72% of business interaction will now be online

Published November 4, 2020, 5:30 AM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

In a socially-distanced world, Filipino customers expect 72 percent of their interaction with businesses will take place online in this pandemic year, almost double, from 40 percent in 2019.

And almost all Filipinos – 94 percent of respondents surveyed, expect companies to speed up digital initiatives.

The ongoing health, economic and social crises rapidly and permanently altered dynamic between customers and companies, hastening digital transformation.

Global Customer Relationship Management (CRM) provider Salesforce released these findings  (Oct. 29) as part of its fourth annual State of the Connected Customer report covering over 12,000 consumers and 3,600 business buyers worldwide.

In less than one year  the pandemic changed how customers connect with brands  the study confirmed.

 “Regardless of who they market, sell, or provide service to, businesses are navigating a landscape they couldn’t have imagined at the beginning of this year,” remarked Vala Afshar, Salesforce’s Chief Digital Evangelist. 

 “A massive shift to digital channels isn’t the only challenge that leaders have to grapple with. They also need to listen and respond to customer demands for empathy and understanding, innovative products and services, and a fundamental rethinking of the role of business in society,” he explained.

Connecting customers at various touchpoints — digital, human, or other — to gain a holistic understanding is the first step on the path to resiliency and growth, Afshar pointed out.

The global report compiled insights from over 15,000 consumers and business buyers across 27 countries, including 650 respondents from the Philippines, 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 study showed that key events of this year upended the relationships between customers and brands. 

During a time of uncertainty and confusion reign, brands get an opportunity to reinforce and rebuild trust with new and loyal customers alike. 

In the Philippines, 96 percent of customers revealed that  how a company acts during a crisis demonstrates its trustworthiness.

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. 

Some thirty-five percent of Filipino customers say it generally feels like sales, service, and marketing don’t share information.

Overall, digital-first behavior 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 depends on the use of personal information, and customers are calling for enhanced transparency and stewardship. 

In the Philippines, 88 percent of customers confirmed that COVID-19 elevated their expectation of digital capabilities.

Furthermore, 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. Ninety-five percent of Filipino customers say the societal role of companies is changing.

Customers navigate products, services, and experiences from a variety of industries throughout their day-to-day lives, criss-crossing between the personal and professional, digital and physical, essential and supplementary. 

As they do this, their standards are being constantly influenced, with distinctions between sectors often blurred in their minds.

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 percent  of consumers say their experiences with one industry influence their expectations of others.