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Covid reshaped human behavior. Authentic customer centric approach is essential in 2021 and beyond
It goes without saying that we live in the highly volatile and fast-paced market, where innovations and technologies are reshaping value and competition.
Furthermore Covid-19 crisis in 2020 triggered a “worldwide experiment in human behaviour”, changing our interactions, values, needs and perceptions. According to McKinsey 2020 Research 75% of consumers changed their spending habits almost over the night. And in only 90 days mobile and digital penetration gained the level of 10 forecasted years.
So, yes! World is reshaping and consumers are transforming with faster pace - reinventing customer journeys. They are still willing to spend, but every day harder to delight.
And there is a new generation of buyers on the rise – e.g. the social consumers - the youngest generation, that currently represents 40% of all consumer shopping (either direct or indirect as main influencers) and will reach the highest purchasing power in 5 to 10 years. But they are fundamentally different from everyone we know so far. They are elusive, digital native, empowered, anchored on ethics, social responsibility and sustainability, looking for authentic and innovative experience. They want to make a mark in a society. They expect nothing less than seamless, convenient, transparent experience throughout their journey, with deep understanding of their needs and wants.
Without doubt now and for years to come key business value creators will remain innovations, consumer centricity and intimacy, supported by BIG data alongside Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Automation, Predictive Analytics, etc. – all playing a vital role in our lives.
Boundary between offline and online disappears and data are becoming the ultimate asset. Covid-19 accelerated consumer e-commerce adoption and businesses digital transformation even further, posing increased challenges for industries to develop next-generation supply chain capabilities to optimize their business operations and profitability.
The truth is: we can never bit the customer or upcoming innovations. We can only build a sustainable business model if we approach all new challenges in a holistic way.
On one side in 2021 one of our most important tasks is to protect health of our teams, and to rethink and manage necessary organisational changes that will enable us all to cope in the “new world”. As Covid-19 changed all of us, we need to get to know each other all over again. We need to find a sustainable hybrid working models, to create conditions that will allow employees to thrive in the workplace of the future, that will enable them to move seamlessly between onsite and remote work, to focus on physical health and mental well-being, to figure out how to maximize the social connectivity when working remotely, etc. These tasks go far beyond just providing new models and supporting tools. In the first place we need to address development of new competences and techniques that will fit into new corporate culture and work patterns. Remember: we are saving hearts not counting heads!
On the other side we need to ensure health of our business, meaning to build resilient strategies to VUCA environment and start to implement business models based on digitalization, usage of innovative technologies (BI, AI, automation, IoT and IoB, etc.) and disruptive on-demand offerings. But it is still all about people, as human beings, as employees or as customers, who are adopting fast to new digital models and expect to be understood, engaged, and approached with empathy. More than ever I believe the key is to provide authentic customer centric approach, by ensuring real omni channel infrastructure – enabling seamless customer experience and valuable engagement across all touch points, all brands, formats and across all devices. As the main value creation discipline is becoming customer intimacy, we need to build its foundations on personalization, trust, closed feedback loops and agility of turning insights into actions by leveraging the data intelligence across every part of the business - in real time.
Keep in mind: although customer experience is a driving force behind digital ecosystems, customer engagement solutions must be set up with the human touch! The foundation for everything today must be built on human resources as the heart, with corporate culture dedicated to collaboration and empowerment and support of innovative, state of the art, technologies.
Only with personalized and to each consumer unique approach, you will be able to keep them gratified, engaged, connected and – most importantly - loyal to your brand.
After 2020 there is no room left for any fake brand communication, dishonesty or lack of social responsibility. It is all about truth, engagement, contribution, convenience, transparency and feeling safe!