In the past, customers and businesses had limited interactions. A customer might learn about a business from a friend, visit a physical store, buy something, and go on with their life.
Today, in the digital era, customers receive a constant stream of information and must decide which businesses to support both online and offline. They make these choices based on the kind of experience they have had with different brands.
Just in the last decade, customer experience has transformed in several ways. Let’s explore some key changes in customer experience over the past 10 years and understand what we should consider for the times ahead.
1. Today’s brands must be transparent, honest, and dedicated to their customers’ well-being
In the past, brands could be selective in what they told customers about their products. Around the early 2000s, the focus was on products’ impact on consumers (inside and out) and their surroundings. People cared more about natural, eco-friendly items they consumed, followed by what they applied on their bodies, and then the environment.
This has changed. Many customers now want brands to actively care for the planet and resources. Brands must clearly communicate their efforts openly and honestly.
While some shoppers may still support brands that don’t prioritize this, in 2023, most customers, especially younger ones, expect brands to honestly share information about their products. This honesty also extends to marketing, a critical ground for building trust.
2. Power of Online Reviews: Either make your break your business
Online reviews hold immense power in shaping your business’s success. It’s simple: people trust fellow consumers more than brands or advertisements. This holds even truer today than ever before.
Therefore, online reviews can either build or hinder your business, especially if you’re aiming to enter a new market.
3. Evolving Marketing: Collaborating Across Departments for Customer-Centric Success
In the modern business landscape, marketing no longer functions in isolation. It’s not just a separate department; it’s a part of the whole journey a product takes from its creation to reaching the hands of customers. Imagine this journey as a roadmap—it involves the product’s birth, its production, and finally, its delivery to the customer.
Moreover, this journey isn’t just about the product’s physical aspects. It’s also about how people discuss it, where they gather information about it, and what opinions they share (and where they share them). This shift highlights the growing importance of blending with customer care, product marketing, and product development.
The primary goal is to make sure that the products being introduced to the market align with customer needs and effectively fulfill those needs.
4. The Power of Authenticity in the New Economy
In 2020, when BeReal was launched, it addressed a surprising need for genuine and transparent content on social media. This was new and captivating.
However, from October 2022 to the Spring of 2023, the active daily users decreased by over half, reaching less than 6 million. Don’t interpret this decrease as a sign against authenticity; rather, it marks a turning point. More individuals value genuineness and desire to witness the true aspects of brands.
5. Involving the Whole Company in Customer Experience
We now know that creating a great customer experience isn’t just the job of one department. It’s not only customer support and sales teams that should care about the customer experience.
According to Emplifi, 43% of consumers think past positive experiences with a brand are very important when they want to buy something new. This means everyone in the company should think about making bad experiences better and keeping good experiences going.
For ex., executives should think about how their decisions will change the customer experience. Technicians should also think about how customers will feel when they use apps or websites after changes are made.
6. Social Media: An Inavoidable Branding Tool
Social media has transformed from a mere add-on to an absolute necessity for businesses. While some brands are finding success by adopting traditional marketing approaches, social media still holds immense value when used purposefully and passionately. To make it effective, it’s crucial to approach social media with a clear purpose and a focus on understanding and engaging with the audience.
7. Shaping Your Brand: Customer Voices Matter
It’s simple: your brand isn’t defined by your own claims but by what your customers express. Their perceptions hold significant sway.
2023 and Beyond: Customer Experience for the Future
The changes of the past decade might linger, but customer experience will keep evolving with the changing times.
While physical stores remain important, online shopping is skyrocketing. And selling isn’t limited to websites anymore. WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook are gaining traction as platforms for customer purchases.
Sustainability is not just a passing fad; it’s a lasting trend. Customers now prefer brands that actively reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to the planet. Transparency plays a key role in gaining customer trust.
For product-based businesses, engaging customers through services is vital. This could involve live product demos or hosting customer events.
Over the last ten years, customer experience has changed a lot, and this change will keep happening in the future. To keep customers, brands must keep growing and changing.
The pandemic proved that successful businesses adapt fast to changes, even those beyond their control. If you listen and respond to customer desires and needs, you’ll pave the way for future success.