These are days of change; change in our personal lives and change within our businesses. As we watch people make the necessary changes to ensure the safety of their friends and family, we watch businesses make the changes necessary to continue operations.
The effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic are going to take time to materialize, yet change is happening today. Distribution channels have been disrupted, services are being paused, and customer engagement is scarce. So, what is a company supposed to do? The company is supposed to change! Adapting to the situation is what we do in our personal lives, so why is it so hard to do with our business?
You can call it evolving, adapting, changing, adjusting, or even shifting direction. The word you use to describe what must be done does not matter. What matters is that you do something different to meet the needs of your new consumer.
I feel like the “New Consumer” approach scares a lot of businesses, and it should. But it should also make you excited. You must realize that during this time people are developing new habits, new points of view, and new behaviors. Habits and comfort are no longer attributes your company can rely on. Your current customers have new priorities, new goals, and new habits.
Allow me to dive a little deeper into the” New Consumer” approach. Your new consumer does not necessarily mean a customer you have never interacted with before. It does not mean that your old or current customers are gone. It simply means that you have a new opportunity to engage and deliver outstanding service. You have an opportunity to evolve and grow your existing client base, as well as reengaging with a consumer who may have had an unpleasant experience in the past or a consumer who was loyal to another brand.
Ask yourself, how do you want to communicate with your customers? More importantly, how do your customers want you to communicate with them? The first step of great customer service is communication. Have you ever experienced a process with a company that did not provide the exact product or service that you wanted or was more expensive? But you really wanted to use them because they were easy to work with or they had excellent communication skills? Where they went above–and–beyond? That is exactly what we are talking about when we discuss your “New Consumer.” Consumers have a set of new expectations and these new expectations must be met. The brand loyalty that they once had may or may not still be there. The communication in which we did business before is not going to suffice moving forward. Companies are finding that using video conferencing is just as effective, if not more effective, than the way they did it before. Before, you would set up meetings and you would have to take into consideration the amount of time that was involved with a traditional meeting. Video conferencing tools have not only become mainstream, they have become a direction in which companies are now communicating with clients. This is an example of paying attention to the new consumer approach.
The New Consumer approach is a simple approach; treat your customers as you would if they were new. Get to know them again, take the time to learn from them. Understand that they are having to adjust to a new normal, just like you and your business are. Your customers will always tell you what they think. They tell you by simply buying or not and by which services or products they interact with. Pay attention to the actions and reactions of your customer and you will receive all the feedback you are looking for. Treat each customer as if they were a “New Customer.” Because starting today, they are.