If you are in the customer service sector, you’ll have realized already that things are very different today than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if you haven’t suffered significant losses to your sales, staying aware of and adapting your business model to the constant behavioural changes around the world can be a stressful task.
The way people work, eat, buy products, communicate, learn and even socialise has changed massively. It’s no longer prudent to rely on the formulas and predictions that once supported your original business model, while the world seems to be in flux as it reacts to both government and societal changes affecting the way people behave.
Businesses need to understand how all this is affecting what customers want and need from brands and companies. Actively reinventing yourself or adapting your offerings, is one of the only ways you can safeguard your organisation’s success for the future and not be at the constant mercy of changing events.
The whole in-person experience has changed today. Consumers are much more likely to consider a virtual or remote option to avoid the need to be physically present.This applies to everything from shopping to property viewings.
When it is necessary for people to venture out to shops or business premises, they want to know they are safe and will opt for brands they know well and trust. Whether it’s restaurants, hairdressers or other spaces, they’ll want to feel a sense of security that management are serving their best interests and keeping them safe.
The whole COVID-19 situation has deeply affected the way people spend, both in big cities and more rurally. One of the biggest reasons for this is lower incomes due to furlough schemes and pay cuts, as well as job losses, with an increasing number of people affected by national lockdowns and the closing of many workplaces.
Even for those who have not suffered quite as badly, the urge to save and protect what you have is growing, with more people saving money than in the past. Spending on travel, dining, outside entertainment, health and wellness, nightlife and sporting events has dropped significantly and while this might bounce back eventually, many are sceptical about things returning to pre-COVID levels any time soon.
- Customer spending habits will become more volatile and may change quickly due to uncontrollable events and government restrictions
- People will spend less on unnecessary purchases
- Home improvement and home entertainment spending will increase
- Price and value will become more important purchase considerations
- Spending on virtual services and activities will increase
How to Adapt Your Customer Experience Strategy
A few ways to adapt your customer experience strategy to factor in the major behaviour changes currently taking place include:
- Plan for future changes in customer demand by building a more robust and flexible supply chain, distribution and online sales network
- Spend time understanding how the wants and needs of your consumer base have changed in recent months and adapt your marketing content and products to align with this
- Consider the way your core branding matches up with the current climate and what people expect from brands (more safety, more reliability, better value for money, a positive impact on the world etc.)
- Understand where you can provide more value in your services and products
- Focus efforts on producing and selling products and services that are less vulnerable to changes in consumer behaviour
- Look for ways to improve the customer experience on all your platforms, including your website and social media channels
- Consider new pricing strategies and loyalty programmes to retain more customers and increase perceived value
What Does the Future Hold?
Evidence suggests consumers are becoming more optimistic and that global consumer confidence will increase as vaccines rollouts become more widespread throughout the world. Assuming isolation methods are able to be safely lifted, it’s likely that the spending outlook will be more positive.
However, some businesses will struggle to survive based on their old business models as people remain cautious. If unemployment and household bills increase, along with new austerity measures being introduced, the changes outlined above will likely become more entrenched in years to come.
Ultimately, adapting your custom strategy and business around the way consumer behaviour is shifting is crucial today. This can involve large scale changes to your organisation’s branding or even modifications of your services and products. ‘Pivoting’ has become one of the most over used words over the past year. Adaptation to changing circumstances is all well and good, just make sure you remain true to what you stand for (values) to avoid the risk of confusing your customers and employees.
If you need some help getting your head around what the future of your market might look like and what you need to do to stay ahead, contact SERVICEBRAND GLOBAL for support.
As well as having a good grasp of the changing business context, we can help break things down into tangible actions you can take so that you can ensure the success of your organisation going forward, despite the significant disruptions caused by COVID-19.