Tuesday, November 08, 2011

How Will The Financial Crisis Impact Customer behavior

Customer relationship management has rose in emerging market, as competition was getting tougher, and the aquisition of new customers more difficult and costly. The spring of CRM also marked the arrival of a new era, where customers where more alert, more sounded, and that they could take over the power companies used to have.

Now customers could switch easilly from one company to another, and they could actually realize that they really mattered for companies. 

Customer relationship management evolved throughout the time, as customers and companies changed. New ways to interract between each others appeared, especially thanks to the Internet: First emails, then forums and since couple of years now social media. Companies had to change the way they handled CRM, as more communication channels had to be managed, bringing complexity, and their use were less mechanical than simply through some questionnaires to fill.

We are facing very difficult times. Since 2008, two main financial crisis hit the world, and the road to recovery seems long and tough. Most of the time, it is during these difficult times that we see the biggest change in customers' behaviors. They need to adapt to a changing world. 

Most of households are hit by the crisis, which means there are strong chances their spendings will be cut down. And probably, the way they interract with companies will also changes. 

How will it impact CRM? We have already seen that social media has emerged as one of the most important place of conversation between companies and customers. But it will probably go further. The concept of loyalty, which has been challenged those past few years, with the multiplication of companies using somehow the same kind of tools to secure one customer, will probably once more evolved.

This more an open conversation than a real answer I am trying to give. Because I don't exactly know how customers will change. But a lot of customer behavior component will evolve within the next few months and years, and we must be prepared.