What Businesses Need to Know About How Customers are Changing

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One of the keys to running a successful business is getting to know what customers want and responding quickly to meet their demands. While it may sound simple in principle, in practice it’s a far more difficult goal to achieve. Part of the reason for this is consumers change over time, sometimes rapidly and in unexpected ways. What worked with customers a decade ago might not be so effective now. This is one of the biggest struggles businesses have to deal with today. Luckily, with the right preparation and technology, companies can put themselves in the position to change up their own approach by discovering what consumers expect. Pinpointing these trends can definitely give a business a significant advantage over their competitors. Here are just a few ways customers are changing that businesses should know about.

If one word can best describe the modern consumer, that word would be “pragmatic.” Today’s shoppers identify the problems that they’re currently having and specifically look for products and services that will solve those problems. That means consumers are much more willing to take a pragmatic approach to their shopping by doing extensive research before making a purchase. The rise of social media and mobile devices has made this easier than ever before. Businesses that gear the marketing of their products toward their problem-solving potential will find the responses more positive. In other words, today’s customers aren’t as easily swayed by emotional appeals like they have been in years past. Businesses also better be able to follow up on their promises or suffer the wrath of a unsatisfied customer.

In fact, a high degree of satisfaction or unhappiness ties directly into another way customers are changing. Many are much more willing to give their own reviews, and with social media now appearing everywhere, it’s easy for word of mouth to spread at a blistering pace. Part of this is due to a different mindset that many consumers now possess. While traditionally people have been brand consumers, as social media grows in power, customers are turning more and more into brand advocates. Many people become so attached to certain brands that they will freely laud the products they purchase from specific companies. This extends into the realm of online reviews, and while a bad review can be damaging, having any reviews at all can be seen as a net positive for businesses. According to a recent study, the more reviews a product or service gets, the more sales conversions end up happening. Organizations would be wise to leverage this fact and encourage consumers to write reviews and become brand advocates.

All of these different factors that are inspiring customers to change largely come as a consequence of the advances in technology like mobile devices and the internet. That’s why customers expect businesses to keep pace by making any shopping experience the same across whatever channel they choose to use. For example, buying a movie from a smartphone should be exactly the same as if the customer were in-store. By allowing customers to move between channels without difficulty, the shopping experience becomes easier. That also means the same policies one would find in a brick and mortar location would still apply online and vice-versa. As customers become more attached to their mobile devices through helpful apps and BYOD policies, any business that ignores the phenomenon will likely encounter unhappy consumers.

Above all else, customers desire a business that is authentic. This is especially true for younger generations who are mostly skeptical when they’re being sold to. An authentic company is one that practices transparency, honesty, and credibility. Customers now want businesses to respond to their complaints instantly with genuine concern. The more authentic a business is, the more loyal customers will become. It’s up to companies to build that trust through their policies and customer relations. Fail in this category and word will spread quickly while a business’s reputation becomes tarnished.

There are many more things businesses can do to understand their changing customers. Some analyze information from clickstream data to get to know why customers behave certain ways. Others put a lot of stock into social listening. Either way, the business that responds well to how customers are changing will be ready to capitalize on a more receptive market. As companies grab hold of rapidly evolving technological capabilities, they’ll find themselves in a good position to be successful for many years to come.

Rick Delgado
Freelance Writer
I've been blessed to have a successful career and have recently taken a step back to pursue my passion of writing. I've started doing freelance writing and I love to write about new technologies and how it can help us and our planet. I also occasionally write for tech companies like Dell.

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