The aim of this study is to find out whether the attitude of consumers has changed due to COVID-19 and whether companies offer a better customer experience. This new survey – among 10,000 consumers from eleven different countries in EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) – shows that COVID-19 has reinforced the importance of the customer experience in purchasing behavior.
The research shows that even 90% of consumers choose a different brand after two to five bad experiences.
This shows that consumers are losing patience with companies that provide a bad customer experience. It is also striking that price is no longer the determining factor. The quality of customer service continues to play an important role in consumer purchasing behavior. 61% of the respondents indicated that they are willing to pay more to buy and / or use products and services from companies that helped them well during the COVID-19 period.
There are, however, differences between the countries. For example, the Dutch are less willing to pay more for products or services from a company with a good customer experience. In contrast, the Dutch (after Germans) attached more importance to fast and helpful customer service compared to other EMEA respondents.
The challenge for companies is increasing
The study found that what consumers perceive as a ‘good’ customer experience can include anything from price to convenience. For example, the respondents were asked to rank the top 3 most important factors for a good customer experience. The Dutch respondents mentioned the following main points:
• Quality and availability of products
Almost two thirds (60.3%) of Dutch consumers consider the quality and availability of products important.
• Low prices and discounts
More than half (59.8%) of Dutch consumers cite low prices and discounts as an important reason for purchasing products or services. Awareness about prices also comes to the fore when it comes to spending during the upcoming holiday season. More than half of the Dutch respondents indicate that they will not change their expenditure compared to last year.
Almost half (48%) of Dutch consumers consider ease of purchase important for the choice of certain products or services.
Steven Hofmans, customer experience, analytics and marketing advisor at SAS: “Companies realize they have weathered the first storm, but today we face an even greater challenge. The current pandemic has shifted from a “fear of missing out” to a “reality of missing out.” This is because consumers are increasingly expecting customer centricity. The Dutch remain price conscious, but they also value high quality, service and a wide range of products, especially online. “
The current pandemic has shifted from a “fear of missing out” to a “reality of missing out.”
Overall, the quality of service has greatly improved during the pandemic. On average, three in ten consumers notice an improvement in the customer experience during the lockdown. In addition, 15% of consumers started using a digital service / app due to the lockdown. With 70% of customers planning to continue using it after the pandemic. This represents a significant new group of digital customers for companies. It’s important that they can analyze this new data using AI and analytics to drive marketing analytics and customer experience.