Customer expectations have changed because of COVID-19, and your business must adapt. Learn how to give customers what they want to keep them coming back.
Earlier this summer, McKinsey surveyed consumers worldwide to gauge their changing spending habits in light of the pandemic. The report found that consumers were spending carefully, with an eye on cost and value. When they do spend money, much of what they spend beyond essentials goes for home-based entertainment and goods to make their living space more comfortable.
The survey also noted consumers’ increasing desire to purchase from companies that demonstrate care and concern for consumer well-being and the world at large. More importantly, McKinsey found that consumers are more willing to shift their loyalty to a new brand if it offers products, services, and delivery methods that better meet these standards.
Because of COVID, customer expectations have changed with an eye toward frictionless interactions, health and safety, and do-good intentions. The good news is that small businesses may be best positioned to fulfill those requirements.
As people stay closer to home, they want to invest in neighborhood shops rather than faceless warehouses. Small business owners who listen to what consumers want now and respond with thoughtful offerings can win new customers and recover that much quicker.
Transforming transactions into relationships
As a result of ongoing isolation, customers prefer to work with businesses that offer a personal touch because they believe loyalty is a two-way street. They don’t want to order takeout from your restaurant once; they want to order every Friday night and be greeted warmly when they call.
“Something that seems to have changed is the way [customers] expect us to respond,” says Carla Diaz, co-founder of Broadband Search, a service that helps consumers find the best internet provider in their area. “Prior to the pandemic, we would receive general questions related to ISPs in a customer’s area and our website, and once answered, the customer would say thank you and move on.
“Lately, it seems our customers expect to have much more in-depth discussions, such as the state of the internet in their area, why some providers might be considered better, and more,” she adds. “It’s as if the pandemic has allowed us to break through a surface-level relationship and connect on a much deeper level. I’m hoping we’ll continue to grow our relationship with many more of our customers.”
The concept of “customer experience” isn’t new, but it’s taken on new depth in the post-COVID era. Consumers want a long-term relationship with the brands and businesses they patronize, and it’s up to every role in …….