Uncertainty is a word we can associate with 2020 and although we appear to be moving away from lockdown life in 2021, we are still in uncertain times! This has made people think twice before booking holidays, meeting friends, and taking to the shops. These changes in society have affected everyone’s daily lives and changed consumer expectations. 

Within this article we will look at consumer expectations in 2021, whilst highlighting 5 key areas businesses should be focusing on to meet consumer needs.

Value for Money

According to a survey from CallCare247 the key most important quality that encourages consumers to shop with a certain brand is ‘value for money’. However, since the pandemic people have been looking to prioritise happiness and to do this one must prioritise time over money. Which means the importance of customer service is moving up the rankings.

Customer Service

As mentioned above, customer service is an important factor for any business to consider if they want to be successful. However, customer service expectations can differ depending on where communication takes place. For example, when in-store new guidelines must be shared due to COVID and the way in which these are communicated to consumers can make a big difference. 

When speaking to a brand over the phone or via live chat guidelines are less of an issue but it has been found that many businesses are using the pandemic as an excuse for long hold and call back times.

Based on the above, to make a successful customer service strategy in 2021 the requirements must differ depending on the type of communication. When speaking to customers face-to-face one must remain calm, whilst considering the demographics and requirements of the individual customer.

When speaking over the telephone it would seem that ensuring short hold times is key, whilst live chat is all about a quick response. 

Consistent Messaging

Consumers can find inconsistent messaging frustrating, from incorrect pricing to each store or employee having different priorities – this does not translate well with customers especially after the uncertainty of 2020.

To avoid inconsistency, all stakeholders must understand the overall message and brand mission. As well as individuals, businesses must ensure in-store and online communications are consistent. This includes colour schemes, text communications and the way customers are treated when in-store.

The simplest way of enforcing a consistent message is to start from the top and treat employees the way you wish them to treat consumers. Ensuring all employees have access to company guidelines, brand guidelines and communication policies across platforms is also a good start.

Transparency

Transparency with consumers simply refers to being open and honest, which will build trust with your brand. The easiest way to be transparent is to be open, whether this means explaining why calls could not be taken at a certain time or the reasoning behind long hold times, a little honesty can go a long way.

Overall, it appears that consumers want to be treated as individuals rather than a group or commodity. The way in which brands can do this is by be open and honest, consistent in messaging and by providing invaluable customer service across platforms.