Customer expectations have changed over the past 18 months of a pandemic, leaving brands with the challenge of pivoting and adapting not only to a new way of living and working but also to a new way of interacting with and serving customers.
Scott Finlow, CMO of PepsiCo Foodservice, has noticed two major trends during the pandemic. First is that people are looking forward to re-entering the world and having meaningful connections. As they do so, they want to try new products and have new experiences. Second, people are looking for more purpose in their lives and in their brand choices. That manifests in a variety of ways, including being more aware of the impact of their decisions on the environment and their health and wellbeing.
But Finlow says understanding and recognizing those changes is only the first step. Companies need to understand where customer needs are heading so they can focus on re-inventing a better normal. It’s not about going back to how things were but instead moving forward and creating a better future.
Perhaps nowhere is that more important than in the B2B world, where many companies are adjusting to new ways of doing business. Throughout the pandemic, PepsiCo has focused on forming partnerships to help support its restaurant customers as they pivot. The company is also investing heavily in digital and building out services to help its customers along their own digital journeys.
As customer expectations change, innovation is crucial. B2B companies need to find new ways to meet customer needs and break out of how things have been done in the past. With an increased focus on health and safety, PepsiCo set out to create contactless fountain drink equipment. Finlow says it required the work of multiple departments to deliver on the new hygiene standard. But it doesn’t stop there—the company is also piloting a drink machine in Europe that allows customers to gesture and pour the drink of their choice. Continual innovation provides B2B customers with the tools they need to best serve their customers.
Customer experience has always required continual change and evolution, but especially in a post-COVID world. B2B companies that stay in touch with their customers to understand their new needs and expectations, find ways to support their journey and continually innovate will lead the way towards the future.
*This episode is sponsored by Quiq.
Quiq is a leading conversational AI platform that drives two-way conversations to deliver a better experience for people and brands. Quiq enables enterprises to connect and engage in two-way conversations with their customers across varied messaging channels — including Facebook Messenger — in more than 170 languages. Quiq is the future of business-to-consumer messaging; it’s the wingman every brand and CX’er needs.
Blake Morgan is the bestselling author of The Customer of the Future. Join the new Customer Experience Community here.