The pandemic is a crisis that puts the strengths and weaknesses of a professional relationship in the spotlight. It’s a given that the Coronavirus outbreak is no ordinary crisis. In times like this, customer experience takes a unique edge and subjective quality.
CX teams around the globe have to adapt quickly amidst market volatility and enhanced uncertainty. As the world slowly grapples with the change, the stature of a business remains unusual. Read on to discover how the face of customer experience is changing during a crisis like this. Learn what can be done to rise to the occasion.
Some initial considerations you can make to prepare yourself for a post-COVID customer environment include the following:
- Connect and care.
- Accelerate digital channels.
- Cut monetary expenses.
- Network and socialize.
- Say yes to active listening.
- Communicate and inform.
Connect and Care
Customer experience in times of crisis is all about empathy. It is time to render care, sympathy, and portray your human side. Reach out to your customers before they feel worried or stressed.
Take time and analyze their mindset. If you must take a course of action to pacify the situation, do not take a backseat. Aside from this, use your emotional intelligence. It is a great skill that you can rely on, especially in battling times like this.
This is what empathetic connection is all about. Show them that you are there for them. For those still on the job, employers can provide new tools, training, and support to enable employees to deliver superior customer experience in this new environment.
Accelerate Digital Channels
Digital delivery has become a necessity for most customers who are confined at home. Adoption has grown strongly, even among the most “digitally resistant” customers. For some companies, the rapid development of digital functionalities is key to ensuring continuity of service.
Additionally, you can give selected digital services free to help some of the existing customers. This can also broaden your reach to a new audience. Many customers who have converted to digital services will likely stick to them even after the immediate crisis is over.
Crisis management is all about change. Companies that make these shifts to digital and deliver superior experiences have an opportunity to increase adoption and maintain these customer relationships after the crisis.
Cut Monetary Expenses
In tough times like this, cutting costs is inevitable. Sometimes, the best way to enhance efficiency and experience is by increasing self-service options. Migrating customers to digital channels is often a successful way to boost savings and satisfaction.
Note that the post-COVID scenario will see more customers getting acclimated to digital and remote shops. You must gear up for such a case. Use mobile, online, and geospatial data to optimize networks and Omnichannel sales.
Examine dynamics across digital channels, owned outlet stores, and wholesale partners. As soon as the forced isolation of this pandemic starts to dissipate, this could be what retailers might adapt to and strive for.
Network and Socialize
With the new standard of social distancing, people are more engaged online than ever. Hence, this sees a significant increase in the use of social networks. As a company, you need to use it to your advantage.
Especially if a business can’t function as usual, participating in social media is a good way to keep the brand active. You can still serve deliverables but in a new and different way. Look at this as an opportunity to be more visible.
Grace your interactions with your customers with profound value and care. Also, this is the perfect time to interact with customers, talk to them, and listen to their feedback.
Say Yes to Active Listening
Remember your employees are the frontline eyes and ears of your brand. Therefore, it is crucial to solicit and collect customer feedback. One of the easiest ways to do that is by active listening.
It will prove useful in gauging how customers are feeling and how daily interactions are changing. Ensure that their ideas and suggestions do not go unheard.
Further, tools and technology now exist to rapidly collect and aggregate real-time ideas and feedback from frontline employees.
Investing in these can make a critical difference in the rapidly changing environment. Also, at the end of the day, building agility across functions to handle changing customer circumstances is necessary and will have long-lasting benefits.
Communicate and Inform
Probably the most important part of handling customer experience in a crisis is making sure that your customers are being communicated with and are well-informed. Changed hours, updated delivery policies, new ways to reach customer service, and many such changes on the list need to be announced.
Customers should feel connected and like they know what’s happening with your processes and company. Also, communicate with concerned customers and provide them with all the information they need. Use personalized, daily communications to keep them updated, protected, and positive. Further, address their concerns and fears.
Advise them on how to stay safe and alert. Share what the brand does to ensure a safe service or shopping experience in physical locations to gain confidence. Attitudes and perceptions change very quickly, so real-time monitoring and reporting will be essential.
When it comes to demonstrating care toward employees, make sure to double down on supporting employees since customers notice and appreciate this as well.
In times of distress and uncertainty, customer experience is something to be adapted. Further, refrain from presuming that the customers will naturally migrate to remote, digital platforms easily and on their own.
Moreover, raise awareness and enhance the internal capabilities needed to support the adoption of these experiences. Delve into your feedback and customer insights you receive through your new online presence. Further, if you’re not seeing a rise in attention, you will have to look for ways to make engagement happen.
Customer experience has taken on a new definition and dimension in the overwhelming challenge of COVID-19. Customer leaders who care about customers, innovate during this crisis, and anticipate how customers will change their habits will build stronger relationships that will endure well beyond the pandemic upset.