Every organisation depends on its consumers. The unfurling coronavirus pandemic has affected the behaviour of organisations and customers. One significant change is the shift to online channels.
Traditionally, B2B organisations relied on physical and face-to-face interactions to drive their brand awareness and customer experience.
In a fast changing remote and digital-first world, sped up by the Covid-19 pandemic, how do B2B organisations continue to drive their customer experience programs?
B2B CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
For a B2B (business-to-business) company, the customer experience is an integral part of the business as it differentiates them from the many competitors. Customer experience gives a unique identity to organisations and helps build a strong relationship with their customer.
According to one McKinsey study, “there has been an increase of three to six percentage points in overall e-commerce penetration in the aftermath of COVID-19. Some consumers will try digital and remote experiences for the first time. In China, the share of consumers over the age of 45 using e-commerce increased by 27 percent from January to February 2020.”
The approach and attitude towards a product sales and services is taking an alternative path. With a digital-first strategy gaining momentum, organisations can investigate the past to learn for the future. By predicting and preparing for a new realm of customer behaviour, organisations have an opportunity, now, to shape their customer experience programs.
WHAT PAST PANDEMICS AND CATASTROPHES HAVE TAUGHT US?
The major pandemics and catastrophic events of the past brought important changes to the society’s structure and the way societies interact with each other. Let’s look into a few significant events of the past.
The Black Death of 1300s reduced and brought feudalism to an end. The Spanish Flu of 1918 made us realize the importance of the public health care system and its establishment since then.
World War II brought out women confined within their homes and exposed them to the outer world. Women started taking part in the workforce. The 9/11 tragedy brought on significant changes in the security systems in the public places. Flying has never been the same since then.
Despite disrupting the lives and health of the people, the black swan events have helped to shape and advance societies.
Will the Covid-19 pandemic turn out to be the cornerstone for customer behaviour and experience?
THE CHANGING CUSTOMER BEHAVIOUR
The corona virus pandemic will have a long-lasting impact on the customer behavior. Tragically, many customers might have been directly or indirectly affected one way or the other—a crisis in personal life, job, or their business.
The path out of the pandemic will be long-lasting behavioural changes. Even a simple task like riding a public transport or eating at their favorite restaurants, calls for a change.
Business have an immense challenge, and a splendid opportunity, to shape the customer experience as we emerge out of this crisis.
CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IN POST COVID-19 WORLD
Change takes time. As consumers are trying to make sense of what might be around the corner, organisations have a responsibility to define the change. Organisations should start working with their customers and vendors in exploring the fresh opportunities in front of them.
Organisation need to focus on three areas to driver better customer experience, during and after the Covid-19 pandemic:
Address customers fears:
As business opens, organisations must address the immediate fears of their customers, while welcoming them. For instance, providing contactless service facilities at the site can help assure them of the customers physical and mental safety.
Be empathetic to consumer needs:
Be empathetic to the situation customers are in. For example, flexibility in payment plans or minimum quantity of orders will help keep them as customers and meet their needs during this crisis. Building flexibility into products and service will deliver provide a superior experience to them. For instance, virtual training and support, enhanced service frequencies are some ways to be in touch with the customers.
Adopt a digital-first policy:
With restrictions on travel and face-to-face interactions, companies will need to find fresh ways to reach and engage with their customers. Digital provides the perfect channel to achieve the goal. With the advancements in technologies, digital needn’t be an after-thought, but an exclusive means of driving customer experience.
Customers will expect their suppliers to reassure them that whatever may happen, the company will always stay at their side. That the company will find new and innovative ways to gain customers trust and drive their satisfaction.
The COVID-19 crisis will end at some point. But the emerging changes in consumer preferences and business models will outlast the crisis. Leading companies will focus on redefining their customer experience to build a stronger relationship with their customers.
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