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Pandemic fatigue setting in for NZ customers

A year on from lockdown, newly released customer feedback findings reveal pandemic fatigue has set in, placing pressure on New Zealand businesses to ensure their customer experiences are up to scratch.

Data insights pulled from Customer Radar, the go-to for many of New Zealand’s biggest customer-centric retailers over the past 10 years, reveals that in the lead up and during lockdown, Kiwi consumers felt a sense of empathy for businesses struggling through the pandemic, however now – not so much.

"We’ve been tracking key words and trends within customer feedback across our clients and we noticed that around the height of the pandemic, there was a lot of ‘thank you’ and ‘thanks’ trending," says Mat Wylie, stomer Radar CEO and founder.

"But things have been a little different in this first quarter of 2021, with the word ‘service’ becoming the trending word, popping up in 40 per cent of all feedback we monitor, almost double the amount of times ‘service’ cropped up at the start of 2020 at 21 per cent.

"The words ‘COVID’, ‘virus’ and ‘pandemic’ were also trending very high in early 2020 as you would expect, however in the first quarter of 2021, these references dropped by a massive 82 per cent," he said.

Mat said the findings point to the fact that a sense of normality has returned for most New Zealanders. "Customers are once again expecting a good level of service and for the overall customer experience to be business as usual – Covid-19 notwithstanding."

Customer Radar allows businesses to monitor their customer feedback in real time and adapt to meet those changing needs. This is especially important where supply lines and sourcing stock continue to be ongoing challenges for businesses and those issues need to be addressed directly with consumers.

Businesses who monitor their customer feedback and have been able to adapt to meet the changing needs of customers, have experienced a peak of Net Promoter Scores, which help to assess how satisfied their customers are, just before and immediately after lockdown, with these scores dropping back a little, but still 5% higher than the same time last year.

"Businesses need to be aware that many customers right now are nervous about price hikes, frustrated by products not being available due to delayed shipments and less empathetic towards poor customer experiences than they were this time last year," says Mat.

"Communication is the key. The word ‘communication’ is also trending this year, which suggests that customers understand that things go wrong, but just want to be updated and informed – they appreciate it. Listening and responding to customers is the golden opportunity for businesses."

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