The Guardian’s Consumer Champions receives thousands of consumer complaints each year and its annual roundup reveals the industries which customers have had the most issues with, from high car repair costs to cancelled accommodation bookings. EasyJet came first as the airline with the most grievances in 2018, with many customers overdue compensation for months owing to cancelled flights. Customers also had much to say about the poor service from car hire companies, with many being overcharged for alleged excess mileage and supposed damages to the car. Finally, Insurance was also found guilty of ramping up prices with customers citing hikes in their Homecare policies and sudden increases in renewal policies.
Greggs bakery will launch its first vegan sausage roll this week as over 20,000 customers signed a PETA petition last year calling for a more ethical, animal friendly version of its traditional sausage roll. Analysis of consumer trend data predicts that veganism will be one of the biggest trends for 2019, and as Roger Whiteside, Chief Executive at Greggs, said, “Like many food retailers we have seen increasing demand for vegetarian and vegan products”. This year also sees record numbers of people signing up to go plant-based for Veganuary and food retailers increasingly looking to target cruelty-conscious consumers, with Marks and Spencer launching its own vegan range and McDonalds unveiling its first vegetarian Happy Meal.
In IBM’s recent 2019 Marketing Trends report the greatest takeaway is that marketing in its traditional sense is changing; digital technologies are giving rise to the new “martecheter”. Today meeting customer expectations and delivering memorable experiences means marketing teams need in-depth knowledge of the customer profile, requiring collaboration between all departments within a company from product and data to design and customer experience and sales. Ultimately, marketers must be multi-skilled and have “technical marketing talent”. GDPR was one of the biggest developments for businesses and their customer relations in 2018 and its impact will continue into the new year, with 60% of businesses seeing GDPR as an opportunity to improve privacy, security and data management. As the report states, marketers must listen to customers and prioritise their data hygiene to build stronger, more valuable customer relationships.