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Businesses lagging in digital investments & Customer Service may not be around in five to ten years, according to report

Source: Business Insider

The business world is still rattled by COVID-19 and the restrictions it has brought with it. All over the world, companies have had to adapt or fade away as people are urged to stay home or otherwise change their working habits.

Likewise, individuals have had to find new ways of working and living, relying heavily on connected technology to get by. But even with a vaccine rolling out and some kind of normality glimmering on the horizon, both companies and individuals have found silver linings in the ways they’ve adapted to pandemic life, and they won’t be letting go.

In other words, both will likely carry the positive aspects of their new method into a post-pandemic world. From a consumer standpoint, it means people have re-examined what’s important to them when interacting with a business, demanding an experience that better suits their new digital-heavy lives. On the other side of the coin, businesses need to be prepared to meet these demands and the data suggests they are.

Demand for good digital experiences has increased

While e-commerce is leading the charge, companies that offer customer support will also be feeling the pressure. According to Zendesk’s Customer Experience Trends Report 2021, which includes data from more than 90,000 companies across 175 countries, average weekly support requests have jumped up by 20% since the start of the pandemic. With customers expecting so much more from the companies they interact with, the business world must embrace a new digital-first world, even when normalcy returns.

“Against the backdrop of dizzying change and record-high engagement, companies have had to adapt in ways that they never thought possible, at a time when the customer experience has only become more important,” the report reads. “Customers want speed and convenience, but they’re also seeking empathy and commitment to the core issues that they care about.”

“It’s a high bar, at a particularly challenging time, but companies that invest in solutions to help them work smarter and adapt quickly to evolving customer preferences will be better prepared to handle any uncertainty that lies ahead.”

Businesses have one shot to get it right, customer service is key

During the pandemic, online transactions increased by 30%, with 65% of customers wanting to buy from companies that offer quick and easy online transactions. On top of that, “75% of customers are willing to spend more to buy from companies that give them a good customer experience,” the report says.

While many companies have noticed this trend and acted accordingly — 35% plan to invest more money into the customer experience in 2021 — the pressure to get it right is high, with 50% of customers stating they’d switch to a competitor after just one bad experience. It’s all well and good to make sure orders are filled and queries are answered promptly, but there’s more to the customer experience than that.

“It’s not enough for companies to simply provide fast, friendly service. In a world marked by uncertainty, customers are seeking empathy and want to buy from companies that reflect their values,” the report says, showing that 49% of consumers want support agents to be empathetic, 54% “want to buy from companies that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in their communities and workplaces,” and 63% “want to buy from companies that are socially responsible”.

Of course, all of this has lit a fire under the businesses which had plans in the pipeline already, with 75% of company leaders saying the pandemic has compressed the timeline for implementing connected technologies in order to reach customers and support an increasingly remote workforce at the same time.

“Innovative solutions and technologies are no longer just for the digitally savvy, but for all teams and those that don’t evolve risk getting left behind,” the report says. “More than half of companies say they want to invest more in technologies that can help them better manage distributed workforces, adapt to keep up with customers, and add new ways to offer support. Even companies that ranked these initiatives as low priorities before the pandemic are getting on board.”

Adapt now or risk being left behind

The consensus appears to be that if companies aren’t making these changes now, they’ll be playing catch-up later down the road. As Ray Wang, Principal Analyst, Founder and Chairman of Constellation Research puts it, “If you’re not investing in digital right now, I think you need to reassess your business model and whether you’ll be around in the next five to ten years.”

“There’s not going to be a single company that doesn’t have a digital business model.”

The key thing is to plan and get organized to take the opportunities. That is why the Global Business Camp (19 – 21 July, 2021) is critical for businesses.