3 Customer Expectations Accelerated By COVID-19

How do I meet my customers’ needs?

This has been asked by businesses since the beginning of time. And while innovation has caused the answer to evolve over time, this fundamental question hasn’t changed.

With COVID-19, retailers must once again change up their approach.

COVID-19 is a huge threat to people’s safety and the driving force behind all the changes we’ve seen this year. The safety concerns are rapidly changing the way consumers behave. From interacting with friends and family, to shopping, working, exercising, and entertaining ourselves, we’ve all adjusted our behaviour.

The pandemic forced people to use and explore digital channels they had never used before. In many cases, people have become so comfortable with these digital channels that many now prefer them. So much so that 59% of consumers say the pandemic changed the way they interact with companies for the long-term. Overall, we’ve become more digital than before overnight (who knew that was even possible!)

But what happens to those companies that haven’t adapted to these circumstances as their customers have? Or who don’t support the digital channels and journeys that their customers now expect? The truth is, they risk losing their customers to those who have adapted and are engaged in those digital channels.

To stay competitive and promote customer loyalty, telcos need to meet customer's new expectations – and do it quickly. Here are three customer expectations that telcos need to meet:

1. A Safe Shopping Experience

Customers want to feel safe. A recent study found 76% of customers want clear safety protocols.

If customers don’t feel safe using a particular channel, they aren’t going to use it.

How are you controlling the traffic in your stores to ensure you’re maintaining a safe capacity? What are your cleaning schedules? How are you communicating that with your customers? Are your digital transactions secure?

In physical environments, enabling customers to book appointments or reserve a space in a virtual queue is a great way to control store traffic. Not only does customer appointment booking enable a safe shopping experience, customers are demanding it! It’s been reported that 88% of consumers want the ability to book an appointment via text, but only 35% can!  

2. More Channels And Customer Journeys

There is no one-size-fits- all approach to telco. The channels and customer journeys you offer depend entirely on your market.

Every market has unique customers with specific needs. For example, cash-heavy markets will have a completely different channel strategy than a market that takes a lot of digital payments.

Whether it’s finding someone in-house, or seeking the help of a consultant, choose to work with people who understand your market and customer base so you can develop a strong and diverse channel strategy. According to surveys:

• 88% of consumers expect businesses to accelerate digital initiatives.

• 52% of consumers expect personalized experiences.

• 83% of consumers expect flexible shipping options.

• 76% of consumers expect consistent interactions.

At Maplewave, we’ve mapped out over 180 possible customer journeys! With all these different journeys to leverage, telcos have the opportunity to really differentiate their offering and create a unique experience for their customers.

3. Self-Service Options

Self-service is crucial – and not only for the customer! A self-service experience can cost up to 98% less compared to a phone interaction.

It’s predicted that in 2020, 85% of all customer interactions will happen via self-service digital interfaces. Self-service options put customers in complete control which is especially important given COVID-19. Channels like self-care apps or kiosks are low-contact ways for a customer to interact with a business and procure the services they need. Likewise, self-care apps and kiosks are an efficient way for businesses to collect payments, upgrade plans or devices, and communicate directly with customers.

In the end, it’s easy to see how COVID-19 has catapulted certain ways of doing business from a “nice to have” to a “need to have”. It’s time for telcos and all businesses alike to push forward, innovate, and invest in themselves so they can meet their customers’ expectations.

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