Business to consumer (B2C) leaders have a lot to grapple with come 2024. While talk of a recession is still on-going, they now face the battle of implementing new technology such as GenAI and, more significantly, maintaining consumer trust as it goes under attack.
According to global market research company Forrester, some organisations and regulators are now beginning to wake up to the fact that trust is really at the heart of maintaining and deepening relationships with brands. This is something crucial for marketers to take note of as they work to retain and grow consumer trust in their brands.
As we enter 2024, Forrester has listed out three predictions and things to take note of for B2C marketing, customer experience (CX) and digital leaders. Check them out below:
Prediction #1: News organisations will have a resurgence as trusted sources of information
People are now waking up to the fact that not everything they read online is true. As digital literacy increases, news organisations will have a resurgence in trust. Customers are wary about misinformation; and businesses must double-down on trust. The widespread use of deepfakes and hyper-realistic, yet fake influencers, must serve as a bellwether for social media and tech firms to prioritise source credibility and data provenance.
Organisations must also double down on marketing through to tier-one media and ensure that they are seen as reliable and trusted sources of information for customers, investors, and other critical audiences.
There are also initiatives in the news and media industry to sort of bring the trust back into the equation to differentiate themselves as organisations that are committed to certain principles to uphold the trust of their readers.
Prediction #2: One-quarter of MNCs will make customer trust a key mission, but only 5% will measure it
While it comes as no surprise that trust is accepted to be important by most organisations, many still struggle to measure it. According to Tom Mouhsian, principal analyst at Forrester, organisations that are serious about trust need to understand how it works, and they need to cultivate it and measure it. And unfortunately, not enough of them are doing.
Nonetheless, the needle is moving, and most organisations have intuitively accepted that trust is essential to their business. However, only 5% of the listed companies in APAC will actually measure it in some way or form.
Specifically in Singapore, there is a lot less trust on digital-only companies and social networks, as compared to legacy brands and government institutions. This is interesting given Singapore is a hub for innovation and there are many startups in the ecosystem. Mouhsian added that in Singapore and Hong Kong, people are also not as easily trusting. “It takes time to demonstrate trust and, you need to do a lot of work to earn a Singaporeans trust,” he said.
Prediction #3: CX will improve for the first time in three years
CX improvements will be most pronounced in Europe and APAC. GenAI will be the force that lifts CX by fixing common shortcomings, especially in customer communications and service areas, according to Mouhsian. The key to many upcoming CX improvements will be behind-the-scenes and GenAI that augments customer service and CSRs’ capabilities.
But the path ahead will be cluttered with obstacles that must be addressed as GenAI is still a relatively new area that is constantly evolving. “Currently, everyone is in their own orbit, with occasional intersects and collisions. But we must be orbiting around the customer, to ensure that we operate in harmony, respective of customer expectations and standards that must be maintained."
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