Digital customer communications: 7 trends for 2022

In communications, there was a rush to digitization projects and new technologies in 2020 and 2021 in response to the pandemic. This strong trend toward innovations and the development of new channels continues on an ongoing basis. McKinsey predicts that areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT) will see value grow from $5.5 trillion to $12.6 trillion by 2030.

The past year has not fundamentally changed current trends in enterprise communications. Consumers continue to spend a lot of time online and switch between channels. In 2021, consumers aged 16-64 use social media for 2.5 hours per day. Internet usage on all devices reaches nearly 7 hours per day.

These trends are driving companies to increase the share of digital communications. Companies are sending more emails and introducing live chats, voice communications, in-app calls and other digital touchpoints.

Many of these current trends in digital business communications will continue in 2022. Technology has established itself as a cornerstone for brands looking to build loyal customer relationships in a world where the lines between physical and digital customer experiences are blurring. In this blog article, dicomsys presents digital communication trends that stand for successful customer engagement.

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Communication trends that will shape 2022

Current digital communication technologies are having a significant impact on the development of trends this year. As soon as a new technology gains popularity among consumers, promoters rush to use it as one of the new channels. Business approaches such as customer centricity are also shaping communication trends.

1. Ultimate personalization

When we talk about personalized communications, many marketers still mean a customer’s name in an email. However, personalization is much more than that. Today, it’s about sending the right message at the right time through the right channel. Therefore, you not only need to collect details about the person you want to reach, but also know how they behave. For example, if someone is more likely to read WhatsApp messages with company news, it is better to focus on this channel.

Current digital communication technologies offer such opportunities. An advanced CRM that supports multiple channels allows building dynamic workflows for different types of leads and activities. As a result, personalized digital content is automatically delivered to the recipient based on real-time events and triggers.

2. Renewed focus on omnichannel communications

It mattered last year, it matters this year and it will matter next year – the right mix of communication channels is always critical.

Take WhatsApp as an example. A recent study by MobileSquared estimates that 2.19 billion people will use WhatsApp by the end of 2020 and that number will grow to 3.14 billion by the end of 2025. To maximize messaging opportunities on the platform, API spending will skyrocket, from $312.9 million in 2020 to a projected $16.4 billion in 2025.

Despite the gigantic growth prospects, people don’t live on WhatsApp alone. We know that customers’ needs differ, which means brands need to be present across multiple channels. A survey of various customer service providers during the COVID 19 lockdown showed that there is a lot of interest in multiple communication channels. When contacting a company, 31 % would do so via live chat and 28 % via a phone call. Be where their customers are and leverage omnichannel communications instead of getting bogged down in communication silos.

As consumers become accustomed to certain types of digital communication technologies and messages, their effectiveness diminishes. As a result, companies are looking for alternative ways to communicate with their target audience and get their attention. While you shouldn’t abandon email or social media, it’s good to use less popular channels as well. Messenger, feedback forms and video content can make your brand more popular with your target audiences.

Voice will play a major role in 2022. 27 % of the global online population currently used voice search in 2021 and this year it is predicted that 55 % of households will own a smart speaker like Alexa. This means that more and more customers will use a voice assistant to search for their favorite product or communicate with their favorite brand.

3. Comprehensive automation through API-based systems

In 2022, leading companies will no longer waste their time with manual notifications or switching between a variety of tools. They will opt for frictionless data exchange managed within one system. To ensure automated and instantaneous data exchange, CRM systems will connect to the required third-party solutions via APIs.

In this way, a highly automated CRM system can be built that is adapted to specific business and marketing requirements. You get a base and then you can extend it with additional functionality. For example, if you need automated social media messaging, but this feature does not exist in your system, it can be added via an API. After a quick integration, you can automatically send messages based on selected triggers.

4. Consent is the top priority

The trend that started with the GDPR continues. The first certifications of digital products and services under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be available in 2022. Certificates can provide information about whether IT products and services meet the requirements of the GDPR.

Companies and organizations always ask their customers for their consent before adding them to their newsletter list. They must also inform people about how their personal data will be processed and used for communication. It is also important to show customers that they will receive something valuable in return for the information they provide. Example: If you share your email address, you will be the first to receive special offers.

5. 5G monetization will accelerate

5G has been talked about for years, but it’s safe to say that as the technology becomes more widespread around the world, it will become increasingly important. Still, network operators and vendors have yet to crack the monetization code.

This year, that will change. Solid growth in 5G subscriptions is expected to continue, reaching 3 billion subscriptions by 2025. The average download speed of 5G is between 1.4 and 14.3 times faster than 4G, which opens many doors for new technical opportunities.

An important part of the focus on 5G will be the further development of the IoT. With significantly faster data speeds, wider bandwidths and lower latency, 5G networks can boost the performance of connected devices. As the year progresses, more and more telcos are likely to take advantage of this by offering IoT devices – such as cameras, smart door locks and even smart refrigerators – along with 5G data plans.

6. Rich communication heading in the right direction

Rich Communication Services (RCS) is being touted as the next generation of SMS, delivering the rich features of a mobile app conveniently through the phone’s inbox. Although most Android devices can access the channel without additional software, adoption has been slower than expected in recent years. However, MobileSquared projects that by 2025, 176 networks will offer person-to-person (P2P) RCS services through their own RCS messaging platforms – a 100 % increase over 2019.

The launch of Google Business Messages and Apple Messages for Business is also helping to shine a spotlight on the benefits of rich messaging. By enabling rich messaging across popular search engines and apps, with Google Search and Maps as entry points, brands can create efficient and automated conversations that save customers unnecessary detours. It will be interesting to see how these newer channels will shake up the market.

7. SMS remains an anchor for digital communication

SMS remains one of the most effective channels. This will not change this year. Nine out of ten people open their text messages and more than half read them within minutes. Combine this with the prediction that there will be 7.26 billion mobile users worldwide by 2022 and it’s clear to see why text messaging remains such an attractive strategy.

However, it’s important that companies recognize the risk of saturation and make their SMS campaigns as creative and engaging as possible – especially as customers become more knowledgeable about how to opt out of text messaging services that don’t match their interests.

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Final words

Developments in the industry are incremental. In 5G, which is now a mature market, the focus is on one burning issue: monetization. Another key issue for companies will be the use of mixed channels to deliver their messages, depending on whether the customer wants to receive messages via Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp. Rich messaging will become more important. And we expect another strong year for the ever-popular SMS.

Communication requires strategic thinking. It’s easy to invest money in projects to expand messaging options. But sending the right message on the right platform at the right time while ensuring a secure experience is key.

dicomsys for automated digital communications

dicomsys is a trusted provider of automated customer communications via SMS messaging. Through direct gateway connectivity, we offer our B2B customers access to mobile network operators worldwide. The SMS are delivered to the mobile devices of their recipients in the fastest and most secure way. We help companies achieve efficiency through automation using intelligent messaging solutions.