Redefining customer experience: why 67% look for safety before shopping.

The customer experience was stripped bare.

When the virus spread, it took down safety and security with it. In fact, 72% of our consumer panel is still concerned. But, your brand is about to get them excited again.

Let’s get personal. 

Buyers are looking to their favorite brands to help them through a tough time. It’s in your hands. A full 62% believe that brands play a critical role in addressing the challenges of the crisis.1 They’ve opened the door—and are waiting for you to create a great customer experience for them.

Here’s why.

Even before the crisis, 59% of consumers said they felt that companies had lost touch with the human part of customer experience. And 75% say that they prefer to interact with a person, not a machine.2 Now their needs are amplified because they’re not getting the connections they crave. 

So, here are four ways you can impact customer experience—and sales:

  1. Safety
  2. Intimacy
  3. Prestige
  4. Fulfillment

#1: Safety

Maslow didn’t plan to be a marketer. 

But he was one. By creating a hierarchy of needs, Maslow also built a blueprint for customer experience. And right after accounting for physiological needs, that means creating safety. Which is timely, because right now, 67% of consumers have said they’re looking for safety before they choose a retailer.

They need to feel safe. And that’s not just with masks and sanitizer. It’s seeing what you’re doing as a brand.

Show them that you care about their wellbeing. They want order, predictability, and control. Especially now. Train your team to be aware of, and share, what your company is doing to help. The marketers who get this right—stand to win a massive amount of share. 

#2: Intimacy

Relationships motivate behavior.

Consumers want real people. Be proactive and ask what will make their lives better. Don’t stress them—or yourself—out by trying to guess what they want. Just ask. Send a survey while they’re in your location and get real-time feedback. Then, once you know what they want, make good on it. 

Follow through on what you say you’re going to do. This will help your buyers to feel intimately connected to your brand. It establishes trust. And trust is a trait that transcends hard times.

#3: Prestige

People love to be liked.

Reputation matters and they crave their peers’ respect. Many people have put themselves in the backseat during these times. Because, when you’re working from home—why not wear sweatpants, or pajamas for that matter? No one’s going to see you. But, now places are re-opening and they care again.

Help them to see how your brand meets their needs for respect and reputation. They’ll associate their positive self-perception with a high affinity for your brand. And you’ll create a loyal customer.

#4: Fulfillment

Maslow calls it self-actualization.

But, whatever name you’d like to use, it means the same thing: personal growth. The army does it well. Their tagline is “Be all that you can be.” A perfect embodiment of fulfillment. Just remember, before this need for growth can be met, your brand must have already helped consumers to reach the earlier steps.

That means your customer experience must first create safety, intimacy, and prestige. All of this comes before you can help the buyer to see how they can become a better person, as a result of your brand. 

So, here’s a little more help with that process.

Find out where you stand.

Consumer behavior has many motivating factors.

Your goal is to find out which ones work best for your brand—and your sales numbers. To do that, take stock of where you are today. 

Many companies are now overhauling their relationship surveys for new and relevant questions on customer relationships. You’re no doubt considering the same thing. That may mean adding new survey language, altering some of your questions, or collecting the data differently.

Here are two ideas for you:

1. Run an exit survey.

This is a simple way to see how consumers feel in-the-moment. 

It’s sent as a buyer, or a non-buyer, leaves your location. You can ask exactly how they feel as they leave. Which is good, because 50% of shoppers forget what they did within an hour.3

The data is also representative of your buyers. Why? Because you’re only pinging the people who are naturally buying your product, or a competitor’s brand, as they’re leaving. No concerns here about relevance. This consumer panel, and their actions, is tied directly to your target market.

2. Send an app or web survey.

Online purchases are up 50%.4

Survey to see what shoppers are doing online–and why. New technology allows you to see consumers’ app behavior and to track where they’ve been online. It’s called a digital event survey. And, you can use it to capture accurate insights on buying behavior.  

This is a big move for the industry. You can now see eCommerce footprints, as well as physical ones. Use that data to impact your omnichannel strategy and beat your competitors before they ever reach the game.

There’s no question that the customer experience has changed. Now, it’s up to us to adjust. It’s time to be agile and to adapt. And the sooner we get started, the further ahead we’ll find ourselves.



By Avani Patel

Reviewed by Allyson Wehn

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