Salesforce has released the fourth edition of its State of the Connected Customer report which reveals that while a string of crises has affected all facets of life, including a fundamental shift in how customers connect with brands, factors like empathy, personalization, convenience, and digital transformation are the keys to customer relationships. As these same customers reevaluate the role of business in society, the notion of stakeholder capitalism is increasingly factored into purchase decisions.
“Amid the ‘new normal’ business environment, the UAE continues to lead digital business innovation – with 91 percent of UAE customers expecting their companies to go digital – and that the companies will take on a larger societal role,” Thierry Nicault, Regional Vice-President, Middle East and Africa, Salesforce. “UAE customers are doubling their online interactions, which is requiring organizations to listen and respond to customers with empathy and understanding. Organizations that connect customers at various touchpoints can become more resilient, enhance their growth, and deliver innovative products and services.”
The global report captures insights from over 15,000 consumers and business buyers across 27 countries, including 650 respondents from the United Arab Emirates, to help companies transform how they drive customer success. The research examines survey results across four generations of customers: baby boomers, Gen Xers, millennials, and Gen Zers.
The key trends revealed in this year’s State of the Connected Customer show:
● Customer Connections Are Essential Amid Crises
The events of this year have upended the relationships between customers and brands. During a time when uncertainty and confusion reign, brands have an opportunity to reinforce and rebuild trust with new and loyal customers alike. In the UAE, 93% of customers say how a company acts during a crisis demonstrates its trustworthiness.
● Understanding and Convenience Drive Differentiation
As each individual navigates change and uncertainty, empathy for and support of customers’ unique needs, expectations, and challenges are as critical, as is providing a convenient, connected experience that eliminates unnecessary burdens in a stressful time. In the UAE, 45% of customers say it generally feels like sales, service, and marketing don’t share information.
● The Digital Imperative Hits Its Moment of Truth
Digital-first behaviour is here to stay as customers develop new habits that will last for the long term. As digital engagement grows, customers expect companies to digitize their operations for multichannel, high-touch interactions. This relies in no small part on the use of personal information, and customers are calling for enhanced transparency and stewardship. In the UAE, 81% of customers say that COVID-19 has elevated their expectation of digital capabilities.
● Customers Demand That Brands Demonstrate Their Values
Long-overdue reckonings with social, economic, and ecological ills have come to the fore, and society is calling on businesses to do their part in righting wrongs. A failure to heed responsibilities to more than shareholders threatens bottom lines. In the UAE, 91% of customers say the societal role of companies is changing.
Companies seeking to differentiate themselves are wise to look beyond their immediate competition and evaluate how their capabilities stack up against other industries. Globally, 62% of consumers say their experiences with one industry influence their expectations of others.