Demographics, fluctuating economics, and consumer preferences are changing rapidly, and keeping up with customer demands is becoming more challenging. Including rising incomes, middle-class bulges, ageing populations, and next-generation millennials that are reshaping the customer base around the globe. This has created a burdensome scenario for marketers faced with ensuring their brands can confidently navigate through the turmoil and find smart solutions to satisfy ever-changing customer expectations.
The events of the past few years have already given customer experience teams plenty of reasons to be on their toes. Unfortunately, as if a pandemic wasn’t enough for many organizations and brands to contend with, Australia is now about to witness a 32-year high of 7.3 percent inflation, with other regions and countries also enduring the problem to some extent*. To combat this challenge, providing a seamless customer experience is the key. A remarkable customer experience is critical to the sustained growth of any business. Positive and proactive customer experiences promote loyalty, help brands retain customers, and encourage brand advocacy.
How Inflation is Affecting Customer Expectations
The rising cost of living has resulted in customers demanding more value for their money, especially as prices rise with inflation. Customers have high expectations for all the goods, services, and brands they deal with and want a smooth, simple transaction process. Consumers also tend to change what they need to buy based on what’s on sale because different items may be on sale at different times. An example is a customer buying store-brand items instead of top-tier brand items. Thereby, sales of private-label brands typically rise along with inflation.
There are several forces affecting customer experience during inflation, such as reduced customer spending power, increased prices, and the need to cut business costs. As a result, it is critical that brands implement a variety of strategies and practices in order to survive.
Key tips for businesses to tackle the threat that inflation poses
Customers’ expectations from brands are changing, and brands must adapt to them. While many businesses and organizations seek out short-term solutions in trying times to safeguard their position in the market, and these are usually to their advantage, occasionally they are to the detriment of the customer.
But how can you handle that from the perspective of CX? In my opinion, there are several crucial considerations to make:
i) Brands ought to be honest about their standing
Companies must be honest with their customers about their situation. Be upfront about the reasons behind the price hike. This will create a sense of trust between the customer and the brand
ii) Brands need to exercise proactive measures to build and maintain transparent relationships
Never “surprise” customers with a price increase; instead, inform them prior and be transparent in your communication about the reasons why so that they can be well-prepared in advance.
iii) Inform your team about the objective
This one is frequently forgotten, yet your floor staff will encounter several complaints and inquiries over the price hike. Therefore, it is imperative that brands have internal discussions with their ground staff so that they are able to tackle the customers’ queries efficiently.
iv) Improving customer experience can assist a business amidst inflation
Brands with proactive customer experience initiatives will have a better chance of reaching out to concerned customers and helping them manage in tumultuous economic climates. Businesses need to design an action plan and be prepared to provide assistance and support to their customers in order to achieve a fantastic customer experience (CX) program. This will help customers see that the company values them and is prepared to go above and beyond in trying circumstances. By doing this, companies may forge enduring bonds with their clients that will go far beyond the current economic downturn.
The crux of CX is whether a person is prepared to risk short-term harm in order to foster long-term trust. This is a necessary step as other businesses are also attempting to minimize expenses and more importantly, customers are currently cutting costs too. The prime challenge in hand is to establish the company’s worth and indispensability so that stakeholders do not eliminate your company from their budget.