The past two years turned out to be a boot camp of sorts for businesses. Sales and Operations had to drastically shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online platforms. Brands had to review their robust offline strategies in order to pivot their focus and operations to digital solutions.
Revamping channels and processes proved to be difficult for most, yet those who were able to successfully do so managed to keep their businesses afloat. Meanwhile, those who failed most likely did not leverage the growth prospects brought about by the sudden market shift.
However, the boot camp is far from over. With rising inflation in many economies around the world, businesses, regardless of their scale, are faced with a new set of obstacles and difficult questions: How can we sustain our customers amidst the rise in commodity prices? How can we show them that our products and services are still relevant? How can we convince them that they still need us?
For starters, instead of immediately looking for new answers and solutions, it might be helpful to undertake a refresher course on what we learned at the height of the pandemic.
- Create a Customized and Personalized Customer Journey. Managing a business at the height of the pandemic was no easy feat, but capitalizing on brand loyalty and customizing human connection with customers proved to be important factors to sustainability. A McKinsey report showed that fast-growing companies drive 40% more of their revenue from personalization and that 71% of consumers expect brands to deliver personalized interactions. The past two years have already revolutionized customer preferences, hence it is crucial to riding on this new preferred customer journey.
- Emphasize Why Your Product or Service is Still Relevant. At a time when both companies and consumers are tightening their belts more than they did so in the past few years, framing your offering as a need rather than a want is crucial. Customers have more priorities but not exactly more resources, so rather than forcing them to avail of your product or service–which can be seen as insensitive and impersonal—help them instead in calculating how to fit your offering into their priority list. Improve product descriptions on your channels, provide more useful how-tos and tips on maximizing the use of your products, relate your offerings to their daily situations, or have a dedicated, personalized hotline that can respond to your customers’ queries. Authenticity is the twin of business success.
- Take a Stand; Businesses Can No Longer Afford to be Apolitical. Here is one truth that many businesses continue to refuse to face: customers care about brand values. In fact, according to a report by the Corporate Social Mind, 25% “very often” and 23% of respondents “often” visit a website to learn about a company’s support for a social issue; only 16% said they “seldom” do so, while 14% said they never bothered lifting a finger to check such. It would help to organize regular surveys that take the pulse of your usual customers and see where they stand on an issue. While your corporate social responsibility messaging should not entirely rely on what your customers say, it would be helpful to know their stance so you can more effectively relate to them.
For Joe Anderson, Director of Consulting & Customer Experience Strategy at TaskUs, it is important for a brand to have a strong, dedicated customer experience team that would focus on analyzing customer journeys and providing digital support. Customer experience (CX) prioritization is no longer just a nice-to-have but a must-have already.
“If a brand truly wants to gain and retain their customers’ trust and loyalty, it must be able to provide everything that their customers need—including a smoother, more personalized, and more authentic customer experience,” said Anderson. “It is key to staying relevant in such a very competitive environment made even more challenging by social and economic shifts and changes.”
The impending recession and global inflation is affecting brands’ sales and customers, and both factors are reliant on how the macroeconomy unfolds. It is crucial for a brand to leverage hyper-personalization in improving customer experience. Standing with a trusted partner can highlight your relevance and importance amid these uncertain times.