Customer experience (CX) has never been as important to business continuity as it is right now. In times of crisis such as this, customers’ experiences with companies can trigger powerful, lasting effects on their sense of trust, brand loyalty, and more. Businesses must not only not find new ways to deliver their services and goods; they must also effectively position themselves for long-term shifts in customer behavior as customer preferences, and therefore customer journeys, change rapidly as a result of this crisis.
With millions furloughed or suffering in other ways, CX can currently be measured in how well the company delivers experiences with empathy and care. But looking forward, businesses must prepare for longer-term shifts in consumer behavior because of coronavirus. Here’s how.
- Taking care of your customers begins with taking care of your employees. Employers must provide employees with the equipment they need to be successful—whether that means secure, collaborative technology solutions as they work remotely or PPE if they work onsite—in order for their employees to provide effective customer experiences.
- For customers, actions speak louder than words. Adapting the way you do business (eliminating paperwork, shifting to a digital focus, etc.) or loosening policies (eliminating late fees, requiring eSignature instead of a wet signature, etc.) to accommodate customer needs improves CX.
- With minimal human interaction outside of the home, there is a clear need for online interaction infused with humanity, such as hybrid chatbots, telemedicine, and videoconferencing technology. Offering direct human interaction in a digital format demonstrates care and concern while improving efficiency, which is likely to have lasting effects on client satisfaction.
Meet Customers at Home
- A recent survey found that 84% of consumers expect brands to find ways to maximize digital interactions to keep them safe. In order to maintain business continuity and CX, businesses must embrace and enhance remote, digital interactions with their customers to prevent customer frustration and lost business.
- Eliminating paperwork is one way to improve CX for customers stuck at home. A mobile-optimized form with an intuitive interface that eliminates the stress and time-consuming aspects of completing physical paperwork is a good start; a form that can be sent and used while on a call with a remote contact center agent is even better.
- Food, prescription drugs, and more can now be requested through an app and delivered in no-contact deliveries. Companies who deliver convenient, superior digital-led experiences like this now have the opportunity to increase adoption and grow customer relationships after the crisis.
Plan for the Future
- As new or infrequent digital customers acclimate to new digital/remote ways of doing business, it only makes sense that some of them switch permanently or at least increase their use of these methods after the crisis ends. Consumer behavior going forward will likely favor digital-led CX.
- Increasing digital self-service saves time and money for the companies that implement these types of technologies, but user adoption only increases if the technology is easy to use and customer-friendly.
- Companies must re-examine the role physical locations play in a world growing increasingly comfortable with digital, low-touch experiences. Local stores may need to shift to fulfillment only or offer an experience that truly differentiates itself from online shopping.
Remain Agile with Changing Needs
- No commute and no school means that many have more free time than they did previously, which in turn means increased entertainment time. Any company that embraces the shift to digital and provides entertaining or educational content (e.g., gyms offering virtual classes, webinars with special guests or methods of interacting, etc.) is well positioned to adjust to the changing CX needs of their customer base.
- Social media also provides a window into rapidly-changing consumer sentiment, and companies that can act quickly to recognize trends and use that data to enhance CX are the ones that will be the most successful in increasing customer satisfaction and ultimately driving CX.
While many traditional companies across worldwide markets struggle, companies that have focused on CX have succeeded. By prioritizing empathy, meeting your customer at home, planning for the future, and remaining agile with changing needs, you can maximize digital interaction to address changing CX needs.