Regardless of who companies sell or provide services to, they all navigate a landscape they could not imagine at the beginning of this year. The massive shift to digital channels isn’t the only challenge they face. Companies also need to listen and respond to increasing customer demands for greater empathy and understanding in their contacts and continue to deliver innovative products and services. But that’s not all customers expect. Customers also want companies to think critically about their role in society.
Customers also want companies to think critically about their role in society.
Many aspects of the private and work life of each of us have also changed. Whether you buy as a private individual or business, the shift to a full digital lifestyle also impacts the customer-brand relationship. This presents companies with challenges, but also offers them opportunities to connect with your customers in a new way. Customers expect interactions with a business, business and private, as well as digital and easy, to be understanding and empathetic. Salesforce research of more than 15,000 consumers and business customers worldwide shows that they want organizations to know their needs and expectations at every touchpoint and to be able to make their purchases based on these personalized recommendations. In order to be able to offer these tailor-made experiences, there must be a connected approach at every contact moment. This is easier said than done as it means that sales, customer service and other employees all need to have the same customer information regardless of channel. The survey shows that 76% of customers expect consistent interactions with all departments, but 54% say they feel they do not share information among themselves. The need for digital transformation to meet a customer’s individual needs and deliver a superior experience has never been greater than it is today.
88% of customers expect companies to accelerate their digital initiatives as a result of the pandemic.
Even in times of crisis, the customer experience remains an important distinguishing competitive factor, only the requirements have changed. 80% of the consumers surveyed say that customer contact with a company is just as important as its product or service; this figure includes 83% of all millennials, and 85% of corporate buyers. High percentages that show that customer engagement via digital channels, especially in this socially distant time, is popular among the younger generations. Among business customers, this percentage indicates that their standard with regard to customer contact is high; this emphasizes the great importance of the customer experience for both B2B and B2C companies. But what is a great experience changes when radical changes occur, such as now during the COVID-19 crisis.
Overall, customers prefer brands that are demonstrably interested in more than just surviving the pandemic
For example, 90% of consumers believe that a company’s reliability is reflected in the way it handles a crisis. In addition, 56% of consumers indicate that they have researched the social role of companies. Overall, customers prefer brands that are demonstrably interested in more than just surviving the pandemic and other crises – but also looking at their role in society. Customers find it important that companies and brands are transparent about their values. They expect companies to share their values and to communicate honestly and openly about them. Companies and brands that do not do this run the risk of experiencing this at the bottom of the line because consumers switch to the competition. Offering a superior customer experience is inextricably linked to the individuality and openness of a company or brand. In addition, 60% of customers say their experiences in one sector influence their expectations of another. This highlights how important it is for companies to look beyond their direct competition for the best and worst examples.
Digital engagement has reached a tipping point this year. Companies that use this moment to take stock of how technology can contribute to deliver new and innovative customer experiences, and that further digitize their existing business, will be better able to differentiate themselves in the new normal and are likely to be more resilient than their competition.
The above data comes from a Salesforce survey of more than 15,000 consumers and business buyers worldwide regarding the future of customer loyalty. The report shows that customer engagement is changing with unprecedented scope and speed in response to the crisis and raising the digital bar.