Adapting Business Practices to Meet New Client Expectations
Regardless of your industry, you must work to meet client expectations as often as possible. Some of the fundamental principles of customer service are timeless, but the customer’s behaviors and expectations are ever-changing.
Companies have always faced challenges due to intense competition, but the pressure has only increased due to saturation. This can impact the growth of your business and how you present your products and services to your potential clients.
Businesses need to use creativity and innovation to provide top-tier customer service with the hopes of improving their bottom line. Whether that’s offering product improvements, new products, or shifting their marketing strategy, being agile will prove beneficial.
Below are some ways you can adapt your core business practices to suit the needs of your customer base so you can experience business growth and stay competitive in your industry.
Trends in Client Expectations in 2021
Some of the consumer expectation changes we’re seeing across various industries today directly result from the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s vital to acknowledge how the pandemic has impacted customer purchasing decisions and standard B2B business practices.
According to Salesforce research, 63% of clients expect businesses to understand their needs — and 76% of B2B businesses expect the same. How companies respond to a crisis, adapt to new business trends, and provide exceptional customer experiences play significant roles in how clients perceive them.
Here are some examples of trends in client expectations you should be aware of in 2021. Keep in mind that trends are always subject to change and may require you to adjust your marketing approach or general business practices accordingly.
Personalization is a Must
Clients are constantly seeking personalized business solutions to mitigate some of their most common problems. It’s essential for your company to offer custom experiences, whether it’s providing personalized product recommendations or connecting with your customers more often.
Gathering key data insights about your customers can help you take on the challenge of offering personalized service, no matter what industry you serve.
Digital Transformation is Accelerating
It’s no secret that the pandemic forced many businesses to make the digital transition — that could mean storing customer data in data warehouses or offering more payment options during transactions. For example, health became a primary concern for clients during the pandemic, and contactless payments became a common trend for businesses.
Staying on top of the latest digital trends for business will be necessary. Companies should be willing to experiment with new technologies to keep up with the digital acceleration many industries face.
E-Commerce is Growing in Popularity
E-commerce is nothing new, but it grew 44% in 2020, primarily due to the pandemic. Online spending made up 21.3% of total retail sales, and this trend will likely continue as time goes on. When more people spent the majority of their time indoors, it meant their time online also increased.
It’s become easier than ever to order products online and request services digitally, and businesses of all sizes have to adjust to this. Offering your customers more online purchasing opportunities will be necessary.
While these are only a few examples of client expectation trends, you may wonder how to adapt to meet these changing needs.
Meeting Current Client Expectations
Let’s explore some of the best practices when it comes to meeting client demand. Here are some suggestions on meeting your client’s expectations to improve your bottom line and expand your business’ reach moving forward.
1. Identify and Focus on Your Target Audience
Finding the group of potential clients most likely to purchase your products or services is essential in a competitive marketplace.
Conduct thorough market research to identify your target audience — analyze your position in your industry and understand how your most loyal customers perceive your brand.
Identifying and narrowing your target market could help you maximize your profit and capitalize on the most lucrative opportunities in the future.
2. Increase Accessibility and Prioritize Convenience
Clients are looking for simple, effortless transactions. Take convenient grocery delivery, for example. Rather than shopping in a grocery store, shoppers can order their items online and have them delivered straight to their door.
Regardless of the products or services you offer, providing multiple options for pickup using a buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS) model will bode well for your business.
Ordering items or requesting services online is becoming more common, and your business must accommodate this change.
3. Adopt and Promote a Spirit of Transparency
Suppose you’re in the business of selling used cars — you know how crucial it is to be honest about the history of the vehicles you plan on selling. It could make or break a potential sale if you fail to address any issues with the car upfront.
You want to prioritize honesty in all of your face-to-face and online business dealings to foster a positive relationship with your customers.
Being transparent is a business practice all employers should adopt — this also applies to keeping an open line of communication with your employees. No employee wants to be in the dark regarding their work, so ensure all team members are on the same page.
4. Offer High-Quality Client Support Services
There’s nothing more frustrating than being stuck on a customer support line for more than a few minutes. Clients want to feel valued, and by providing high-quality support services, you’re strengthening your relationship with them.
Surveys show that customers who have positive experiences with customer support are willing to spend more of their hard-earned money. You can meet this expectation by empowering your customer support staff and stress the importance of promoting a friendly, welcoming and helpful environment.
These are only a few ways you can meet changing client needs, but they’re also general business practices that are worth adopting. Consider these factors as we close out the end of the year.
Anticipate Future Client Expectations
While it’s challenging to predict what trends will emerge in the future, it’s vital to be open and willing to adopt new practices.
Stay on your toes when meeting client expectations and be flexible to maintain a competitive advantage in your industry. It will prove beneficial for your business and grow a loyal client base.