From talking to both clients and many businesses over the last year one thing is clear: How to best serve customers as a company is in a state of flux. Accepting that the ways we operated in the past might not serve our business or our customers in the best way in the landscape that is emerging as we transition out of the pandemic.
While the pandemic may have accelerated the uptake of digitalisation out of necessity, we need to realise that things will never go back to exactly the way they were before. We must incorporate our learnings into how we do business in the future. Here are 4 trends to reflect on.
The customer is in the driver’s seat
Many of us have had the experience of talking about a specific topic, maybe a new smartphone that we wanted and suddenly, we are being fed ads for smartphones through social media. Whilst this may be useful, it can also feel intrusive. This kind of unwanted messaging can give digitalisation a bad name.
True personalisation is not about using customer data to send people unwanted messaging. This personalisation takes place with the customer’s consent and request. The customer is at the wheel and the company has the systems in place to give the customer the information they want when they want it.
The customer controls how they communicate and when they communicate with the company.
Digital will not replace analogue – it will enhance it
The future is a hybrid world. Many of us are digitally fatigued. Hours a day spent on Zoom or other videoconferencing services, lack of human contact, technical difficulties. In my opinion part of the reason for the fatigue is that it is forced upon us. However when we can finally go back to the option of in person communication, the element of choice becomes important.
Personally, I think it would be hard to justify traveling around the country to have in-person meetings. The time and resources spent on this would no longer be quite as accepted in the “new normal.” Not least because we need to be more conscious about the impact of our carbon footprint on the environment. We will have the option to be more discerning about when in person is necessary.
Even heavily regulated industries are on board
Digitalisation is not just the preserve of innovative companies. Many heavily regulated industries, such as financial services, health care and governments, that are usually slow to change have embraced digitalisation as well. If traditionally slow-moving or bureaucratic industries are welcoming technology, then, that is even more reason for smaller organisations to follow suit.
Obviously, not every company has the budget of a large corporation or a government body. But the key here is innovation. Individuals and small companies have already created amazing solutions to augment existing solutions that don’t require organizstional change or a huge budget.
The key here is to recognise the opportunity, listen to what people want and create digitised solutions that solve real problems. Then look at how to do that with the resources that you have, whether that’s with an individual or a small team.
Staying still is not an option
To build a sustainable business in the future, we need to recognise the trends of the future that are likely to occur and work toward responding to them. Personalisation for customers, based on taking feedback and insights, translated into action is crucial to remain competitive and agile as a business. I believe that personalisation will become the expected “norm.” Technology and digitalisation are a way for us to understand and cater to our customers.