Experts Blog

When Customers’ Needs Change Overnight – 4 Fields of Action

  • Andrea Malele

Sudden events change your customers’ needs overnight. If your customer service centre is overrun with novel requests, this tells you something about your customers’ current problems. The user data gathered in the past weeks also provide insights and allow you to react quickly. That is important and the right thing to do. But if you want to get ahead of your customers, even real-time user data won’t cut it.

This is How Quickly Search Requests Change

A lot has been written about the run on online shopping and the effects on parcel deliveries, but search behaviour also changed overnight in the services industry during the pandemic. If your Google Search Console suddenly shows large peaks, the increase in search requests is usually due to an event with a widespread impact. When the Swiss Federal Council announced the details of the emergency ordnance on the granting of business loans, this momentum was not the beginning of an increase in search requests – it was already at its peak. The number of search requests for “covid loan” decreased over the next few days and three weeks later, it was old news – at least for search engines.

SEO in times of Corona
SEO in times of Corona

The issue of “refunds” became a hot topic when the lockdown started and still is, even today. Many industries and providers were affected, including event companies, travel agencies, gyms and public transport. The SBB reacted very early. Only days after the lockdown began, then CEO of SBB Andreas Meyer informed people via Swiss radio news that they could defer their ticket subscriptions and get refunds for individual tickets. He even mentioned a vanity URL that was easy to note down. Early communication can meet customers’ needs in real time and channel them very effectively.

A third example is the increase in search requests for “travel insurance”. Here, the number of search requests peaked a few days before the lockdown. You can make up your own minds about whether users wanted to take out new insurance or learn about their coverage.

1. Make Your Content Team Fast and Agile

The examples above show that content for sudden events has to be created and published immediately. This requires clearly defined roles, tried and tested content processes and staff who are available at short notice. However, this in itself is not enough for success.

2. Don’t Take Users on Unnecessary Detours

How do users find new content? If they are actively searching for this content, they will enter their search term into the search engine or use your onsite search. You have detailed data for both channels, showing you your users’ search behaviour. You can also see your answers to their questions. Many times, you will find some unpleasant surprises here. The ancient blogpost with an old announcement eclipses the new content because it still ranks better. Sometimes, a piece of news or a press release is the first hit for a service-oriented customer request. Communications people tend to prioritise new content in their heads. A search algorithm, however, assesses the available inventory based on countless factors and also considers previous user interaction with the results. Historical content and current gems are battling for the top spots. Many times, older information refuses to budge for a painfully long time because it has more links and authority.

By the way, we have developed a method to trim your growing content inventory for organic visibility and traffic growth. Read more: Data-based content revision

3. Rely Even More on the Insights of Your Customer Service Centre

The customer service centre is usually part of a different business unit, which means it acts completely independently from the experts in content, analytics and SEO. What a shame! A closer relationship can be mutually beneficial. The customer service centre knows real customers’ issues and problems and can list needs that are barely covered by a website. Improved content and service can, in turn, improve customer satisfaction and have a positive effect on customer loyalty and trust.

4. Is Real-time Fast Enough? Users Are Changing the Market. But How?

Real-time marketing is an art in and of itself. And still, one can’t help but wonder: Is real-time fast enough and expedient? Even if we were to use last week’s data, we would be quick and current, but we would still be reacting. And reacting, after all, is not the same as acting. As long as you rely on quantitative usage data, you are stuck with reacting. To gain a competitive advantage in the market, it is essential to be able to empathise with your customers. How do external events change their needs and desires? Which factors influence their behaviour and their decision-making? What changes did the pandemic bring about? The fact that many things have changed is reflected in a quote by publicist and philosopher Carolin Emcke: “There is no returning to an after.”

Magazine Data-based Revision of Your Content

Matthias Schmid

We show you how to better structure your content production and therefore, how to improve your web presence in search engines. A four-step tutorial.