As we enter the new year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must keep one thing top of mind: customer experience.
If there’s one thing the pandemic has changed in terms of customer experience, it is the need for companies to demonstrate more empathy and safety towards their customers. Customers are more apprehensive about their future and that has made them even more cautious towards making reckless purchases.
A big part of gaining customer trust during the pandemic has been strengthening and maintaining your company’s online reputation. People want to know that the company they are buying from has a superior product or service and genuinely has their best interests in mind.
This blog post will cover how and why you should continue to invest in your customer experience during the pandemic.
Reasons to invest in customer experience (CX) during a pandemic
Data shows that companies who invested in CX during times of stressful situations performed far better than the ones who didn’t.
Data collected during the 2008 recession shows that businesses who invested in CX during that time generated three times more returns compared to those who didn’t.
In a downturn, cost-cutting becomes unavoidable. But that should never come at the cost of reducing your quality of service.
Customers should not sense even the slightest turmoil happening inside your organization due to a stressful situation. This is the time you have to show how strong you stand ahead of your competitors in dealing with such situations.
Demonstrate agility and adaptability
It seems like the conditions of the pandemic are changing on a daily basis. While these changes can be difficult to navigate, they are an opportunity for your brand to develop a sense of calm amongst the chaos.
By quickly adapting to changes and maintaining a strong brand presence, your customers will know that they can trust you to provide exceptional products while following COVID guidelines. Show your customers that you are a living and breathing organization that responds to real-world challenges with great expertise.
Implementing new strategies in CX during this time means meeting the customer exactly where they are. You have to connect to their fears and anxieties and provide them relief with your response. Assure that their investment in your product or service is safe and your company will continue to offer great service irrespective of the situation.
Create brand advocates
Companies who demonstrate their expertise during the pandemic help boost customer’s confidence in them. This is especially helpful for customers that want to know how you lead them towards light during these difficult times. This is the kill or cure situation where anything you choose would have an amplified effect on your customer base.
How to improve customer experience during a pandemic
Now that we’ve highlighted the importance of investing in CX during a pandemic, let’s look into a few ways you can improve CX during these times.
- Align with your customers’ mindset
- Adapt your customer experience strategy
- Empower your employees
1. Align with your customers' mindset
This is the most crucial aspect of CX at all times. And the pandemic has only made this more important. Before you interact with your customers, ask yourself what fears and apprehensions they might have about engaging with your brand.
Although face-to-face contact is not much of an option anymore, there are plenty of tools available to get to know your customers.
Here are a few ways to better understand your customers during the pandemic:
- Analyze their current and past behavior
- Monitor social media with listening tools. Pay attention to comments, messages, and posts that mention your brand.
- Monitor online ratings and reviews. Remember to respond to both positive and negative reviews. Relay feedback to your customer service team to fix any issues at the source.
- Calculate your net promoter score by emailing feedback surveys to customers.
2. Adapt your customer experience strategy
If there’s one thing 2020 has taught us all, it’s to be adaptable. We’ve learned that a strategy that worked well a year ago may be useless now. For example, in-person meetings have been replaced by Zoom meetings.
Take time to continually examine all of your processes. Keep tabs on what’s working, what’s not, and why. No matter what strategy you build, they all must be customer-centric and more so, human-centric.
3. Empower your employees
Up to 69% of job seekers reported they would reject a job offered by a company with a bad reputation, even when unemployed.
People want to work for companies that align with their personal values and goals. Studies have shown that investing in your employees will lead to improved customer satisfaction, reduced churn rates, and a better overall corporate reputation.
Since your employees are the face of your company, they are representing your brand every time they interact with a customer. There might be a few employees who are interacting with customers over a call. There might be other employees who are working from home day and night to meet deadlines to implement sudden changes in processes.
Your different workforce must be handling different challenges during the crisis. In order to be a human-centric employer, you must understand their pain points and think of solutions that can empower them. It is critical to boost their morale during this tough time and assure them about their job security which might be the biggest concern they have.
When we think about company crises, we often think of corporate scandals, product malfunctions, or CEO missteps. But we are all surviving a global crisis that is much bigger than any of those things.
As we continue to navigate the pandemic, we must continue thinking about humanity as a whole, and how brands can invest in themselves, their employees, and, most importantly, their customers.
Now is the time to play a bigger role in the society to which you owe a lot. Providing a great customer experience during a crisis is not just a business opportunity but an opportunity to showcase your brand’s character.
You have to no doubt think about the sustainability of your business, but when you align your business with the greater good there is nothing that can stop your progress towards a brighter future.