What a year it has been; chock-full of events, tragedies, but most importantly, change. 2020 has brought upon several lifestyle changes and business transformations. The COVID-19 pandemic has carved a new reality and we have adapted to it well in the past few months.
While we cannot deny the hurdles, industries faced at the beginning of the year, several companies have now recreated their work operations to accommodate the new normal digitalisation and digitisation are on the rise, remote working is commonplace, social selling is boosted.
However, as the year comes to an end, we must acknowledge that the pandemic will begin to though not completely shed its effects. There is certainly a post-pandemic world on its way and we need to be prepared for it. But what will change in business and what does your firm need to do to ensure the continuation of positive customer experience?
Upcoming Trends in Customer Behaviour
Lockdowns and quarantines have stimulated noticeable changes in the business world. The pattern of B2B sales has taken a turn, for better or for worse.
A study of the changes that will remain could help companies prepare for what’s to come. According to McKinsey and Company, the following three trends will be visible after the pandemic:
- The guard on savings: Cost-efficiency is vital for higher returns. However, with the economy in shambles, savings are being prioritised all the more. Businesses will continue to save even after the pandemic, considering no one is aware of the potential growth or dip in the economy. However, this isn’t the case for all firms. Some organisations have enjoyed a lucrative business, thanks to the remote working setup. Moreover, it is vital to note that expenditure is not only reduced but also reallocated. Several areas that were ignored earlier have now become a priority.
- The work-from-home narrative: As self-isolation and quarantines have become necessary; jobs have now become a consistent work from home setup. Earlier this year, several multinational companies announced that their employees will work remotely for the entire year. Twitter even went ahead to promise its employees a permanent work from home opportunity. Pandemic or not, the remote working setup is here to stay. Furthermore, sales over video conferencing are now preferred to the traditional in-person meetings.
- The rise of digitalisation: What better way to communicate amid a lockdown than the Internet? Online channels have become everybody’s best friend, including companies. Communication, reviews, research, and purchases are all now easily accessible through online systems. More and more companies are shifting towards digitalisation and digitisation.
These three major sales trends will be seen even in the B2B industry long after the pandemic. To improve customer experience then, businesses can use the following 3 methods and maintain sales standards while enhancing the overall experience for the consumer:
Extend Empathy and Practice Flexibility
Everyone in the world is experiencing the effects of the pandemic simultaneously. Hence, almost every company is facing similar circumstances issues in delivery due to restrictions, sudden remote working expectations, a loss of sales leads, and an overall downfall of the economy.
In such harsh conditions, a little bit of empathy can go a long way. Businesses will support other companies that they trust. Hence, an empathetic approach assures other businesses that they are not just a financial transaction to you. This distinction will enhance customer experience and encourage brand loyalty. Furthermore, a good experience can lend you positive reviews and gain referrals.
Post pandemic, the world will be at a new beginning stage. Many companies that are stagnant or simply surviving at the moment, will begin to slowly gain back their numbers. At the time, some empathy and flexibility on your side will be memorable to the customers. A lack of the same can make your company seem profit-oriented and will reap only short-term gains. Hence, customer experience must be handled with fragility and encouragement.
Recognise the Importance of the Digital Medium and Hybrid Models
In-person transactions, meetings, and sales pitches have been off the table for the past few months. And it seems that few are missing these traditional methods. Consumers are getting rather comfortable with digital channels and self-service options.
According to McKinsey and Company, the importance of digital sales has risen by 1.4x during the pandemic. Considering the long reign of digital sales this year, it is only safe to assume that several consumers will prefer to continue this format in the future.
However, every customer’s needs are different and some might still wish to maintain an in-person connection.
Hence, post-pandemic is the time for hybrid models. While you can offer several companies the benefits of the Internet, you can also inject location-based meetups when required. When dealing with digital media, cloud services can be your greatest ally. Using the same, you can digitise your entire business from data storage to customer experience. Cloud solutions are cost-efficient, scalable, remote-work complacent, and provide analytics for your research.
Speaking of research, consumers now tend to rely on websites and social media for the same. Hence, ensuring a strong presence digitally is essential for any business going forward.
Reach out to Customers that don’t Come to you
In simpler words, be proactive. Post pandemic, the customers that you might have lost this year might become potential leads. However, you must ensure an enhanced customer experience for a promising result. Personalised experiences and authentic delivery on your part will be appreciated by your consumers.
To appeal to the customers personally, you must know what the market seeks. This is where analytics and market trends play an active role. Observing the trends has been made much easier with the help of cloud services.
Using artificial intelligence and cloud telephony solutions, you can analyse consumers’ interactions with your organisation and also survey prospective leads to find patterns. Once you know what the consumers want, you can reach out to them with solutions to their problems and turn around a cold lead. The pandemic has left no room to be shy of approaches. As long as you know what your consumers want, you can provide them with the experiences they desire.
The bottom line…
The pandemic has been a game-changer for industries across the world. The post-pandemic market will continue to feature some of the major changes made during this year. Consumers will lean towards digital approaches and interactions, personalised CX and remote working setups.
Hence, companies need to adjust their approach towards customer experience accordingly. Businesses will need to create a trustworthy image, one that promises empathy, flexibility and transparency. Furthermore, hybrid approaches to sales digital and in-person combined will become popular since consumers have become comfortable with the current setup.
Customer experience will need to be revamped as consumer requests transform post the pandemic. B2B sales can be a lot easier, regardless of the conditions, if you have the correct advice and tools to carry out the same.