Business insight specialists are predicting the rise in demand from customers for improved customer-centric services as well as more flexibility in the workplace for employees. Business owners are now listening more to the needs of their customers and workers to help generate greater success and improved possibilities for the future.
The rise of the CCEO
A greater focus on customer experience is a big trend this year. Customer-centric businesses are now becoming more profitable than those who don’t focus on customer services, so more companies are now looking to recruit Chief Customer Experience Officers (CCEO) to their boards.
Forrester Research have revealed that loyal customer bases spend on average around 13% more per transaction than single speculative customers who buy once and are never seen again. Many businesses will work their sales and marketing techniques from their staff downwards, but it is the job of a CCEO to work from the customer upwards. CCEOs understand what customers want and will work within the team to streamline product and service developments, and make them more tailored to better suit their customer demands.
The main aim of bringing a CCEO on board is to build the business around the customer, and then everything from there upwards will be about delivering the best value to the customer and building a culture within the business that prioritises customer care. It is all about delivering a frictionless customer experience with a personal human touch.
The demand for Same-day delivery
Market leaders such as Amazon have been at the cutting edge of customer service technologies since their inception. They have been looking at ways to develop a same day delivery service for a while now, and their drone delivery service is still being tested.
Customer fulfilment is a high priority for all major businesses, so offering the fastest delivery service possible will always be a lucrative revenue channel. While same day delivery is still the domain of the local fast food industry in most areas, new companies such as Deliveroo are taking this a step further. By partnering up with restaurants that do not offer a delivery service, Deliveroo are now bringing more revenue in for different restaurant owners without the need to employ their own delivery staff.
This trend has now spilled over into the retail market where people may order goods online to pick up themselves or book a delivery service to pick up for them. Same day courier services are now offering a service to customers to book a pick-up or delivery at a cheaper rate than some overnight carriers, and through an app the customer can keep track of their goods on every step of the journey.
The demand from customers for more convenience means that in most cases they are willing to pay for it. This has opened up a niche for a fast delivery service for perishable items as well as urgently needed items for work or home.
Increasing SME and micro-business exports
Business analysts are predicting a further rise in micro-businesses this year. Micro-businesses are essentially companies that employ no more than ten staff, and a lot of these are expected to be very small-scale businesses where people are turning their passions and hobbies in to a moneymaking enterprise.
With the rise of the internet opening up worldwide trade opportunities, the creation of the micropreneur has seen an increase of more than 55% in micro-businesses in the UK since the year 2000. It is now thought that there are over 8.4 million people employed in 5.2 million registered micro-businesses across the UK.
A key growth in exports is predicted this year for smaller traders. With the market opening up to trade in China and India, there are more opportunities for SMEs to trade abroad amongst new growing economies. There is a lot of potential for small business owners to expand their reach further this year, especially if they produce something unique that other countries will provide a demand for.
Growth of flexible working and the freelance market
With an ever shifting and changing workforce, there is expected to be a boom in freelance and flexible working options for employees. Along with a rise in commercial rents, many new businesses will be looking to share office space and workshops to keep costs down, which will also include the use of virtual offices.
Even in smaller towns across the country, shared workspaces are on the increase allowing entrepreneurs and sole-traders to come together to share facilities and overheads, as well as opening up the potential for skill-sharing across the wider community.
Freelancers are also taking on much more specialist work than ever before. This means that they can no longer rely upon a quiet corner of a coffee shop to get their work done. With an increase in freelance workers wanting flexible hours to fit their lifestyle, many are choosing to work from home or use a local hub that can offer secure and reliable internet connectivity.
Many freelancers working from home like to get out of the house and interact with other like minded people to share ideas and collaborate together on larger jobs. The ability to join forces with other freelancers as well as providing regular social interaction in a creative atmosphere can be very beneficial for both worker and client.
The main trend for this year will be for businesses to get to know their customers inside and out. New businesses just setting up will be more likely to succeed if they can take the time to engage with their customers in new ways.