Consumer Behavior, Customer Engagement and the New Normal

In 1943, Abraham Maslow presented a theory on human motivation, entitled “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” The theory is visually represented through a hierarchical pyramid form that shows the order in which human needs must be met. Businesses around the world have adopted it as a means of marketing to — and servicing — customers. If there’s a time when we need to understand Maslow’s pyramid and how it relates to customer engagement, it’s now.

The COVID-19 pandemic has knocked everyone down to the bottom of the pyramid, forcing us to ask ourselves: What do we need until we can get back to our new normal? As shown below, human motivations drastically shift in times of turmoil — from focusing on higher-level needs like taking that yearly vacation to simply surviving. When markets are in a steady state, the lower funnel is fulfilled, allowing us to focus on upper-funnel actualization. But when COVID-19 hit, our ability to actualize bottom-funnel needs became dire. And this means that businesses must adjust their customer engagement strategy.












Understand Your Customer Relationship

You need to truly ask yourself what your customers need from you today — and what they’ll need  tomorrow. The decisions you make today will affect your business continuity tomorrow. For some, your customers will need constant engagement; they need to know their basic needs, such as maintaining power or water to their homes, are being met. For others, you might need to alert customers to changes in policies or store hours. However, both are crucial to your long-term success. Why – customer loyalty.

Customer loyalty begins by understanding your customer and having empathy. And customer journey analytics is your key to achieving both. You need to adapt to where your customers are. Depending on your industry, regional stage of the crisis and even product offering, customer behavior will tell you what interaction touchpoint they’re craving. That’s your opportunity to differentiate your organization by providing an exceptional experience delivered at the right time — and in the right way.

Drive Customer Loyalty With an Effective Customer Engagement Plan

With fewer new customers in sight, take even better care of the ones you already have. Once you understand what your customers need from you, give them that information quickly. For example, many of us have memberships that we can no longer take advantage of. I was pleasantly surprised when I called my local gym to hear the main message on their IVR telling me all membership fees had been paused until further notice. That’s just one of the many ways you can provide customers the information they need.

Use analytics and AI to evaluate the common questions or concerns your customers have. Then, implement them across your channels by updating an FAQ page, updating your IVR, or sending an outbound email or SMS directly addressing those questions. Your customers might not like the answers you provide, but they will trust you with providing clarity when it was needed most. Consumers that trust brands are more likely to stick around when the dust settles.

What Happens When the Dust Settles

From Bain to Accenture to McKinsey, everyone agrees that we’ve fast forwarded the digital contactless customer engagement era. Now, companies are under pressure to make the transition to a contact center that can handle the shifts in not only consumer behavior but employee management. We don’t know wholeheartedly what the future holds, but we do know that the world will be different. We’ll be different employees, different consumers — and that means we’ll have to be different businesses.

“Adoption of digital by those yet to do so will be accelerated and a reduction of the obstacles to going virtual for any sort of experience will be required. Winners will be those who test and explore all of the associated creative possibilities. Anything that can be done virtually will be.”
– Accenture

Join us on May 20th at Virtual Xperience to hear how to transform your customer engagement strategy to take on the new normal. We’ll cover how some Genesys customers have shifted their engagement strategy and what you can do to get your contact center “crisis-ready.” We look forward to seeing you, virtually, on May 20th. Register today.