- The pandemic has changed the way people shop, work and the nature of their social interaction.
- It has had a profound effect on businesses, which have had to configure their workforces and operations to cope with lockdowns and supply chain interruptions.
Each year, in the month of October, thousands of companies around the world celebrate Customer Service Week. This year, the international Customer Week theme is ‘The Dream Team’ while the local theme is ‘Championing Customer Convenience’.
Unlike previous years, this year’s global event takes place as the world is grappling with the effects of Covid-19. This pandemic has brought extended lockdowns, global uncertainties and sustained attention on health. All of these factors are rapidly reshaping customer behaviour.
The pandemic has changed the way people shop, work and the nature of their social interaction. It has had a profound effect on businesses, which have had to configure their workforces and operations to cope with lockdowns and supply chain interruptions.
In the banking sector, we have seen temporary branch closures and other measures introduced including the waiving of mobile-money transfer charges in order to encourage cashless payments. The use of cash is already in decline as contactless payment cards and smartphone payments gain in adoption.
Demand for branches has been falling fast as banking behaviour changes and consumers move increasingly to more convenient channels such as online and mobile banking. Today it is easier to manage money through your computer or an app on your phone.
Digital engagement has accelerated tremendously and leading companies have innovated quickly to complement traditional solutions. Technological disruptions have greatly affected the Kenyan financial services industry in recent years. Mobile money is by far the most significant.
Online banking has also gained popularity as most banks have aligned their business models to favour online channels as opposed to the traditional brick and mortar.
In championing customer convenience, banks have already began shifting the way they deliver products and services to consumers by investing heavily in technologies that delivers a delightful customer experience. The likelihood of customers choosing to interact with a bank online is heavily influenced by security and quality of experience the bank has created.
In the new normal, organisations will need to invest more in consumer research to be able to anticipate customer expectations and needs. Organisations must begin to invest more in data mining and modern technology in order to improve customer experiences. Organisations must understand customers’ trends better and move with speed to implement the next customer trend.
Additionally, customer needs and preferences are changing drastically thus the need to segment the customers to a “segment of one” and offer personalised services and products that will match an individual’s need.
This is because, every customer has an emotional component that is fulfilled whenever they receive a custom-made product or service as per their requirements and this makes them connect with an organisation or brand at a personal level.
Even as we move customer experience to the next level, we must be more human across those virtual channels. Business’s relationship with customers are built over time, nurtured by experiences, grounded in expectations and confirmed through frequent interactions.
The cycle for optimization of customer experiences is getting shorter. What was a remarkable customer experience 10 years ago, most likely may not appeal to customers today. As such, Covid-19 could prove a significant catalyst for the acceleration of the trends we’ve already been seeing.