The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed things drastically for the world we live in. There are huge implications for every aspect of life including business, marketing, customer relationships, and companies. This has led to a shift in how customers experience their relationship with the company. The coronavirus has changed the dynamics of customer service. We are going to discuss how you can provide a better customer experience beyond coronavirus and improve growth.
The novel coronavirus has rewritten how life is in the present day. The business world is also affected and there are multiple aspects that need to be taken into account while devising strategies. The global crisis has led to huge changes in customer experience for businesses and customers. Companies need to come up with innovative ways to increase customer engagement, build customer loyalties, and improve business. Increased customers connect and better customer experience is a great way to build a loyal base.
For startups and SMBs who rely on customer support, they need to look for innovative ways to save their companies from collapsing. Investing in customer experience can heavily outperform competitors.
The Zendesk Startup CX Benchmark Report showed that more than 70 percent of decision makers and start-up founders do not have a customer experience and support strategy in place. They are missing out an opportunity to grow by delivering awesome customer experiences. The report noticed a strong link between customer experience and growth.
So, how can you beat this pandemic with good customer experience? Let’s delve into it.
To alter how the pandemic influences customer decisions, it is important to manage customer experience in an informed manner.
Implications of COVID-19 on Customer Experience
Companies must ensure that customer experience strategies must be aligned to the post-pandemic situation. It essentially comprises three elements-
- Safe and contactless engagement
- Digital excellence
- Customer insights
Companies who are knowing these elements are better able to offer valuable experience to customers. There are several implications of the customer experience in the new normal.
Increased Traffic Online
As financial flexibility increases, customers are now moving online for their requirements. There is an increased focus on digital activities, online performance, and digital streaming. The overall demand for bandwidth and data have risen exponentially. The world is also moving to accommodate consumers moving online. Online classes, gyms, work from home, and more are dominating the scene.
Increased Emphasis on Safety and Health
There has been a massive effect on public health policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers now feel the need for constant sanitation and cleanliness. Companies must keep these in mind before planning their customer experience strategy. Some companies have created customised policies to safeguard customers. Allowing for a safe and contactless way to get customers and ensure their happiness is important.
Contactless and Safe Customer Journey
It is important to elevate customer experience excellence in the new normal. Having a safe customer behaviour experience is important to proactively shape strategies. For products and services to be coronavirus-specific, it is important to make plans that will sustain the COVID-19 spurts. These digital channels will ensure industry disruption specially for the pandemic period.
First, let us see how a good customer experience can influence customer success.
Customer experience is all the interactions that a customer has with the company. It is an amalgamation of the feelings, emotions, and ideas that a customer has about the company. Customer success is when customers achieve the desired outcome with the company. A customer success or customer experience strategy eventually aims to deliver value across every step of the customer journey.
As per a report from Ecosystm, AXQA, and Sitecore, there are five capabilities that make organizations make their customer experience better.
Companies need to be motivated to provide customers the best experience. Every organisation needs to create teams and processes to continuously support a good customer experience. They should be motivated to promote customer success.
Executives in the company need to have a digital customer experience strategy. This will build seamless experiences for customers and improve their experiences. A strong leadership can affect customer interactions.
For any company, it is important to integrate the customer experience systems with marketing. This will improve the end goal and create a strong marketing technology plan. A good marketing plan will involve meeting various customer touchpoints to improve experience.
Optimised, customised experiences are important to drive trust and loyalty. These personal experiences build brand value and make customers feel valued. Building customer experiences based on customer needs and desires is important.
It is needed to analyse data that is ready and then unify data across various touchpoints. This can happen when data is seamlessly connected to create a unified experience for customers. These data driven decisions make it simpler for companies to analyse how customers react.
Here are some ways to redefine customer experience during and after COVID-19.
To make customer experience better during the pandemic, there are some steps and changes that can be taken by companies.
Use an Omnichannel CX plan
The most important thing for any company is to create a good CX strategy from the beginning. An actionable plan will help customer interactions stay positive and invested. A well designed omnichannel customer experience program will ensure there is a seamless connection between multiple channels. This makes customer experience simple and streamlined. This integration will help improve interaction.
Voice Assistants and Chatbots
Companies who have discovered the innate benefits of voice assistants and chatbots are using them to leverage customer experience. Chatbots and voice assistants involve AI and offer a personalised, customised experience to customers. They save time, money, and offer better experience. These chatbots are processed to understand natural language and provide helpful assistance to customers when simple, automated responses cannot.
Digital Information and Updates
It is important to keep customers informed about new updates, protocols, and updates. Making sure the company’s customers are notified of all the things that impact them can help immensely. The safety precautions and measures by the company in these testing times can redefine customer experiences. It is more human and offers the right information reducing chaos.
Proactive Reaching Out
Companies also need to reach out proactively to customers. Making sure they are doing alright will help you know how customers are handling the pandemic. Making sure you reach out personally can build. It is also a great customer retention strategy as described by more than 70 experts in the business world.
Collaborating with customers for some activities online can also improve their experience. Think like an online pottery class, music recital, free screening of a show, excerpts of a book or more. These can help make customers feel less alone at home or wherever they are stuck. This is being called the new normal and it should be made more normal by inducing aspects customers love.
Redefine Customer Connections
Another way to make customer experiences great is by redefining customer connections. Making customers in one group able to connect with each other is a great way. Holding virtual meets and calls will immensely impact customers. They will improve overall connections and reduce roadblocks.
Create Content that Helps
A great way to enhance customer experience is by enhancing customer content online. If customers get content that helps them grow, it is great. They are able to find meaningful ways to enhance their performance, use or association with the product. This is what helps them in times they need a solution. Marketing content needs to be created to meet the demands of customers and solve their queries.
- Create content that answers customer questions
- Take responsibility for the content posted online
- Look at social media seriously
5 Soft Skills Requisite for a Customer Experience Strategy
The coronavirus pandemic has made some skills requisite in the digitally connected world. For companies to thrive, it is important to communicate regularly, easily, and effectively. During the pandemic, the majority of the world has shifted online and is working or learning from home. This is when there are skills that become necessary to make a mark. To make customers happy with the experience, companies need some digital learning tools and also some soft skills. Companies with employees who focus on customer experience at the centre will be better positioned to help them across the customer journey.
Customers need to be with employees who understand their unique needs, emotions and can build better rapport with customers. Here are 5 soft skills that will ensure those in customer service roles do better at providing customer experience.
Customer service agents need to be emotionally intelligent. They need to have self-awareness, social skills, empathy and stay motivated to help customers.
Company employees also need to possess a growth mindset. They need to try again despite roadblocks and be active in meeting decisions.
Customer service teams need to really listen, understand and be interested in teammates and customers to give them the best.
Customer service teams need to adapt to change without making huge changes to the flow. This requires some decision making which is essential to handle any question that comes suddenly.
Response to Feedback
Companies also need to take steps to respond to feedback. Some feedback can be hurtful even in the times of the pandemic. It is important to handle such with elan and be comforting.
Companies that make the right investments can build a good customer experience. Here are three actions that can address customer experience needs.
Meet your Customers where they are!
In these times, it is important to meet customers at their locations. By bringing the offerings to them at the lap of their homes, it is possible to offer the best experience. Innovative digital models will help customers face any crisis. With trends like work from home, school from home and more, one can rest assured the process will be so for the next year as well. Considering contactless, masked, sanitised options will help. It is also important to expand home delivery options for customer safety.
Reimagine the World Post COVID-19
Economic hard times will make companies cut costs. These costs can channel the money to digital modes. This will boost satisfaction, save money, improve insights and more. The world may look at brick and mortar stores differently post the pandemic. So building an efficient online delivery mechanism, e-tutorials, and more will help.
Build Capabilities for Testing Times
Another action all companies can do to improve customer experience during the pandemic is by building the right processes to grow. Tapping social media for customer preferences and online polls helps. Companies can also save time with test labs and data. Making customer-centricity an essential part of the organisation helps. This is what customers must do. Build agile processes for taking on the digital transformation and delivery.
Some of these include-
- Video based services
- Cloud solutions
- Online education
- Online streaming platforms
- Quick fulfilment of orders
- Easy online applications
The increase in need for customer experience is more in the COVID-19 pandemic. The increase in digital transformations means companies have more in their fingertips. This information can anticipate and deliver experiences as per customer value and customer sentiment. Having a customer experience strategy can help overcome the reactive nature of customers. Predicting and acting on customer feedback is also important to boost customer satisfaction and improve customer loyalty. This insight comes from looking at various cases in a quick, user-friendly manner. This also builds and sustains meaningful interventions that increase customer lifetime value and reduce customer churn.
The customer experience landscape is always evolving and will never be static. It should always stand out in terms of the delightful experiences. This redesigned customer experience through digital experience and contactless engagement will make customers responsive to company. A good customer experience strategy during the coronavirus pandemic will make customers happy with the company. The company will also be in a place to handle any unforeseen events, preferences and expectations from the world and customers.
About the author
Niyathi Rao is a content creating specialist at Smartkarrot, a customer success software platform. She worked for Univariety and OpenText previously. She majorly writes for SaaS tech products. She is a bibliophile and listens to podcasts and music when she isn’t doing any of these.