The COVID-19 has disrupted the business fraternity across the globe. The changes in the customers’ expectations have been aroused due to the increase in the surfing habit of the customers and the change in their lifestyles seeking more security and adopting more of safer methods of shopping. The wake of the post COVID era is near and the customer behavior trends have already started shifting.
Let’s have a look at how the entire arena of customer experience and customer feedback is all set to change in the post-pandemic wake to the next normal.
Surveys alone paint an incomplete picture of customer experience, particularly when we are talking about the post-pandemic wake to the next normal.
According to Gartner’s 2019 Customer Experience in Marketing Survey, 67% of companies feel that they compete mostly or completely on the basis of CX & 81% expect to do so in two years. Getting your brand’s CX right has become a business imperative.
Managing CX is directly aligned with identifying and quantifying friction points in the customer journey, & determining the root causes of those friction points, and resolving the problems and their origins.
According to Gartner’s research, more than 5000 organizations worldwide now have a dedicated customer experience (CX) leader, and more than 40% of them report directly to the CEO. The increasing level of CEO oversight shows the importance of CX to the bottom line, hence there exists a need for measurement says Ed Thompson, vice president, and distinguished analyst at Gartner.
Moreover, your brand’s perception i.e. knowing how a customer feels about a brand or product is entirely different from knowing why they feel that way, or “what” to do about it. If your organization relies on surveys alone to provide the answers for “why” and “what” then you might be on a slippery slope.
Most companies these days have deployed multiple technologies to capture their customers’ feedback. Net Promoter Surveys, Customer Satisfaction Surveys, Point of Sale Surveys, Product Reviews, and more have been around for a while and they aren’t just for retailers anymore. Many other industries including B2C & B2B have turned to their feedback processes to understand how customers rate their experience with a product, a service, or a support function.
Associating a numeric value with each experience provides some level of comfort for an executive team. The collective feedback score may give that team an idea about how customers feel about a brand and its products.
How COVID-19 Has Transformed Customer Behavior
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we work, travel, communicate, shop, and more. These new habits infused are likely to stick permanently. The impact of the long-term changes in the customers’ behaviors will come along with risks and organizations must be geared up to protect themselves from the possible threats.
All the aspects of our lives have been virtually impacted by the pandemic. Some developments have been sudden and involuntary such as social distancing, wearing masks, stopping public transport, restrictions on travel, etc. COVID has also accelerated the adoption of behaviors already gaining traction such as digitization of shopping, banking, and more.
Temporary or Permanent Shift in Customers’ Behaviors: What’s More Likely to Happen?
Customer behaviors have strong location & time dependencies. Customer behaviors differ significantly from one location to another depending upon cultures, geographies, etc. The pandemic has complicated the dynamics of customer behavior and has made it more complex. Since physical movements are restricted, customers are migrating into the virtual world at an unprecedented rate and are exposed to more influences than ever before. Marketers are required to go beyond the boundaries of traditional methods for modeling customers’ behaviors.
Modern customers are settling into new patterns of behavior for considerable lengths in time, if not forever in response to the multiple waves of this pandemic. This is a fertile ground for new habit formation.
Customers’ Expectations across Multiple Industries and Across Omnichannel Must Meet to Gain Engagement
New experiences must offer incremental value for a change to be permanent. Poor experiences might result in a rapid reversal of past behavior. The e-commerce sector has responded rapidly to the challenges of the pandemic. Companies have invested in logistics and supply chains and have widened their product ranges. A large number of people have been attracted and a large number of customers are likely to continue to buy online for non-health reasons such as convenience, time savings, and wider product ranges.
Increased use of digital tools is blurring the lines between work, lifestyle, and social interaction and between domains like mobility, health, and finance. These trends are likely to continue in the post-COVID-19 world as well.
Several other drivers may disrupt consumption habits as well. These include social contexts, new technologies, solar and wind power generation to shift, and clean energy sources.
Often the major drivers of customer behavior might be – a) Social life b) Ad-hoc events c) Technology and d) Regulations
In a post COVID world, the following 5 facets of customer behavioral changes would be impacted in particular:
- Increased digital adoption: This follows as people are shifting to digital platforms for day-to-day needs.
- Change in mobility patterns: People gradually move to value-based purchasing and online shopping.
- Increased awareness of health: wearing masks, increased hygiene, healthy eating, etc.
- Changes in interpersonal behavior: increased instances of divorce, pet adoption, etc.
The above trends can be interconnected and overlapping. Also, people are increasingly using digital tools amid the pandemic. Digital tools have blurred the lines between work, lifestyle, and social interaction and between domains like mobility, health, and finance. This is further anticipated to continue in a post-COVID-19 world.
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