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Customer Expectations are Changing as Digital Processes Streamline Experiences

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How businesses can adapt and develop digital processes to new customer habits while staying true and connected to their existing clientele.

As customers experience disruptions to their daily routines stemming from COVID-19, they are adapting to new systems powered by digitization that are reshaping their behaviors and preferences. How do businesses adapt to these changes and remain connected with their customers?

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, companies and communities have been forced to implement digital solutions to maintain business, sustain customer connections and remain socially linked. Fueled by both necessity and convenience, the unexpected acceleration for the digitization of everything has spurred notable changes in customer habits, through introductions to alternative ways to work, socialize and function. According to a recent report, 50% of Americans are increasingly adopting digital and low-touch activities for everything from entertainment to shopping to communication and these habits will work their way into the new normal.

The change in customer behavior is driving the need for organizations and marketers to rethink campaigns and approaches to their business processes in order to adapt and engage with customers differently.

Using digital tools to streamline operations and efficiency, as well as improve the overall customer experience is no longer an option, but a necessity. Business and marketing leaders need to understand that while they are adapting today, they need to prepare for tomorrow.

Adapt Marketing to New Customer Behaviors

In turbulent times like this, businesses should strive to humanize their brand and remain customer-centric. While being mindful of the current situation, they should stay engaged with customers and inform them of any changes to products and services. In tandem, marketing can support these efforts by tracking evolving customer trends and interests, and applying these insights to effectively adapt offerings to best reach customers.

Marketers should also assess and replace antiquated or broken systems and processes within their internal marketing, sales, proposals and lead capture efforts. Marketers should look into tools and tactics that enable the creation of seamless experiences that easily connect with audiences and support intelligent, real-time interaction capabilities.

Learning from the new limitations that have disrupted normal routines and shifted customer habits, marketers are provided with a chance to redefine their tactics and processes to regain and retain success in lead generation.

James McDermott, CEO and co-founder at Lytics, had analyzed that for marketers to create an engaging and successful campaign, it requires centralizing data and enriching customer intelligence with new insights such as content affinities or purchase intent. As customers and businesses have transitioned to digital, marketers should follow suit and use automation solutions such as:

  • Implementing mobile-friendly lead capturing forms for landing pages, content downloads, digital events, virtual giveaways and more.
  • Pairing customer data collection with workflow tools and information systems to develop personalized campaigns and offers.
  • Using smart tools that improve how data is captured and transferred from marketing to sales to quickly and efficiently move leads down the sales funnel.
  • Keeping customers engaged via entertaining strategies such as quizzes, surveys and sweepstakes, which can double as marketing data collection tools.

The key is “finding automation tools” that are easy-to-use and flexible enough to streamline both employee adoption and the overall customer experience. While these solutions and strategies will most certainly benefit employers’ bottom line by easing time-consuming tasks, they’ll also help develop efficient data management and identify how customer interests are changing. Marketers can use this data to make the necessary shifts to continue reaching and engaging customers.

Stay Connected With Customers

Studies have shown businesses that have transformed digitally develop higher customer engagement. Super Office CMO Jennifer Lund had stated how these engaged customers are “six times more likely to try a new product or service from their preferred brand, four times more likely to have referred the brand to their acquaintances and two times more likely to make a purchase, even when a competitor has a better product or price.”

As customers are now looking for more timely responses, amplified options for ecommerce and delivery, as well as streaming and digital entertainment, businesses can potentially benefit by incorporating engaging digital approaches that retain and grow customer connections.

Although many brick-and-mortar stores are temporarily shut down, this doesn’t eliminate consumers’ interest in drinking a delicious latte from their go-to coffee shop or ordering new workout gear from their favorite fitness brand. Certain activities have and will remain despite the changes in social aspects.

So how can brands remain connected with their customers in an environment with significantly reduced physical interaction?

  • Use video-based communications to deliver critical information or personalized messages, or engage with customers and prospects even with event cancellations and travel restrictions
  • Incorporate digital messaging through emails, blogs and social channels to provide product updates, promote ecommerce solutions and deals.
  • Support customer experiences and share new ways to interact with the brand by providing tips and tutorials on how to effectively use offerings in new ways, as well as suggestions on complementary solutions. Incorporate a survey or comment board to capture customer feedback.
  • Develop a community forum to connect with customers and gain real-time feedback. Use keywords to collect data on topics, concerns, positive responses and more to easily and quickly find trends within the discussions.

With the world relying heavily on virtual experiences more than ever before, businesses will need to develop imaginative and interactive ways to keep customers engaged.

Even after the world emerges from the pandemic, many customers will grow accustomed to new approaches and continue to expect the services provided during the crisis. In order to stay on top of evolving customer interest, an investment in digital solutions will equip businesses with the tools to monitor, adapt and engage with customers in a more informed and effective way.

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