We thought the world couldn’t get any crazier after 2020, but as time goes on we are starting to see another crisis emerging... we’d like to welcome to the stage: The Cost of Living Crisis 2022.
The rising cost of living in the UK is no laughing matter at the moment, as we see fuel, housing and energy prices skyrocket to an almost unaffordable level, and many businesses and companies are starting to feel the effect on staffing and recruitment due to hybrid and remote working opportunities across the country (although we guess The Great Resignation is a whole other blog subject).
But what does this mean for your digital channels, how is it impacting your audience and customers, and how can you prepare for the coming months?
We hope the UK economy stabilises, but if it doesn’t - it might be worth taking the following into consideration:
#1 People are starting to live within their means 🤓
Though it might not be quite battle stations yet when it comes to the digital economy, there are certainly some changes worth noting from some of the big guns. Take a look at Netflix - the world’s biggest streaming service. Surely the global giants would be protected from something so feeble as the UK economy, right?
Netflix has actually seen a considerable dip (200,000) in subscribers in the first three months of 2022 (Marketing Week) due to shallow pockets and rising prices, and that’s without taking into consideration the mass exodus of Russian subscribers, which has equated to another 700,000 lost customers later in the year.
Now, we all know that a company like Netflix can absorb a hit like this and stay stable. But it’s an indication that consumers are looking to cut back on luxury services like subscription entertainment with costs rising both inside and outside the space. It is reported that 24% of people are starting to cancel services like Netflix and Spotify to make better use of the pennies that count (Marketing Week)
With the economy in a downward spiral, this behaviour can be translated into almost any luxury product or service on the market. In fact, 77% of the Great British public are concerned about the rising cost of living, and many are already changing their behaviour to save money, including choosing low-cost brands and cutting back on luxuries (The Guardian).
Ensuring your brand stays afloat in these times can be difficult, as you can only lower the cost of your product or service so much without a negative effect on your business, especially while overheads are rising at the same rate. Anecdotally, acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer, and with this in mind, maintaining your brand reputation and gaining trust and brand loyalty through great social CX, is a great way to keep hold of your existing customers and save a bit of cash along the way.
It’s important that your outbound content and campaigns are hitting the right spot, and having conversations in the right place at the right time is more important than ever. Whatever the cost of living is saying today, there are still customers out there that would benefit from your products or services, it’s just a matter of finding them.
The solution to hitting the mark with your customers is simple: Listen to what they’re saying. Over the past few years there have been huge innovations within the social listening space. Take Orlo for instance, our brand-new Insights feature adds next generation Social Listening across digital channels across the web. With the ability to listen to both direct and indirect chatter about your brand or sector, you can now get the heads up on trending subjects that you can add value to through campaigns and content collateral, and really start to establish yourself as the trusted expert, or go-to, within your field.
What’s more, listening into the conversations is more than just earwigging on what’s hot and what’s not, it actually allows you to take the conversations to your customers on their channel of choice, whether it be social media, news or product forums, or even review sites. With this in mind, you’re no longer just rolling the dice on your social ads hitting the right people through native targeting, you’re going out and placing yourself into the conversation where it matters.
#2 Cutting costs through digital transformation ✂️
Digital transformation has been a real make-or-break factor for businesses over the past 2 years. Since the global pandemic, services and operations have been forced to enter the digital sphere, which we think is a great thing!
The knock-on-effect, however, is that consumers now expect a digital presence from the companies they’re connecting with to both complete purchases and solve problems. With the cost of living crisis having a very noticeable impact on disposable funds of consumers and businesses alike, physical services are taking more of a hit - not only are they expensive to maintain, limitations in travel costs and alternative online options are pushing services further into the digital solutions.
Customers can be demanding, and it’s time to keep up with their needs on the channels they choose, especially during crisis. 73% of customers agree that customer experience helps to drive their buying decision (PwC) With this in mind, being available through just the traditional channels of phone and email will no longer cut it, customers now expect a full-rounded service in terms, which means bringing social media into the mix as an accessible digital channel.
The innate accessibility of social media has its advantages for modern business - it now gives contact centre agents the ability to hold multiple conversations with customers over different channels at one time. With Orlo’s Unified Inbox, contact centres can take control of their inbound and outbound messages from one easy-to-use platform, speed up the resolution time using automated Live Chat functions, while minimising the possibility of lost or missed messages through automated Triggers.
#3 Valuable content 💰
With people wanting, or even needing, more for their pennies these days, making sure your content is offering something a little bit extra is critical. While you want to make sure you’re covering your digital channels with exceptional advertising campaigns, you also need to make sure your content is offering valuable and relevant advice, especially if you’re a public sector service with a duty of care to your citizens.
While we’ve already covered the importance of adding social listening to your digital strategy, you need to think about how you’re going to measure the impact that your content is having on you citizens, customers or prospective audience, and make sure you take into consideration not just the statistics, but the impact it’s having on thoughts and feelings.
Sound like a big task? Well, actually it’s not as hard as you think. With Orlo’s new Emotion Detection & Sentiment Analysis, you can accurately track the thoughts and feelings of consumers around the globe - finding out whether their reactions to your marketing campaigns, products or services are positive or negative, and whether they are connoting feelings of disappointment, happiness, and much more.
Having this knowledge can inform your future content and make it more valuable than ever for your customers during this crisis. Think about the influx of inbound queries you’ve had recently about cost cutting and money saving, and fuel your content with real-world valuable tips and tricks like…
- 3 ways to save money using **Product X**
- How-to get more bang for your buck with **Service Y**
- **Organisation Y’s** local recommendations for affordable meals out
Not only can this help with making your brand or company more relatable during the crisis, it can also impact your searchability. According to Website Success, traditional search terms have seen a change in 2022 to reflect the current economic crisis, with more people searching using cost-cutting and money-saving keywords than ever before. The more you start to direct your content to what’s going on in the now, the higher chance you will become searchable organically by future customers.
#4 Expanding digital channels 🪗
We assume that, even if your business is doing well, you’ve seen the impact of the cost of living crisis in some shape or form. 87% of people have reported an increase in the cost of living since March 2021, and as a result, 24% of people reported that they have struggled to keep up the rising costs of household bills (ONS).
It’s not limited to consumers either, business operations are faltering too, with petrol prices reaching an all time high of £2 per litre in recent weeks, it’s easy to see how the rising costs of freighting and delivery now needs to be factored into operational costs. It’s not just transportation costs that are fuelling the fire either, the rise in energy caps and heating means it is more expensive than ever to maintain working offices and locations.
From a social and digital sense we’re seeing two major changes in both inbound queries and typical search terms. With the general public being forced to watch their spending, there are more and more questions aimed towards local government and public organisations around methods of saving money, and even complaints about the rising cost of living.
While we want to be there as businesses when our customers face these kinds of issues, there is actually a way you can kill two birds with one stone… Plugging Orlo’s AI Chatbot into your company’s knowledge base will allow it to learn and provide answers to common questions or details of specific locations and help services, increasing the chance of first contact resolution and saving your agents for the queries that need more of a personal touch to resolve.
Wrap it up 🌯
As much as we wish we could actually wrap up the cost of living crisis, we can’t! Although we hope that we’ve given you some insight into what kinds of impacts it’s having in the current environment, and a few ideas on how to navigate your way past the obstacles, from both a customer and business perspective.
The most important takeaway we’d like to leave you with though, is that at this time, it’s more critical than ever to embed yourself in the world of digital and social CX. Not only is it an expectation to be present across a variety of digital channels in your marketing and customer service operations, it will also help future proof your business through the cost of living crisis, and more importantly, whatever crisis is next on the horizon.
Although if possible, we’d like to have a couple of issue free years in the next decade, for a change!