What’s next: The top five customer engagement trends of 2022

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    Meg Buchanan
  • Nov 15, 2021

Digital communication is getting faster, smarter, and more synchronized in 2022. Use this guide to prepare your business for the next generation of customer engagement.

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One of the most exciting parts about working at a technology company like Twilio is being at the forefront of what comes next for both businesses and consumers. And not only that, but working alongside individuals and customers who aren’t just predicting these trends for the future, but are actually building them into existence. 

At our annual SIGNAL conference, we introduced several new products and heard from partners who are changing how we all connect. From the future of live video to Voice AI, here are the five trends we’re most excited about in 2022.

Trend #1: Live video

While live video isn’t anything new (shoutout to everyone going live on Facebook, ahem, Meta, this very minute), quality streaming to an unlimited audience has historically been an *insert spinning wheel of death* bit of a buffering situation. 

But as the world gets increasingly more comfortable with streaming from home in every aspect of their lives from fitness to education, the bandwidth to do so in a more crystal clear immersive capacity is ever more important.

The need for this kind of technology is growing rapidly, and it’s difficult (not to mention expensive) to build your own platform. Add in privacy gaps and latency issues, and it’s enough to just succumb to sub-par video streaming. But, wait! There’s another solution. 

Picture this: Your business going live to an unlimited global audience listening to you with nearly zero lag time on a secure system that can be installed in just a couple of days. 

It doesn’t exist, you might say. Oh, but it does. 

At this year’s SIGNAL, we introduced Twilio Live. It’s our answer to how you connect with an unlimited audience in a truly personalized, immersive experience. Live video is the future of digital connection, and Twilio Live is the vehicle to take you there. Climb aboard and learn more here.

Trend #2: Hyper-personalization

We’ve written about hyper-personalization at length on The Current, and with good reason. The notification fatigue is real. From every corner of the digital world, you’re being asked to buy now, shop here, click this, learn more. Naturally, we’ve grown more discerning in our clicks. And with 72 percent of consumers now saying they only engage with marketing emails tailored to their personal interests, it’s in every business’s best interest to figure out how to safely harness user data to create more personalized experiences for their customers. 

But figuring out how to do so can once again be incredibly overwhelming. Without the correct tools to automate information and segment your audiences strategically, your user data is left to go to waste, or worse still, hacked. 

So what’s the answer to this consumer demand for both security and personalization in one place? 

Enter Twilio Engage, a platform that gathers your customer data in one unified view making it easier to personalize unique campaigns, segment audiences, and strategize about each touchpoint on your customer’s journey. 

Hyper-personalization is no longer just an upcoming trend, but something you can actually implement into your marketing strategy starting next year. Learn more about the Twilio Engage launch coming in early 2022 here

Trend 3: Next-level business messaging

Ninety-eight percent. On its face, a 98 percent open rate is a pretty incredible stat. It’s no wonder more and more businesses are using SMS to reach their customers. The opening is just one piece of the puzzle, however, and just because your customers are seeing your messaging, doesn’t mean they’re actually acting on it. There are several factors that impact that conversion decision but one of the most important is trust. 

Like a good relationship, communication with your customer (regardless of channel) is built on mutual trust. Unfortunately, when bad actors (hackers, spammers, etc.) enter a channel, that trust is eroded for everyone. 

With the introduction of A2P DLC, networks are working hard to reward and verify the businesses that are trying to reach their customers with good intent. However, the rules and regulations can be complicated and up until this point, there hasn’t been a consistent location to keep up on the latest updates and clarify whether your business is pushing out messaging that’s actually reaching your customer. 

With the introduction of Twilio’s MessagingX, we’re excited to change that and offer one synchronized location to do it all. MessagingX is a one-stop home for all things messaging around trust, quality, and choice. 

Within this space is the Twilio Trust Hub, which helps businesses register for verified phone numbers as well as find Trust Hub APIs which allow our ISV partners to embed the power of Trust Hub into their customer’s experience. Twilio MessagingX will also be a space for Google Business messages, which will allow registered businesses to have conversations with their customers who initiate communication from a search result or even a Google Maps listing. 

When you approach messaging with trust, intention, and quality, it makes the experience better for consumers which improves your business’s chance of converting them to long-term customers. Learn more about how MessagingX can help you create a consistent branded messaging experience across all of your business channels here

Trend 4: All-access channels

Recently, I was trying to install my own light switch, and for some reason (despite following the directions to an absolute T), the lights refused to turn on. 

I decided to email customer service with photos of my project and then call their troubleshooting hotline. When I got on the phone with a customer service rep, she told me she had no way of helping me because she couldn’t see anything and had no connection to the email I had sent her. Both of us were incredibly frustrated with the encounter and hung up. 

Now, imagine if this same rep had been able to see my email while on the phone with me, and then also send me a text to get remote access to my camera and see the project live, all within one communication experience. How different of an experience that would be both for the rep and for myself! 

This kind of synchronization is possible and many companies are already trying to do it. But oftentimes, they are working piecemeal with several different platforms in order to pull off this level of service. 

With FlexOne however, businesses can use a single API to enable any digital channel, (including SMS, chat, and email) in order for businesses to engage with their customers in ONE place. This is exactly the experience that both myself and the customer service representative above could have benefited from and saved a lot of time and effort. 

With one customized view of the customer from a single location regardless of whether your team is on sales, service, marketing, etc., imagine the possibilities of the kind of experience you can offer customers in the future while saving time and money by doing so. Learn more about the upcoming launch of FlexOne and more details about this new product here

Trend 5: Voice AI

As more and more businesses integrate a digital virtual assistant into their customer service journey, it’s no surprise improvements in voice AI are on the horizon to make customer voice calls a smoother, customized experience.

And while automated voices and pre-recorded choices are still very much the norm—much to the chagrin of many a customer dialing into businesses everywhere— the next generation of voice AI will identify and extract important signals from unstructured natural conversations allowing customers to get to the right place, at the right time without going through the rabbit hole of pre-recorded robot calls. 

With Twilio Intelligence for Voice, businesses can make every customer conversation an actionable experience. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, Twilio has created an API that uses automation to employ key voice signals in order to automate and optimize your customer’s experience. 

Curious to learn more? You can sign up to apply for Twilio Intelligence for Voice private-beta here.

Create a better customer engagement experience in 2022

Gone are the days where you had to integrate several different products and services from a variety of vendors in order to improve your customer’s communication with your business. By integrating products that work together seamlessly with very little uptime,  and that can be built upon further as technology changes, you can set your business up for success in the long term. 

Learn more about the future of customer engagement in our last edition of the year, here

Read our final edition of the year.

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Meg Buchanan

Meg Buchanan is a Colorado native, a Kansas Jayhawk, and a proud multi-tasking millennial. As Twilio's Content Marketing Manager, she has more than seven years of experience writing for both agencies and in-house brands on topics from healthcare to hospitality.