family members, and take our annual company meetings from our home offices. It’s no wonder the projected value of the global video conferencing market in 2021 is $6.03 billion, with predictions estimating it may be more than $9 billion by 2026. 

While it’s not the same as making in-person connections, video calls helped us navigate our new reality, and prompted innovative growth from companies like Zoom, Slack, Microsoft, Cisco, Google, and Facebook. Usage for both work and personal is not new to us but certainly here to stay.

Looks like we did pretty well with our 2021 predictions. If you want to get a preview of what we’re seeing on the digital landscape in 2022, read our latest roundup of predictions. Community and creators, social commerce, innovation, and the metaverse are the hot topics for 2022.

Want more insights from the best and brightest in the industry? We’d love to chat. Contact us today.

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