5 Ways COVID-19 changed the customer’s mindset and the economy

Great customer experience (CX) used to define companies from the myriad others with very similar product offerings; now it has become a necessity for the companies to survive and ramp up its recovery from this difficult period. Businesses’ objectives have also shifted to adapt to the new economic landscape; and those who do not catch the wave will be left behind.

The challenge now is to put aside the losses and negative outlook, and focus on revolutionising the experience offering to an audience which the pandemic did not leave unscarred. People are now a lot more cautious and health and safety is top priority, and this scenario should be the foundation of any business CX if there is to be a successful transition to the ‘new normal’. Below we will be looking at some of the different ways that customers have been affected by this pandemic.

Scarred Societies

Worldwide, 18% of people have a family member or friend who had COVID-19, for which 5% ended mortally (USA Today). The pandemic also left millions without jobs and forced billions into isolation, burdening them with the unsettling feeling of insecurity that everyone they know could be physically in danger. This leads to negativity and a pessimistic outlook on the possible future that awaits us.

Over 70% are ready to permanently move on from a brand if they get the impression that it is valuing profit over customer satisfaction.

Skepticism…and Trust

With the tumult of fake news surrounding the pandemic and multiple governments scrambling – and failing – to reach their countries’ expectations causing a rise in mass skepticism, people have started placing their trust in businesses instead, asking for more employee care and pricing schemes which reflect the current average earner budget. Edelman Trust Barometer stated that 62% are placing their country’s fate in the willingness of corporations to play their critical role in overcoming the countries’ economic challenges presented by COVID-19, and the majority perceives that more actions are being taken by such business than by the government. On the other hand, over 70% are ready to permanently move on from a brand if they get the impression that it is valuing profit over customer satisfaction.

Consumer Budgets and Appreciation of Material Owned

As duly noted by Forrester, a good portion (37%) of consumers want to keep carrying out their main activities – from work down to socialising – indoors, and it seems that this pattern will not change even post-COVID19. This is also reflected in the average spender’s budget, which of course took a low hit especially when it comes to travel plans and non-essential purchases, with plans to save more in the future. Prosper & Insights Analytics have issued a wake-up call for strictly brick & mortar companies, as their research showed that 30% of shoppers plan to take their orders permanently online. Ernst & Young established how presently the perception of a third of consumers is positively changing towards a higher appreciation of what they own and stopping taking normal life for granted. This might lead to an increased uptake of new hobbies and seeking of adventures out in the open, rather than the usual drive to a crowded restaurant.

A third of consumers is positively changing towards a higher appreciation of what they own and stopping taking normal life for granted.

Employment Expectations

Autodesk is encouraging companies to invest in a flexible approach to working which is not tied down to any place, time or device in order to emerge as a leader in this crisis. It is in line with what a good portion of the employees in general are expecting (Prosper Insights shows that 36% of remote workers would like to keep doing so permanently), not to mention that it is logistically more efficient, contributes to cleaner air due to reduced daily commute and drastically decreases company costs – from office rental down to the monthly electricity bills. Employee productivity and comfort in general have also been affected positively.

Changing the way companies function and collaborate

Adoptions of digital transformations by many companies have led remote work tools and video conferencing platform providers to thrive in this time of crisis and over 50% of companies are investing in making their CX better and improvising across all their customer experience channels (Pega). Even though unemployment has taken a high upward curve, tech giants such as Facebook and Google plan to employ thousands of new tech personnel and shipping and logistics measures including new roles are being established amid rising demand for home deliveries. With more time on their hands, people are increasingly resorting to online entertainment, as shown by The Verge on how Netflix have more than doubled their number of subscribers since the beginning of 2020.

COVID-19 has traumatized millions, and even after the global deaths have gone down to zero, it will still affect how our countries will be run, how we perceive our environments, how companies will innovate their work methodologies and how they decide to improvise on customer experience and engagement. Understanding the psychology behind this situation is clearly key and what businesses will deliver for the new customer mindset will define whether a company will emerge as a leader from the low tide, or sink beneath the wave and be forgotten.