“Companies Must Meet the New ‘Care of One’ Standard”: Reality-Checking McKinsey’s 2020 Predictions

How have McKinsey & Company’s predictions around hyperpersonalisation played out, and how can you adapt your operations accordingly using HubSpot?

In 2020, McKinsey & Company introduced the “care of one”, a standard establishing the need for decision-making to serve individual customers and their specific needs. At the time, strategic customer care was on the rise, prompting experts to make several predictions as to how it would develop, what it would look like, and when businesses would adapt to meet it.

Months into the global pandemic, it was not difficult to see why this trend was growing.

“The initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations to adopt physical distancing, test their business continuity plans, and rapidly deploy work-from-home models, all while customers rushed to digital channels,” McKinsey & Company wrote. “This urgent response has now given way to a pervasive uncertainty about what lies ahead. One certainty, however, is that personalisation will continue to be central to the customer experience.”

How, specifically, did they see hyperpersonalisation impacting customer experience? How have their forecasts manifested? And how can businesses use HubSpot to unlock strategic customer care, meet McKinsey & Company’s “care of one” standard, and grow better?

A fit-for-purpose CRM is integral to hyperpersonalisation. Download our free CRM scoping guide and uncover your requirements today.

 

Prediction #1: “White-glove customer service for all”

Front and centre was the anticipation of a shift from reactive to proactive customer relationship management. Predictive engagement technology and data analytics would get us there. By 2025, it was predicted that organisations will have shifted to proactive customer relationship control, aiming to solve their customers’ needs before they reach out with them.

“A customer’s real and potential individual needs will be identified and solved before the customer thinks to reach out. The predictive nature of engagement will allow companies to complete purchase assistance, deliveries, status updates, appointments, and other tasks with precision, personalization, and minimal effort.” The vision for 2025: Hyperpersonalized care and ‘care of one’, McKinsey & Company

These are sentiments with which many leaders will be familiar today; in our space we have already seen many companies using HubSpot to adopt proactive customer service models. HubSpot’s chatbots are one example of this in action; powered by artificial intelligence (AI), they provide instant assistance and personalised recommendations based on customer behaviour, enabling users to self-serve and navigate the buyer journey at their convenience. 

It was predicted that feedback processes will be critical for personalisation, automatically determining optimal times for outreach. Many organisations have implemented feedback loops since, particularly those offering subscription-based services, where information gathered following customer interactions is vital for refining future interactions. Using HubSpot, it’s possible to integrate customer feedback into every customer-facing function. Everything from product development and marketing plans to service strategies can be influenced by the data gathered from social media interactions and customer reviews, for example, with this information easily accessible through HubSpot’s suite of integrated Hubs

Customer data will flow into the enterprise, they said, improving products, marketing, and upstream interactions. At the time of this prediction, HubSpot already enabled organisations to create smart content that dynamically changed based on the viewer's attributes, lifecycle stage, or other segmentation criteria. With more data than ever in the CRM, the impact of this tool — and its relevance to companies angling towards strategic customer care — has only grown over the past four years, keeping a company’s content personal and making it possible for even long-time customers to continue unlocking value through your marketing.

 

Verdict: the gloves are on

In each of these areas, the proactive and predictive nature of customer service, coupled with data-driven insights, has become integral to providing personalised and efficient customer experiences. Across industries, it’s evident that organisations are moving towards a more anticipatory, data-centric approach to customer care, many through their use of HubSpot.

 

Prediction #2: “Omnichannel communication”

This prediction, around achieving total consistency and transparency across channels for a seamless customer experience, has been somewhat accurate.

“A dynamic platform will collate, record, and visualize all customer interactions (both proactive and reactive) and activity across channels (such as digital, voice, and in person) in a single data repository used to predict customer needs and streamline every contact.” The vision for 2025: Hyperpersonalized care and ‘care of one’, McKinsey & Company

There have certainly been advancements in integrating customer interactions across channels, with HubSpot users seeing particular success in this area by virtue of the platform’s all-in-one experience and thriving integrations ecosystem, but achieving total consistency remains a challenge. Many companies have implemented omnichannel strategies in recent years, integrating chat, voice, and digital channels with some success, but maintaining uniformity in the quality of service across all channels remains challenging. 

This gap between what is technically possible and a company’s ability to realistically deliver true omnichannel experiences highlights the continued need for solutions partners and agencies with specialists in both technology and service to unlock the full platform potential.

The use of tailored CRM databases to support a detailed view of customer relationships has been widely adopted. Companies leverage CRM systems to store and manage customer data, providing agents with the necessary information to offer personalised interactions.

Many of the leading CRM systems on the market today offer the dynamic platform for “customer interaction visualisation” predicted in 2020. That is to say, it’s never been easier to gather and present data on how your customers are interacting with you across channels. 

CRM systems with advanced analytics tools, like HubSpot, have indeed evolved to provide a comprehensive view of customer journeys, with companies using these tools to analyse customer preferences being in the strongest position to offer “care of one” standards.

 

Verdict: one company, (almost) one voice

While significant strides have been made in enhancing the customer experience across channels and leveraging data for personalisation, challenges in achieving total consistency persist, particularly in regard to achieving consistent service across all touchpoints. The vision outlined in the prediction is evolving, and the technology exists, but those businesses who continue to invest in specialist services to unlock it will close the rest of the distance and win the race to deliver a true omnichannel experience, hyperpersonalised, at scale.

 

Prediction #3: “The workstation of the future (digital enablement)”

Over the past four years, the prediction regarding the role of human agents supported by advanced analytics and technology for enhanced personalisation has been largely accurate.

“Human agents aren’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future, but technology will enable companies to be more targeted and effective in how they deploy the workforce to pursue personalization. The ‘care of one’ will be supported by advanced analytics, AI, real-time natural language processing, and other tools that detect customer sentiment and emotion.”  The vision for 2025: Hyperpersonalized care and ‘care of one’, McKinsey & Company

The prediction acknowledges the continued presence of human agents, and while it skews heavily toward contact centre environments in its language and examples, it’s true that the human touch remains integral to customer care across other industries too. Both within the customer service and across other customer-facing functions, technology like advanced analytics and real-time natural language processing has been increasingly used to augment human potential rather than replace it. HubSpot’s recently launched AI Content Assistant is a strong example of this, helping marketers and copywriters alike to speed up the content creation process by eliminating bottlenecks in their flow, expanding ideation, and answering research questions quickly and succinctly — all without stepping on the writer’s toes.

The concept of "care of one" being augmented by automation and AI also aligns with trends we’re seeing now. In reality, there’s been a significant adoption of tools that guide a company’s people during customer interactions, freeing them to focus on customer engagement. HubSpot’s sales playbooks help to create a scalable, repeatable sales process while simultaneously promoting personalisation by enabling the sales representative to concentrate on their prospect or customer instead of worrying about what to say or do next.   

Across sales, marketing, and service, HubSpot users can employ automation for the delivery of routine tasks, allowing them to concentrate on higher-value activities. (Find out how.)

No one can refute that the technology ecosystem has exploded in recent years. The prediction that it would only become more challenging to select the right suite of technologies and calibrate the corresponding balance between automation, AI, and human engagement has not only been proven true but could be described as a key characteristic of business in 2023. As AI continues to pick up pace, there’s no sign of this letting up in 2024.

 

Verdict: the future is here

The 2020 prediction accurately foresaw the evolution of customer care with a continued role for human service representatives enhanced by technology for personalisation and efficiency gains. The industry has witnessed the integration of advanced tools and automation to create a collaborative environment that benefits both customers and your company’s people.

 

Hyperpersonalisation through HubSpot

The pandemic might have been the springboard for these predictions, but the conversation around personalisation and rising customer expectations had already been going on for some time.

“Even before the pandemic, personalization had become an integral part of exceptional customer experience—not just in e-commerce channels but in all customer interactions. This transition was fueled by rising customer expectations and increased pricing and product parity, which have increased the importance of shaping the customer experience and perception at every touchpoint.” The vision for 2025: Hyperpersonalized care and ‘care of one’, McKinsey & Company

The funny thing about expectations of any kind is that, once they’re set, it’s very difficult for someone to come down from them without being disappointed. It’s this feeling that businesses across all industries have been trying to avoid by better managing their customer care and striving for “care of one” standards through hyperpersonalisation in recent years. 

And for many businesses, HubSpot has played an integral role in that journey, joining the dots between marketing, sales, and service while providing a platform across which customer data can be used by your people in all kinds of creative ways, starting new conversations and continuing existing ones to deliver the “care of one” experience your customers have come to expect of you as standard in 2024 and beyond.

 

“Companies Must Meet the New ‘Care of One’ Standard”: Reality-Checking McKinsey’s 2020 Predictions
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