Business software company Freshworks has released findings from a global survey that discovered 41 percent of people tried purchasing from local businesses during the pandemic, and 94 percent intend to continue with this. However, these small local businesses have to adapt to changing customer expectations if they want to sustain demand.
The study of 10,500 respondents from around the world found that 31 percent of customers are more forgiving of brands and 32 percent became more patient with customer service professionals. The study also found that despite 49 percent believing brands were truthful in their messages during the pandemic, 23 percent did not trust these messages.
Consumer expectations drastically changed during the pandemic, and brands must have good customer service to survive post-pandemic. 50 percent of respondents claimed that they would not tolerate poor service in a post-pandemic world, and 31 percent expect an apology after something goes wrong.
Smaller brands experienced massive difficulties during the pandemic, with 43 percent closing temporarily in March and April of 2020, according to a PNAS survey. Many would not have survived if it weren’t for 41 percent of consumers shopping locally during the pandemic. Of those included 18 percent who purposely spent more to support small businesses and 16 percent who left larger tips.
94 percent of those who shopped locally plan to continue after the pandemic. This may largely be a result of 50 percent of consumers who believe small businesses improved customer service during the past year. Large businesses received mixed feedback with 33 percent believing they improved customer service and another 33 percent believing they became worse.
Finally, the survey revealed the continued importance of digital connections. 47 percent of respondents plan to continue digitally interacting with brands after the pandemic.
Business environments changed dramatically during the pandemic, and consumer expectations have changed. In order to succeed, businesses need to prioritize their digital transformation and focus on great customer service.