How Data Can Help You Understand Evolving Customer Expectations In The New Normal

How well do you understand your customers? Whether your brand is B2B or B2C, your customers expect seamless, omnichannel experiences. Especially during the Covid-19 crisis, customers expect brands to offer value, relevant products and services, and to grow with them as their needs evolve.

The pandemic has taught businesses that staying relevant in a time of crisis requires a deep, holistic understanding of the customer, and an openness to new ways of doing business. To stay ahead of such rapid change, customer intelligence and data is more important than ever. From remapping and re-creating customer journeys, to developing more accurate forecasting models, all businesses need a data and analytics strategy that allows everyone in the organization to see customers needs in real time and build scenarios, identify gaps, stress-test ideas and improve results with actionable insights.

Your customer is expecting you to lead, and it’s never been more important for your brand to address their pain points and deliver exceptional experiences.

Meeting the customer where they are

While the long-term economic and societal impacts of the pandemic are yet to be fully understood, customer attitudes and behaviors have already shifted in profound ways, and some of these changes are predicted to continue into the future. Recent consumer surveys reveal how rapidly behaviors are evolving:

  • 68% of people report that the pandemic has changed the products and services they think are important
  • 75% of people using digital channels for the first time will continue to do so
  • In Italy, e-commerce sales for consumer products rose 81% in a single week and in the UK, 20% of people say they won’t buy fashion in-store again

In the retail sector, the shift to online buying and direct-to-consumer selling, coupled with a decrease in discretionary spending and flat sales for net-new products, has forced businesses to change their business models overnight. Traditional B2B businesses like financial services organizations are not far behind, augmenting existing sales and service models so they can better serve customers remotely. In the healthcare sector, patients can now choose telehealth as a standard alternative to an in-person visit—and adoption has been swift: one of Europe’s largest telehealth providers, KRY International, has seen a 200 percent increase in registrations. Government agencies and educational institutions are also finding ways to deliver their services in a virtual world.

But meeting the customer “where they are” is not just smart business—it’s essential for survival. Business segments that aren’t responding to changing customer preferences by accelerating their own digital transformations will be left behind. And a central part of transformation includes prioritizing customer analytics.

In today’s competitive and uncertain market environment, your advantage lies in understanding what resonates with your customers. How businesses choose to respond will influence buying decisions today and in the future.

Goal: a complete picture of your customer

What kinds of customer experience metrics are valuable in order to gain understanding of your customer? To create baseline analyses, you need behavioral, transactional, and feedback metrics. And as Gartner points out, more frequent, real-time monitoring of customer metrics is essential during this crisis, since attitudes are changing so rapidly. Useful metrics include:

  • Customer satisfaction scores
  • Customer effort scores
  • Net promoter scores
  • Customer call volume and types of queries
  • Website behavior
  • Point-of-sale data
  • Geospatial data
  • Social media sentiment
  • Employee feedback

Every business, regardless of industry segment, should also expect to field new questions from customers about products, logistics, inventory, supply chain, and operations—and every business needs to be prepared to capture this feedback and respond.

01. Strategic Dashboard

Potential Users: C-Suite, VP, DirectorObjectives: At-a-glance cohesive data storyInsight Examples: Performance and comparison metrics tracked against enterprise goalsExample: Executive Summary dashboard

02. Tactical Dashboard

Potential Users: Analysts, Brand ManagersObjectives: Granular, in-depth analysesInsight Examples: Identify trends, monitor processes supporting strategic objectives, create targets and predictionsExample: E-commerce Marketing Optimization dashboard

03. Operational Dashboard

Potential Users: CRM Support Teams, Website Managers, Marketing ManagersObjectives: High-level, real-time monitoring and managementInsight Examples: Retail and customer satisfaction KPIs, marketing campaign performance, inventory statusExample: Store-level Product Availability dashboard

Know your customer, know your business

Things definitely look different now, and they are different. When every aspect of your operation is under scrutiny, you need information, quickly, to make the right decisions for your business and your customers. Understanding customers and their expectations has always been a priority for businesses looking to create competitive advantage, but the pandemic has proven that businesses must have an even stronger line of sight into what their customers need.

You need to be prepared to proactively respond to rapidly-evolving behaviors and perceptions. As David Leonhardt notes in a recent New York Times op-ed, “When the economy weakens, people have to make decisions about where to pull back.” By using data insights to understand and adapt to new realities, you can give your customers reasons to remain loyal and eliminate some of the uncertainty facing your business.

What untapped insights are waiting to be discovered in your customer data?

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Launching a Direct to Consumer Brand? Here Are the 8 Success Secrets

One of my favorite aspects of my job is helping founders bring their vision to life and launch their brands.  Yes, it’s absolutely exciting to work with a brand when they’re already established, but being in those first meetings developing a go-to-market strategy for a brand that’s so new you can still smell the adhesive on their package just hits different. You can hear the heart of the brand beat with every new headline, and watch the founding team grin from ear to ear with each product shot you present.

But all that excitement tends to get matched with the anxiety of a successful launch. There have been months if not years of research and development, trial and error, and highs and lows that lead up to the moment that everything goes live. Everyone’s standing by waiting to see just how well the brand is received — and if people will actually buy it.

Over the last few years, I’ve learned a thing or two about launching brands and products, helping startups get their legs and well-established brands get to acquisition. And although there are many different strategies to get a brand off the ground, there are some things that I believe are essential to a successful launch.

Related: 10 Skills to Master Before Launching a New Business

Identify your ideal customer

The most successful brands know exactly who they are, what makes them appealing, and most importantly who will care. If you’re thinking your brand is for everyone — and it might be true — your messaging can’t be for everyone. Of course, understanding your target demographic is a foundational strategy, but let’s take that a few steps further. Name your ideal customer, understand their pain point, define which other brands they might be loyal to, and create your messaging specific that person in all of your marketing initiatives. It seems pretty basic, but too often do we see brands that fail to connect with an audience because of copy that doesn’t connect to an individual. 

Activate social and collect data

One of our most successful launches was Winged Wellness, a female-focused lifestyle brand.  We strategically activated our social campaign 3 months before the projected launch date to begin growing an audience on social channels with our female-empowerment quote cards and lifestyle images (we didn’t actually have the final product yet) and drive traffic to the brand’s landing page. Why were we driving traffic to the site with nothing to sell? So we could start creating custom audience data for social ads later down the road.

Create a pre-launch interest list

Speaking of driving traffic to your website pre-launch, it’s a good idea to start building your email-interest list for a successful launch date. I’d much rather be reminding consumers about a brand the day that I’m ready to sell my products than be introducing the brand. Keep your interest list engaged before your launch by planning a newsletter sequence highlighting your progress, and “alternative” solutions to the problem that your brand will be solving. For example, if you’re launching a skin-care brand, consider sharing content on food that might help someone’s complexion.

Pro-Tip: Consider a pre-order campaign so you can gauge how much inventory you’ll need to have on hand the day of launch. 

Related: Effective Email Strategies for Startups Marketing on a Budget

Prepare your influencer marketing blitz

Look, I get it. You might be burned out on the idea of working with influencers but at the end of the day, you’re getting reach, targeted engagement, testimonials and really great lifestyle content with each one of your partnerships. The trick is to be strategic about who you’re partnering with. Take a look at who’s following them, the sincerity in their engagement, how often they’ve partnered with other brands and what their audience interested in by using a 3rd party data aggregator.  Please do not just spray and pray based on follower counts — by planning your influencer partnerships as you would any other aspect of your go-to-market strategy, you’ll give yourself the best shot of making them a profitable arm of your marketing campaign.

Related: 4 Influencer Marketing Secrets Entrepreneurs Need to Know

Be strategic about social ads

Since you were already going to be launching social ads, here are a few pointers: start your prospecting with broader targeting optimized for traffic to gather your interest data before remarketing with your offers, ideally before the launch of your product. Think of it like how movies gain interest for their launches. Trailers are launched months, if not a year, ahead of time stating “Coming Next Summer,” getting audiences hyped and thus helping the movie have a big opening weekend. One of the big mistakes I constantly see is brands launching ads optimized for conversion to cold audiences. That’s a sure way to get your metaphorical movie to flop on its opening day. 

Do consider the press

You might be thinking that PR is a thing of the past, but a few of our managed brands depend on press releases for a quick hit of massive reach and establishing themselves as a leader in the industry. And each time a brand gets a good press-hit, there’s almost an immediate spike in sales. Nothing screams “must-have” like “As Featured On…”.  But don’t worry, you don’t have to get on Allure’s Reader’s Choice list to make a meaningful impact on your launch. Even a mention in a trust-worthy digital publication can give your brand the reach and credibility to convert readers into loyal customers.

Get your feedback as soon as possible

Once your product finally gets in the hands of your customers, be sure to ask them for a review on your website as soon as possible. In fact, it might be a good idea to leverage package inserts to help remind your customers to give you some love on your site, if not through an automated, product-specific email upon delivery. During your launch phases, reviews on product pages can be especially useful in increasing visitors’ intent to buy and decreasing your initial cost-per-acquisition through paid traffic. A study by Spiegel Research Center shows that the purchase likelihood of products with five reviews is 270% greater than the purchase likelihood of a product with no reviews.

Think: retention

Getting your first customers is just the beginning of their story with you. After working with numerous founders who know something about DTC launches, the focus of conversations as of late have been about customer acquisition cost (CAC) and return on ad spend (ROAS), which in my opinion have effectively become the buzzwords of 2020 digital marketing. And while these metrics are essential to consider, I’d venture to say that improving your customer’s lifetime value (LTV) is even more crucial. Think about it, the cost of acquiring a customer bites deep into your profit margins, so repeat purchases and cross-selling are critical to your business’s overall profitability.

So how do you do that? You can begin with email campaigns that reinforce the use of your product like Truff does by regularly sharing recipes that go well with their truffle-infused hot sauce. Creating exclusive Facebook groups and cultivating an engaged community that experiences your brand through webinars, Q&As or panels is another way to keep your customers in your eco-system. And of course, don’t forget that a great brand starts with a great product.

By: Mikhail Alfon / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

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Discover The 4 Practices a Salesforce Vet Uses To Connect With Customers as This Crisis Pulls Us Apart

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My job is to ensure every customer gets the most value out of Salesforce, but my passion is establishing and building trust. As the Chief Adoption Officer, I spend more than half my time meeting with customers all around the world. It’s that face-to-face interaction that helps me help them.

On any given day, I’m landing in a new city with a packed schedule, shuffling from plane to car to client meeting to hotel and then back the other way. That all changed overnight.

As worries over the coronavirus escalated, out of an abundance of caution, Salesforce asked many of us to start working from home. I went from knowing where I was going to be every single day for the next four months to scrambling to set up my next meeting… over video.

So what should sales leaders do to deepen our connection with customers during a time when digital communication becomes the form of communication? What do we tell our teams when they’re cooped up at home? And how do we be there for our people without physically being there?

Below are a few practices I’ve implemented these past few weeks to maintain strong customer relationships and build new ones, even while I’m not out on the road. I hope that by sharing, you too will be able to strengthen your bonds during these trying times.

1. Listen to your team

Let’s be realistic. Your team members aren’t going to be thinking about how they can help their customers if they’re worried about what’s happening at home.

First and foremost, focus on building an inclusive, empathetic culture from the top down. Your team is watching to see how you react. Show them you care. Open up a team call or one-on-one with a personal story and invite them to share their own.  Then probe deeper: How can I help? What boundaries can I respect? What are the things we should all agree on as a team?

One of the first things I did at home was organize a call twice a week with my team just to talk. This led us to create a Quip doc, where we could collect our thoughts and share what we’ve learned. You can also try inviting people to virtual happy hour. You’d be surprised to find how nice it feels – even when it’s just 15 minutes in front of a webcam.

At Salesforce, we’re helping our employees redefine their work through a variety of tools and channels – but no matter what technology you have at your disposal, every leader can be empathetic and listen. That creates team members who are ready to do the same.

2. Listen to your customers

Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This is a time for deep listening. It’s important now more than ever. Remind your teams to really hear what their customers are concerned about and to show that they’re really there for them.

How do you do this? Set up a virtual coffee. Talk about what they’re facing. Brainstorm how to work together. Propose ideas that could solve their problems now.

bestmining5

One customer recently told us they needed an emergency preparedness portal to communicate with their customers. Our team turned around a prototype in two days. That customer may or may not ultimately sign a deal with us, but they’ll remember we helped them when they needed it most.

While many things feel uncertain right now, people still need to do business. Contracts are still being written. And pain points still need to be solved. Listen to your customers with empathy, and you’ll end up creating true value for them.

3. Be mindful of customers’ time

Building relationships is a fundamental part of sales and customer success. Of course, treating a prospect to dinner isn’t possible right now.

Sometimes, the best way to show respect is to be mindful of your customers’ time. Don’t let small talk overstay its welcome. Keep agendas tight and focused so your customers can get back to their work and home priorities.

If a customer made time to meet with you, treat the meeting start time like a covenant. Take careful notes, send follow-ups, and, again, focus on how you can help.

4. Learn together

Quite frankly, I don’t have all the answers. But here’s one thing that’s true no matter the situation: We are stronger when we work together, when we double down on our relationships and our community (or Ohana, as we like to call it at Salesforce).

This month, in response to the coronavirus, we hosted our very first online only World Tour, an event that normally brings our customers physically together for a day of learning and networking. We had 10 days to pivot.

When we were transparent with our customers about the switch to digital, we received an outpouring of support. While we were dealing with our new virtual reality, so were our customers. Together, we came out the other side – better than ever.

How are you managing customer relationships while working remotely? I’d love to see what you and your teams have come up with. Reach out to us on @salesforce and share what you’ve learned.

And if you’re looking for more inspiration on how to work remotely, check out this Trailhead module on virtual collaboration.

Our Leading Through Change series provides thought leadership, tips, and resources to help business leaders manage through crisis. Check out some of our most recent articles:

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Cyber Monday 2019 By The Numbers: A Record $9.4 Billion Haul

Topline: With the busy holiday shopping season well under way, Cyber Monday raked in a new record of more than $9 billion in sales, marking the first day in history when consumers spent over $3 billion using their smartphones, the latest report from Adobe Analytics shows.

  • Total sales hit $9.4 billion—up nearly 19% from a $7.9 billion haul last year, according to Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions from a majority of top U.S. online retailers. That’s bigger than both Black Friday ($7.4 billion) and Amazon Prime Day ($4.2 billion last year).
  • As shoppers increasingly move to digital rather than in-person spending, online sales via smartphones grew 46% from last year, accounting for 33% of all Cyber Monday sales in 2019—at a new record of $3 billion, according to Adobe Analytics data.
  • During the peak hour of shopping between 11:00 p.m. ET and midnight, consumers spent $11 million on average every minute, Adobe said.
  • The top-selling products on Monday included Frozen 2 toys, the Nintendo Switch, VR devices, Samsung TVs, LOL Surprise Dolls, Apple laptops, NERF products and video games like Madden 20 and Jedi Fallen Order, Adobe’s report shows.
  • With more competition among retailers than ever, the report also highlights the 41% growth of BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store) services this year, as shoppers increasingly looked for maximum convenience and time saving.
  • “Customers increasingly have a bigger basket of fulfillment options,” points out Morningstar analyst Zain Akbari, with more large retailers like Walmart and Target increasingly competing to offer cheaper and more efficient pickup or delivery services.

Big number: As of December 3, the holiday season has generated a record $81.5 billion in total online sales so far, Adobe Analytics data shows. Overall holiday spending for 2019 is predicted to hit $143.8 billion, compared with $126 billion last year.

Today In: Money

Crucial quote: “Retailers unlocked sales earlier to combat a shorter shopping season, while continuing to drive up promotion of the big branded days including Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” said John Copeland, head of marketing and consumer insights at Adobe. “Consumers capitalized on deals and ramped up spending, especially on smartphones, where activity increased on days when shoppers were snowed or rained in.”

Tangent: While Cyber Monday saw the best deals on televisions, with average savings of more than 19%, December 27 will be the day with the biggest discounts on electronics (27%), according to Adobe’s findings.

Surprising Fact: U.S. shoppers will on average each spend $637 this holiday season, according to Accenture’s annual Holiday Shopping Survey.

Further Reading: Here’s What Not To Buy On Black Friday, According To Experts (Sergei Klebnikov)

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.

I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes, covering breaking news—with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I’ve reported at Money Magazine, The Villager NYC, and The East Hampton Star. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at sklebnikov@forbes.com

Source: Cyber Monday 2019 By The Numbers: A Record $9.4 Billion Haul

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Big-box stores including Target and Kohl’s are offering massive discounts on items such as Instapots, Roombas and doorbuster deals online. WATCH THE FULL EPISODES OF ‘WORLD NEWS TONIGHT’: https://bit.ly/2P5Snrx WATCH OTHER FULL EPISODES OF WORLD NEWS TONIGHT: http://abc.go.com/shows/world-news-to… WATCH WORLD NEWS TONIGHT ON HULU: https://hulu.tv/33iKepm #WorldNewsTonight #DavidMuir #CyberMonday #HolidayShopping

 

The 10 Most Customer Focused Companies In Asia -Blake Morgan

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All over the world customers are king. But it’s especially true in Asia. Customers in Asia are unlike any others in the world. They tend to be more connected to their mobile devices and are eager to spend and connect with brands. Many of the most successful companies are those that are completely focused on their customers. Here are 10 of the most customer-focused companies in Asia. Customers are front and center at Singapore-based DBS Bank. The company has a Customer Experience Council, chaired by the CEO, which proactively anticipates and addresses customer needs……………

 

 

 

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5 Powerful Examples Of Social Media Customer Care – Alina Gorbatch

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Social media customer care doesn’t sound like something worth an entire article. After all, social media has been with us for a while. We know that customer care is important, we have business pages on multiple platforms, we reply to messages and direct tweets, solve tickets, and gradually forget how to use a phone. What else is there to do? Unfortunately, it turns out that most of us don’t do even that. Social media customer care suffers from a sheer lack of attention. Research shows that brands reply to only 11% of customers…….

Read more: https://www.jeffbullas.com/social-media-customer-care/

 

 

 

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Why Customer Service Is Important To The Success Of Your Business – Salesforce

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Great customer support drives an amazing customer experience, especially when your support team moves beyond just reacting to problems and toward anticipating customers’ problems. When support agents are empowered to go above-and-beyond with customers, or have a help desk solution that makes it easy for them to upsell or cross-sell relevant services, they can create winning experiences that help you stand out from the competition……

Read more: https://www.salesforce.com/products/service-cloud/what-is-customer-service/?d=7010M000000uOnuQAE&ban=US_Pocket&dclid=CLD6rPvTnN4CFQFODAodGZsAwg

 

 

 

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Captipic Enhancement – The First Power of Persuasion Personalisation That Brings Real Customers To your Business

You are now able to send personalized images to ANY of your leads, subscribers and customers, either on your website or via email. But, if you’re already impressed with Capticpic, get ready to be WOWED. Let’s face it, as most of us are staring at our various screens for several hours a day, we’ve got used to seeing most standard fonts. We’re even become savvy to the more stylized fonts that mimic handwriting. Imagine the look on your leads, subscribers or customers’ faces when you send them to a link on your website, or you send them an email, and they see a handwritten message, just for them……

Read more: http://sales.captipic.com/oto-1-v1/

Captipic Enhancement – The First Power of Persuasion Personalisation That Brings Real Customers To your Business

Imagine the look on your leads, subscribers or customers’ faces when you send them to a link on your website, or you send them an email, and they see a handwritten message, just for them. This really is on another level. What the Capticpic team are allowing you to do is, not only hand you THE way to grab attention, build engagement and rapport in 2018, they’re future-proofing your marketing campaigns! NO ONE else is doing this online. What you are witnessing here is the future of personalisation. This is what marketers will be doing in 5 years’ time.

The Unity Suite -Our “TUS is” the ultimate way to grow your reach when it comes to the names being captured for the future of your personalisation! Imagine being to tap in as a collective as Captipic harvests ALL users names and allows every Unity member to use it on auto pilot. send personalized images to ANY of your leads, subscribers and customers, either on your website or via email…….

Read more: http://sales.captipic.com/oto-1-v1/

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Despite the fact that there are millions of businesses out there begging for what you have already to sell them. Did you know that over 70% of new business leads never even receive a follow up from their approach? That’s real money being left on the table. Discover isn’t just a lead generation too. Becomes a Private Investigator – telling you the holes in your lead’s marketing – so you can immediately jump in with your product or service and offer them the EXACT solution they need and charge them handsomely for it.

Adds all of your new leads to your chosen autoresponder, CRM or webinar platform AND does all of the selling for you, firing off emails automatically whilst you sleep. With Discover, you can contact 100% of your leads EVERY TIME. Without struggling to find the time, without having to be faced with 100 No’s for every Yes And without EVER missing a lead or a sale. Ever Again…..

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