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By 17 June 2021 | Categories: news

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SAS, an analytics leader, has released its latest customer experience research, Experience 2030, which highlights that customers are set to increase their spending once vaccines have been rolled out. However, brands are not out of the woods yet, as over half (56%) of customers globally have switched providers during the pandemic, showing customer loyalty is diminishing.

According to the research, the resultant impacts of the pandemic will indefinitely change customer behaviour. Customers in South Africa, for example, have increasingly moved to digital channels over the last +16-months. 65% of all customers locally have indicated that they will not be returning to ‘normal’, with 37% of these saying that they will use even more online and digital apps than they do currently, and only 30% of all customers will revert to the same pre-pandemic balance of online and offline shopping habits.

When asked if they would increase their spending, globally nearly a fifth (19%) said they would, compared to just a tenth (10%) who said they would reduce spending once vaccines were available. However, some businesses could miss out on this increased expenditure – and low prices and special discounts alone will not be enough to prevent customers from switching brands.

The research found that nearly half (47%) of customers surveyed globally claimed that they would ditch a brand after just one or two poor experiences. Customers in South Africa are a bit more forgiving at 38%, which is among the lowest percentages in the region.  Though there can be no doubt that customers are following through with this threat, as while 81% of global respondents feel that the customer experience has improved since the pandemic started, one in two (56%) have nevertheless switched providers during the pandemic. In fact, while 23% confirmed to have switched providers for lower prices and better discounts elsewhere, 20% switched to a provider offering a simpler and easier to use online experience. Meanwhile, 16% switched for faster or more convenient delivery options and a further 13% changed providers due to a negative customer experience.

When asked to list their top three components of the customer experience, the research showed that globally:

  • 60% of customers see low prices and special discounts as a top three priority
  • 55% value convenience as a key component of the customer experience
  • 48% ranked companies that act fairly and responsibly as a top three priority, and
  • 46% cited good customer service over lockdown/s as a key area of the customer experience

While the majority (60%) of people consider low prices and special discounts to be a priority, the pandemic has ensured that price alone does not dictate customer behaviour. The findings above indicate other areas of the customer experience are rising in importance compared to price.

“The pandemic turned the world upside down and one of the clearest evidences of that is how the consumers’ priorities are changing. Agility of business process is a must and it imposes that the majority of B2C process chain should be moved to the digital realm where it’s much easier to adapt to constantly changing consumers’ expectations. To address this with a proper speed and accuracy businesses should consider a tight integration and deployment of analytics into digital channels as these are places where consumers would face convenience or bottlenecks,” says Radoslaw Grabiec, Customer Intelligence Practice Head for CEMEA at SAS.

To help businesses provide a more tailored customer experience, customers are now more willing to provide personal data to companies. A third (33%) of customers said they are more likely to share personal data with businesses now than they were before the pandemic, compared to 20% who are less likely to. A third of those people more likely to share their data also specified that they would do this in return for an improved customer experience.

However, companies must also take into consideration that customers’ awareness of fraud and data protection has risen significantly during the pandemic. 69% of respondents are now either more vigilant when it comes to fraud or have experienced it personally. In fact, 16% have personally experienced an increase in scam messages. Organisations therefore need advanced analytics to provide effective protection against fraud while still offering a seamless customer experience.

To find out more you can read the full report here.

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