Business Recovery From Pandemic Drives Focus On New Consumer Behaviors In Data Findings From CX Leader ONR
Companies that adapt to changing needs of customers will recover more rapidly and be better positioned to sustain growth than competitors
ONR, a leader in transforming the customer experience (CX) for Fortune 500 companies today has shared new data highlighting how consumers, and thus businesses have pivoted successfully acting on key learnings measured during the pandemic that will impact commercial relationships in a post-COVID-19 world.
Looking forward, loyalty has taken on a major significance, with customers clearly seeking trusted brands that make them feel like “they are taken care of, and a part of the family.” For companies, greater emphasis on more bespoke customer facing solutions will allow brands to acquire deeper understanding and the quicker ability to address new needs in the customer’s experience and customer journeys.
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Coming out of the extended lockdowns caused by COVID-19 and now the Delta Variant, brands in all business segments have seen continued heightened consumer uncertainty, and sustained awareness and attention on health and wellness in not only the products purchased, but also the service experience for retailing and purchase. The combination of these factors has reshaped customer behavior, perhaps for decades to come. The challenge for companies is to understand which customer trends and patterns will endure over the longer term.
“There is no denying the systemic changes and reset in consumer behaviors and business operations that have developed during the pandemic,” comments ONR CEO Jason Ten-Pow. “One of the key questions to answer is how business will adapt to these seismic shifts. The data that we have gleaned post-COVID-19 provides a clear roadmap – companies that understand how to both follow and lead the desires and actions of today’s consumer will derive great benefits.”
Some of the facts that ONR has learned from their consumer research regarding company leadership and executives include:
- CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IS THE NEW MUST-HAVE. Coming out of COVID-19 100% of the top business executives understand the value of measuring customer experience.
- FUTURE AND LONG-TERM BUSINESS SUCCESS WILL COME FROM A CUSTOMER SERVICE FOCUS. 8 in 10 of the top business executives believe that business success in the future, post-COVID-19, will be primarily determined by customer experience.
- THE MOST SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES ARE THE MOST CX-MATURE BRANDS. Only the executives of the most CX mature brands (6% of all brands) say they are able to successfully move internal conversations in the post-COVID-19 environment beyond a singular focus on financial performance to the expanded and sustainable results from the added focus on customer experience.
- HOWEVER, THERE’S A HUGE GAP PAST THE C-SUITE IN SUPPORTING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FOCUS. Only 1 in 10 of the top business executives believe that post-COVID-19 everyone in their organization understands their role in delivering a positive customer experience.
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ONR has also learned how the customer’s experience is beginning to change:
- CUSTOMERS GIVE THEIR LOYALTY TO BRANDS THAT CONNECT. One way customer service has notably changed during the pandemic is that brands embrace empathy and human connections. Consumer Loyalty has taken on new significance. This can be through simple interactions such as asking how customers are doing or as complex as slowing down complicated interactions to walk customers through step-by-step instructions on how to interact with one’s business. Basically, brands must make customers feel like they are a part of the family, to maintain loyalty.
- ONE THING IS STILL TRUE: THE MOST CONNECTED BRANDS BEFORE THE PANDEMIC ARE ALSO THE MOST COMMITTED TO IT POST-PANDEMIC. Many of the most successful giants in the business world—including Apple, Starbucks, Costco, and Adobe—have stayed focused on what is important to their customers: the things that keep them committed, loyal, and enabling them to be passionate brand advocates.
- ONE IMPORTANT SIGN OF THE IMPORTANCE OF CX AS A PILLAR OF GROWTH IS SEEN IN MCDONALD’S CREATION OF A NEW CX TEAM. Even the most mature brands are sensing that the tide has turned and COVID-19 has changed the way customers engage with restaurants. McDonald’s recently announced that it has created a new CX team to focus on customer experience. They also report that the key priority of this group will be executing the “growth” pillars the brand has identified. They have even installed a chief customer officer at the highest level.
- ONE IMPORTANT EMERGING TREND: CONTACT CENTERS WILL BECOME CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE CENTER HUBS. Contact centers where customer knowledge is acquired will transform in 2021, and these operations will turn into customer experience centers hubs. As a result, experience-focused leaders are shifting their orientations away from cost reduction towards generating business and customer value. In fact, the percentage of service leaders whose top priority is increasing revenues will double in the next two years, while the percentage whose top priority is cost reduction will decrease.
- THE FUNDAMENTALS STILL MATTER: BRANDS NEED TO ENSURE THEIR ENTIRE ORGANIZATION IS LISTENING AND GATHERING CUSTOMER FEEDBACK ACROSS THE FULL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FROM CONSIDERATION TO PURCHASE TO POST-PURCHASE SUPPORT. We will see more bespoke CX solutions allowing a brand to optimize contact center customer experience. Companies can use this solution to acquire deeper understanding of the customer’s experience and customer journeys. More importantly, this can identify customers that are at the highest risk of defection and provides service agents with immediate actions, to be able to “rescue” the customer relationship. The ability to audit key interactions during the course of service delivery to ensure consistent experiences across all communication channels will be a key feature. Finally, this shift offers a place to curate acquired best known methods so that one can always have quick access to a definitive source the organization can turn to for knowledge sharing and action planning.
The importance of CX data tracking, sharing and acting is part of the irreversible trend of consumers’ new behaviors in this “new normal” and is the backbone of brands’ successful and sustainable recovery strategies.
ONR is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, with an office in Denver and teams in New York, Orlando and Los Angeles serving clients worldwide.
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