The 2020 Tendances de la Relation Client

In 2020, customers will be...


Wednesday 4 December 2019


Châteauform’ City Le Metropolitan


Thierry Spencer's 2020 Customer Relationship Trends event (Illustration)

For the second year in a row, ERDIL has been partnering with Thierry Spencer’s prospective event regarding important trends in customer relationship: the Tendances de la Relation Client. On this occasion, one of our Brèves de Verbatim was humorously associated to each trend. In this article, discover the six major trends impacting customers in 2020…

Customers will be fragile

Whether it is due to situational (accident, guardianship…), structural (old age, long-term unemployment…) or behavioural (lack of education, exclusion…) factors, many customers are affected at some point in their lives by one (or more) situation(s) of fragility which impact their consumption patterns.

Among these “new” fragilities, digital illiteracy is more and more mentioned. This term describes the difficulties to access and use digital devices and is thought to affect more than one in five French people.

The challenge facing brands will involve continuing with their efforts to welcome these fragile customers through the use of adapted devices such as inclusive interface design or specific customer journeys. Training and getting collaborators to feel involved in order to give customer relationship a tangible meaning is mandatory as well.

Customers will feel guilty

This is one of the most striking trends of this 2020 edition. With climate change and overconsumption becoming ever more prominent topics, many people feel compelled to reevaluate their consumption habits.

A strong commitment to ethical, more responsible and less energy-intensive consumption habits has been as a result on the rise. The two Swedish terms flygskam (shame of flying) and köpskam (shame of shopping) stand out as particularly revealing examples of this guilt feeling affecting customers.

Customers also demand more transparency from brands, with which a strong feeling of defiance remains associated. Companies will be closely scrutinised for their commitments and decisions, as their ethics and morality now plays a role in the purchase decision of more than one in two customers.

Customers will be instantaneous

A farewell to phones and SMS as instant messaging apps have become part of the daily life of many customers (although probably not for people affected by digital illiteracy).

At first popular for personal use, instant messaging apps have also become full-fledged contact and customer relationship channels for customers on the search for an ever greater speed.

WeChat is as of today one of the most prominent examples, as this app is nothing short of the main communication channel connecting the Chinese Internet users with the brands they favour.

Customers will be resolving

Problem resolution is the first expectation of customers, just before their interlocutor’s competence and processing speed.

This trend may prove tricky for brands which do not tend to focus on their early problem-solving skills. There is thus a real gap between how the problem-solving process is being perceived by collaborators and customers.

This trend, whose extent varies among the different industries, will be standing as a major area of reflection regarding how companies assess such processes as customer feedback management, internal organisation, use of tools and technologies as well as training of employees. AI-based tools already allow the improvement of some of these processes as well as the provision of support to collaborators; usage of these tools is however far from being the norm.

Customers will be customised

Customisation is mandatory for brands which want to provide the best experience to their customers. Yet although they have more and more data on their customers and their consumption behaviour, this does not guarantee efficient customisation, especially since data sharing within a company’s various departments may not always prove effective.

While some companies manage to stand out in this area (Netflix, Nike, True Fit were such examples mentioned during the conference), brands have a lot of work ahead of them before being able to provide sustainable customisation which proves beneficial to customers.

Customers will be considered

Customers are expecting consideration as much as customisation. Bad grades issued for brands, as the notion of consideration has been declining in almost all sectors. This is a genuine issue since consideration rhymes with recommendation for more than two thirds of customers.

Brands have to make adjustments with small attentions, clear and tangible service commitment or even through (good) initiatives stemming from collaborators. Best practices in this field can be found in Japan where Omotenashi (customary hospitality in Japan) is a particularly important precept.

Find out about all the trends and key figures associated on Thierry Spencer’s blog, le Sens du Client.