Part 1 of the series, “Top Trends Impacting Midsize Businesses in the 2020s”
Customer expectations often come down to one word: instant gratification. Thanks to industry disrupters such as Amazon, consumers have become accustomed to a world where individual needs are met with one-click ordering, faster delivery, and extraordinary customer service.
Satisfying such a demanding environment can be an overwhelming task for a business of any size unless considerable changes are made. According to IDC, one trend that most midsize companies will soon consider is adjusting their business models to become more customer-centric. The analyst’s survey indicated that 55% of respondents will either embrace or begin to adopt experience-centric models by 2024 to deliver outcomes that matter most to their customers.
Customer trust outperforms instant gratification
People usually remain loyal to brands to which they feel connected. But building those relationships can mean very different things to different customers. Some prefer to purchase products instantly and share their thoughts directly on social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, or even Snapchat. Others desire a personalized shopping experience, whether through an e-commerce site or a local brick-and-mortar store.
No matter how “special” the connection, the red thread across all these channels is best summed up with one quality: trust.
For example, customers are focused on how products and services are sourced, produced, and delivered. Offerings that match the values of individual customers meaningfully – without compromise and frustration – are in high demand. And more importantly, people desire brands that openly provide information to prove their credibility, reliability, and sustainability.
And more importantly, addressing data privacy requirements and regulations will help your business gain a competitive advantage. Certainly, companies have no choice but to adhere to related regulations, unless they want to suffer from punishing fines and industry restrictions. Yet in the eyes of the customer, brands that consistently and compliantly create consent and protection of customer information will ultimately create long-term brand loyalty
Digitalization shapes a future of customer trust
Earning customer trust is a long, hard-won journey of consistent transparency, meaningful interactions, and reliable outcomes. Still, all it takes is one breach, misuse, or clandestine monetization of that relationship to ruin every connection made – destroying any hope of restoration.
The key to safeguarding midsize businesses from such perilous risks is the adoption of the right tools that can help analyze various types of data from an increasing multitude of information sources in real time. Doing so provides an intelligent core that enables three critical building blocks for customer trust.
1. Destruction of information silos
Democratized access and exchange of data across every single business system allows employees to tap into real-time insights that drive faster and more accurate responses to customer needs. In return, growing companies can improve decision-making and the delivery of outcomes and experiences that keep customers delighted and loyal.
2. Process transparency for all
A critical best practice for delivering outcomes that meet (or possibly exceed) expectations is allowing various organizations to work together. A comprehensive view into their customers’ history – from sales, service, and marketing to finance and the supply chain – allows employees to make decisions that turn isolated interactions into a well-rounded, informed, and meaningful experience.
3. Insights that are real-time, relevant, and actionable
Once data is democratized and processes are transparent, the next step is to acquire the analytics tools needed to turn information into insights that inspire and energize actions that matter most to customers. A predictive analytics model can help decision-makers identify optimal solutions to problem areas faster, support a responsive e-commerce framework, and automate repetitive and rule-based processes. Plus, frontline employees can obtain the forecasts they need to meet customer needs without delay.
The best customer experience is rooted in trust
Now more than ever, customer trust and the customer experience go hand-in-hand. Midsize companies that seize the opportunity to build trust are well-positioned to deliver authentic customer experiences that deliver as promised. And in the end, the brands that customers trust most will reap the ultimate rewards of advocate-like loyalty, market leadership, and revenue growth.
Discover how midsize companies are moving to become more customer-centric businesses. Listen to an excerpt from our webinar “Winning in the 2020s: Six Trends Every Midsize Needs to Know,” with Timo Elliott, Global Innovation Evangelist from SAP and guest speaker Shari Lava, Research Director Small and Medium Business at IDC.