From Forrester’s latest European consumer survey, we know that 50% of European online adults use technology now more than before the pandemic started to engage with companies. However, we also know that technology often feeds into a hybrid customer experience, across digital and physical touchpoints. After all, consumers have the ability to connect to digital content anywhere using the mobile phone in their pocket: Thirty percent of European online adults are more confident in their purchases when they use a smartphone to do research while they are in a store.
Even before the pandemic, organisations have been grappling with how to manage increasingly hybrid customer experiences across physical and digital touchpoints. But the context of the 2020 pandemic forced consumer-facing organisations to completely rethink how they used their physical spaces — and the employees within them — alongside digital touchpoints. Across industries, organisations have adapted customer journeys and explored ways to mimic traditionally in-person and in-store customer experiences online, resulting in a surge of hybrid experiences, including video-based “chat” between store/branch-based employees and digital customers.
As customers are less restricted by channels, organisations must follow suit. Supporting increasingly fluid and hybrid customer experiences will require more flexibility in terms of managing technology and human resources. Organisations will shift from focusing on customer experience across channels to focusing on effectively serving customer needs across three interaction modes: self-service, automated, and person to person.