Evolving customer expectations are transforming how every brand interacts with customers and prospects. Nowadays, people aren’t just looking for what product or service to buy, but they also take into account the overall customer experience and engagement.  73% of customers say that a positive experience with one company raises their expectations of other companies.(1)

In order to improve your customer engagement, you should first pay close attention to the social, economic, and cultural events and trends that are impacting customer behavior and expectations today.

Here are five trends that are changing customer engagement today.

1. Call for brand authenticity & transparency

Social media plays a big role in social movements. People are using the platform to fight for what they believe in, hoping to make a change. As they do, they expect brands to listen, be sensitive to current events, and ultimately participate and show their support.  

A very recent example is the rising support for the Black Lives Matter movement. After the killing of George Floyd, people all over the world expressed their emotions, empathy, and support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. This has somewhat pushed companies across all industries to put out messages and even donations to community organizations in support of racial equality.

Customers expect brands to speak up and follow through with action. A social media post or an email is not enough. They’re observing companies’ commitment to authenticity and transparency. Does it end in that one support poster or does it extend to the way you run your business, including how you treat your customers and even your employees? 

Being tone deaf about issues that deeply concern people both inside and outside your company  could gravely endanger the business. At the end of it all, being both authentic and transparent to the customers would only merit trust and support.

2. The rise of remote work

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have shifted to more remote work operations. The percentage of employees working remotely doubled from 31% to 62% in just three weeks during the lockdown.(2)

For businesses accustomed to having their employees working in a physical office, this poses several challenges.

At the top of the list is the ability of your interdepartmental teams to collaborate and work more effectively. No longer can one team member walk up to the table of another to get an update or bounce ideas. 

Even with current communication channels like video conferencing and messaging apps, it can be challenging to keep track of conversations surrounding a specific task or project. This, in turn, can result in miscommunication between team members and delays in addressing your customers’ questions and concerns.

While there’s no certainty when it’ll be safe for your employees to report back in your physical office, investing in a unified CRM like Insightly can bring back a sense of normalcy and organization to your employees while they work from home.

That’s because a unified CRM brings together sales, marketing, and delivery into one centralized platform. This allows you to streamline various processes, share one source of truth on all customer data, and align teams around the customer journey.

3. Hyper-personalization of customer experience

Gartner projects that by 2023, customer experience will become the most crucial determinant of digital business success.(3)

Much of this stems from customers’ increasing desire to receive personalized recommendations and services.   

It’s not surprising to hear that customers are expecting brands to anticipate their needs. In fact, 69% of consumers want a personalized experience from brands, yet only 40% of brands actually deliver.(4)

There are a couple of tools that companies can use to create personalized customer experiences: predictive analytics and lead scoring.

Predictive analytics forecasts consumer behavior through the use of historical data, statistics, artificial intelligence, and several other analytical techniques. By knowing how customers will react to future events, brands are able to respond ahead of time and get ahead of risks.

Lead scoring, on the other hand, is a sales and marketing methodology for scoring and ranking leads based on their interactions with the brand. This process is used to identify hot leads or top customers who are more likely to convert into actual sales.

Prioritizing top customers through effective engagement benefits the company in the long run, as they could become advocates of your brand. Aside from that, identifying cold leads can lead to either additional nurturing or deprioritization, depending on the responses you get.  

Both these methods show that data analytics play an important role for brands that wish to develop hyper personalized experiences for their customers. 

4. Stricter privacy regulations

While customers want brands to anticipate their needs, they’re also wary of how companies collect, store, and use their information. Customers want to be assured that their data is secure at all times.

Because of high-profile security breaches that happened on platforms like Facebook and Tiktok, companies have now developed stricter privacy regulations that could restrict customer engagement.

Make sure you know and understand privacy regulations across sales, marketing, and delivery channels. Abiding by these rules can help foolproof your customer engagement tactics and foster trust with your customers.  

In addition to complying with global and local data privacy regulations and policies, develop and implement a clearly defined set of data privacy guidelines based on the type of customer information that your company collects and stores.

5. Moment marketing

Lastly, customer engagement depends on connecting with customers at the right time, at the right place, and with the right message. Moment marketing is all about finding that perfect moment, or micro-moment, where customers are most likely to engage with your brand.

Moment marketing is only possible if you have a deep understanding of your customer’s journey, so you know when is the best time to provide that perfect piece of content. When you reach your customers with relevant and helpful information when they need it, you begin to build trust with your customers. 

While you should use data to develop your moment marketing plan, stay flexible enough to adapt to customers’ ever-changing behavior. Knowing the right tactic, time, and place to engage with your customers is a great way to optimize online efforts.

Ready to take your customer engagement to the next level? Request a demo of Insightly’s unified CRM platform and see how you can align all your teams around the customer journey. 

 

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Sources:

1. State Of The Connected Customer: Engagement Trends You Need To Know, Which-50.com, 2019

2. How Coronavirus Will Change the ‘Next Normal’ Workplace, Gallop, 2020

3. Digital Business Requires Organizations to Focus on Customer Centricity, Olive Huang, Gartner, 2019

4. 69% of consumers want an individualised customer experience yet only 40% of brands offer one, Internet Retailing, 2017