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What does customer engagement look like post-pandemic?

Disruption caused by the pandemic has seen many businesses shift in the way they operate. Customer behaviour has changed too, and this requires another pivot - to meet new customer expectations.
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Image source: Getty

Business enablers xneelo have some advice for engaging with customers in a changing world.

Covid-19’s effect on customer engagement

Over the last two years there has been a shift in how customers engage with businesses. Nowadays, customers expect simple, fast service with the same excellent customer experience they’re used to. Spend time reviewing your website user experience and identify areas you can improve.

Word of mouth has also become more important than ever. With health and safety concerns at the forefront, customers tend to trust recommendations from family and friends over marketing messages. You’re likely to feel more confident buying from a brand your friend has had a positive experience with compared to a sponsored post on social media. According to a report by Merkle, only 24% of consumers still feel motivated by influencer and celebrity endorsements.

Identify moments in the user journey where you can ask for feedback to find out what your customers really want.

A post-pandemic outlook

A recent trends forecast by Deloitte Insights suggests brands take a hybrid approach to the customer experience – incorporating human-centric design in digital environments. This involves identifying changing customer preferences and creating an integrated approach to meet that need. 40% of executives who have invested in the hybrid approach believe it has helped customers feel more connected to their brand.

A few ways to incorporate a hybrid approach with digital experiences include:

  • Personalising experiences
  • Using customers’ preferred communication channels (Gartner predicts that by 2026, 60% of customers will prefer transacting on social platforms.)
  • Implementing a rapid feedback model
  • Creating a cohesive experience for customers
  • Giving customers more choice over how they wish to transact and engage

ever underestimate the power of convenience. Supercharge the customer experience by embracing artificial intelligence (AI). Chatbots, for example, can be used to engage customers quickly, predict their behaviour, and provide them with relevant information on the spot.

Post-pandemic growth depends on successfully engaging customers and providing them with the experiences they expect. According to Zendesk, over 60% of consumers say that last year’s crisis raised the standard for customer service, but 54% feel that organisations still consider it an afterthought.

Adapting to change: the time is always now

Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “Change is the only constant in life”. If there’s one important lesson we can all learn from the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s always being ready for change. Businesses – large and small – across the world were forced to adapt, and fast.

Brik Cafe Rosebank was forced to stop trading when lockdown restrictions were imposed. They had to pivot to remain in business and went from serving diners to delivering curated food boxes.

Another business that transformed to meet new customer expectations was SWEAT1000, a private gym with studios in Cape Town and Joburg. They launched an app in May 2020 – people could either buy workout programmes or join a live online class. Changing their business model not only kept them going, but also gave them the opportunity to reach new clients across the country.

Be prepared to pivot – changing the direction of your business the moment you realise what you currently offer (services or products) no longer meet your customers’ needs. You’re not going to be able to control everything that happens but you can learn to change your mindset. Simply asking “what can I take responsibility for and do something about?” gives you a better feeling of control over possible change.

2022 might see some return to normal. But don’t get too comfortable. Learn to embrace change and continue to find new ways to excite and engage with your customers.

For more advice on how to succeed in the digital space or to start your own online journey today, visit

24 Feb 2022 11:17