Lockdown episodes, widespread worldwide and now repetitive, have significantly changed our experience with many stores and brands. They have given us the opportunity to extensively test their online ecosystems or to experiment remote customer reception. In short, to experience a fully multi-channel journey with new requirements.
To understand rising expectations and help us to define the contours of the new customer experience in a post Covid-19 world, BETC Fullsix interviewed 3000 customers in five markets (UK, France, USA, China, India) and identified the expectations of the most advanced consumers - Prosumers, predictive of mainstream behaviour.
Customer experience is obviously about optimizing journeys, but it goes far beyond that, especially in our post Covid-19 era. CX is the expression of a brand's point of view, and even defines that point of view. It is reflected in different aspects of the experience that our research helped us define better. Here are the key lessons.
First, the way the company chooses to take care of people makes all the difference.
91% of Prosumers agree to claim they have developed a deeper trust in brands that protected / supported their customers throughout the Covid-19 crisis. This involves in particular the rules of safety and hygiene: for 62% of Prosumers, this is now the most important part of their experience with a brand. And this also involves contactless customer journeys, as a new standard: 80% of the customers think that contactless methods will become the new norm (e.g., no-touch payments, cashiers protected behind plexiglass shields)”
The care of employees is also a capital element of CX. 91% of respondents have developed a deeper trust in brands that protected / supported their employees during the Covid-19 crisis”.
Second, the facilitation of online journeys has become essential. Online shopping is becoming the new normal in many product categories.
Here are some impressive numbers from our research. After the Covid-19 crisis, many customers will be more likely to shop online rather than in-store. It’s true for 67% of them for clothing, 65% for electronic goods and 60% for banking and financial services.
This means that the online experience must meet some essential needs.
Speed: 47 % of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, whereas Littledata surveyed 2,641 sites in May 2020 and found the average time before full desktop page load was 4.5 seconds!
Usability: Google is no longer just optimizing for information that’s closest to your keywords but optimizing for a more enjoyable web experience. Intuitive, user-friendly page design is about to become even more important.
A human touch: 78% of Prosumers expect, for online/mobile experience, to be able to easily connect with a human (through chat or video interaction).
Third, this new era of CX will not be all digital.
How to make the physical in store experience attractive when the need to visit physical stores becomes less obvious to consumers? New CX rules are emerging so that physical shopping continues to be attractive:
Digital queuing: 88% of Prosumers expect retailers to have digital queuing systems to alleviate long wait times.
New ways to visit: 84% of Prosumers expect retailers to make in-store visits easier via personal appointments.
The pleasure of senses and surprise: 67% of Prosumers will still feel the need to visit stores for trying on, testing, and/or touching the products after the Covid-19 crisis. They will still feel the need to visit stores for the pleasure of being surprised by what they can find in person.
CX in Covid-19 time is about online facilitation, of course, but it also creates new expectations companies must meet; taking care of people (both customers and employees) and creating new in-store experiences, convenient, sensorial and full of surprises. Basically, customers will expect brands to have a sincere approach that is reflected in their actions, and therefore in the experience they deliver. In a world of uncertainty, the more sincere the intention of the company, the more it is ultimately felt through all the experience it delivers.
To be able to translate their ambitions into action in a sincere way, companies need to put data and technical talent at the heart of their organisation. We built BETC FULLSIX (a member of the HCX network) as a fully integrated organization, which organically brings together tech, data, creative and strategic expertise to create memorable experiences, and thus build strong value for brands and for their customers.