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Forbes: How 2020 Has Shaped Customer Experience, and What Lies Ahead

Heikki Väänänen | Founder, Exec. VP of Growth

 

In my latest Forbes article, I reflect on how the global pandemic has changed businesses attitudes towards customer experience, and in relation, reminded sectors of the value of customer feedback.

As a company, HappyOrNot proudly facilitates customer feedback for businesses in a variety of different sectors, from the transport industry to the retail sector. I had the pleasure of chatting to some of our customer’s about how customer habits and expectations are changing, and what observations have been noticed in their respective sectors.  

Retailers have been amongst the most hard hit during the pandemic, however with e-commerce enabling customers to take their shopping online, many have been able to keep their heads above water despite intermittent high-street closures. Randy Lambert, VP of Operations at Shoe Station, one of the U.S.’s largest independent shoe retailers, elaborating on how customer habits have changed significantly, reporting that “we have seen a lot less grazing in our stores and we find that people are coming in with a purpose”. 

Ultimately, this reduction of in-store browsing time is leaving many businesses second-guessing the thoughts and desires of their customers, and with the increase of e-commerce projected to grow by nearly 20% in 2020, the realization that an omnichannel overview of customer experience is a necessity has begun to hit home.   

As we optimistically look ahead to the next normal, I also explore what businesses will need to carefully consider when contemplating how  innovative and affordable resources can be utilized to boost their customer experience. Recently, technological advancements have made gathering real-time data extremely easy, meanwhile, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence have reduced the administrative task of packaging feedback data into actionable insights. This harnessing and applying of customer experience data will play a key role in a business’s future ability to compete commercially, as customers and clients reassess the wider retail landscape.

Moving forward, companies are beginning to greatly benefit from increased transparency with regards to their customer experience data. By opening up the findings from customer feedback to their customers and employees, organization can both communicate and demonstrate the value of constructive feedback provided by their customers. “I am a very firm believer that patient experience is tied to everything from clinical success to employee engagement,” says Katherine Salkanovic, Director of Patient Experience at Las Vegas-based Cure 4 The Kids Foundation 

As the partition between the digital and physical fades, monitoring and adapting to customer experience related feedback has become indispensable. As businesses around the world continue to evolve, they must ensure that customer experience does not fall by the wayside and instead, remains a top priority all year round.  

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