Business leaders know they must respond to shifts in consumers’ needs in 2022. However, understanding customer behavior is as much an art as it is a science. In this post, we explore this issue in detail.
Roughly 88% of business survey respondents expected a fast increase in online initiatives in the next few years. For this reason, brands are looking ahead to transform their digital landscape.
Business leaders know they must do so in order to cater to ever-evolving shifts in customer expectations and behavior. This is borne out by a new report by the customer reviews platform Feefo.
Consumers Demand a Flawless Customer Experience
A McKinsey & Company study based on a survey of over 15,000 businesses shows that brands are aware of these evolving consumer trends. It also reveals that businesses struggle to keep up with new demands. However, predictions from 2020 through 2021 indicate that the current shifts in customer behavior, along with the steady growth in digitalization, are only set to increase.
This is because a greater depth of digital experiences brings with it an expectation from consumers for ever greater speed and efficiency. This intensifies the demand on businesses to provide a seamless customer experience (CX). Therefore, owners of small businesses in particular are experiencing burn-out. This adds to the challenges of running a business over the course of the pandemic.
Businesses That Adapt to Changes in Customer Behavior Will Thrive
Ash Finnegan, Digital Transformation Officer at Conga, says, “Leaders need to complete a thorough transformation assessment and build a transformation program to ensure that they truly connect with customers and create a connected customer experience.”
Businesses that can adapt quickly to changing customer behavior by providing better digital experiences will thrive. Their businesses will get back on track. What it will take is an agile digital strategy.
Once an adjunct method, online marketing is now a must-have for all brands. This is true for local businesses as well as e-commerce stores. Adapting to these digital initiatives can help build vital relationships between businesses and their customers. This creates a more fulfilling experience for both parties.
A Digital Approach Fueled Rapid Growth for Tesco
A significant trend over the past 18 months has seen companies take a heavier digital approach in order to create a more responsive customer experience. Studies suggest that the world saw almost a decade’s worth of technological advances during this period. This was largely due to changes in customer behavior brought on by the nature of lockdowns and society’s quickly evolving rules.
As terrible as the pandemic has been for so many, some companies saw an opportunity and rushed to seize it. For example, British supermarket giant Tesco refocused its activities toward meeting their customers’ needs by interacting with consumers online. The company initiated a recovery plan which utilized three core elements:
People – hiring expert staff to help deliver a successful customer experience
Technology – incorporating digital tools to meet customers’ online needs
Process – implementing new processes to provide a strong customer experience
The plan worked. Tesco’s customer base grew from 600,000 customers each week before the pandemic to 1,500,000 customers a week after the plan was in full swing. What’s more, by accelerating their online capabilities, Tesco saw their e-commerce revenue grow from £3.3 billion to £5.5. billion. This initiative also created 16,000 new jobs.
Even B2B Companies Need to Be Alert to Changes in Customer Behavior
While B2B companies have shown reluctance to adapt to technological advances, the report shows that these companies, too, are subject to customers’ whims. Moreover, the next generation of customer experience is prompting growth in self-service tools.
For example, B2B customers expect to interact with digital agents and chatbots just as B2C customers do. They understand that these tools enable online businesses to provide customers with more personalized assistance all day every day.
All the same, some B2B firms continue to maintain smaller websites or straightforward landing pages. Many of these focus on providing customers only with basic information and a simple call to action, such as asking them to book an appointment.
However, new technologies that are more responsive to customer behavior will help even B2B companies manage increased demand. What’s more, these technologies will revive a B2B company’s online presence and give them a competitive edge in the market.
The Feefo Report Highlights the Need for a Great Customer Experience
Other highlights from Feefo’s report include:
Good customer experience (CX) can lead to a 300% increase in annual recurring revenue over the course of three years.
86% of online shoppers are likely to pay more for a great customer experience.
A brand’s values are highly important to 75% of UK customers and they consider them when making a purchase.
57% of consumers agree that companies should act in socially and environmentally responsible ways.
The report also states that consumers take brand values and actions into greater consideration now than they ever did before. Perhaps for this reason, businesses such as Amazon and IKEA have reaffirmed their social and environmental commitments this year.
Additionally, as customers become more conscious about sustainability issues, ever more brands shine a spotlight on their own social awareness and political values. In fact, 74% of customers surveyed said that if they were disappointed with a company’s words or actions regarding a social issue, they would be less likely to purchase from them. A refocus on business commitments, both socially and environmentally, is helping customers to see whether companies not only talk about their values but also live and breathe them, too.
Smart Businesses Will Continue to Evolve in Response to Shifts in Customer Behavior
As the Feefo report shows, the evolution in consumer behavior includes a shift toward expecting brands to fully live up to their values and create deeper connections with their customers. This will be one of the strongest trends driving customer experience throughout 2022.
Moreover, immersive online environments will help brands connect with their customers through new and interesting virtual experiences. The importance of a strong digital customer experience that includes valuing customer relations over individual transactions will be paramount. A company’s willingness to transform by adopting appropriate technologies and digital tools will be the renewed focus for every business looking to respond to changes in customer behavior and meet consumers’ expectations.