As COVID-19 vaccines roll out worldwide an updated SAS Consumer Study delves into what customers really think about customer experience and to what degree they will go back to pre-COVID shopping habits.

The latest research by SAS, the analytics leader, shows that 81% of customers feel their customer experience has improved since the pandemic started. As for how permanent these changes are, almost two-thirds (38%) of consumers plan to revert back to the same pre-pandemic shopping habits.

81% of customers feel CX has improved during the pandemic

1 in 5% customers plan to spend more money once vaccines have been rolled out in their countries

For many, the pandemic has changed customer behaviour forever. Organisations must accept this and be flexible enough to adapt. With revenues declining or stagnating during the pandemic, it’s crucial that companies make the most of a net rise in consumer spending post-pandemic by tailoring the customer experience to individual behaviors, needs and preferences.

Our research shows that customers are very prepared to switch if there’s a better experience on offer elsewhere. Organisations must make sure they are always that better option. To make this a reality, companies now have more digital users than ever before, with a greater willingness to share data. They now need the right data-driven approach to turn this opportunity into success.

47% of customers would ditch a brand after just 1 or 2 bad experiences

In the wake of COVID-19, SAS wanted to discover how attitudes have changed and if businesses had made progress in developing their customer experiences.

This survey – using an extended sample size of 6,000 consumers from across Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East and Africa – shows that COVID-19 has reinforced the importance of the customer experience in consumer buying habits. And yet, brands are still falling short when it comes to delivering these great experiences.

Radosław Grabiec, Head of Customer Intelligence Practice at SAS, CEMEA, said:

In the last year, the world around us has changed entirely. For businesses, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their customers have changed as well. As the pandemic has progressed, and restrictions have become more commonplace, the customer of today has become more digitally adept (any other common word?) and, as a result, quicker to switch between providers and organisations.

For many businesses, diminishing customer loyalty might be a concern. However, with today’s customer more willing to share personal data than ever before, ambitious companies can take this as an opportunity to boost sales and revenue. As customer expectations continue to rise and change, it’s crucial that businesses offer a more personalised service to retain existing customers and tempt dissatisfied customers from their competitors. This level of understanding and agility can only be achieved by companies that leverage the power of advanced analytics. Without it, companies will be sat on the sidelines whilst they watch their competitors reap the rewards.

Radoslaw Grabiec

To find out more what level of Customer Experience your consumers expect, download our e-book