How customers interact with companies is fundamentally changing due to COVID-19. Additionally, their customer experience (CX) expectations aren’t the same as they once were because of various shifts in sentiment and accessibility.
Shelter-in-place orders prevent many people from heading to businesses for assistance, leaving them relying heavily on technology. Additionally, the percentage of the population that is struggling is increasing rapidly, changing the overall climate.
Companies that want to come out ahead during these unique times need to look at CX from a new angle. Otherwise, they may fail to meet the need of today’s customers. If you want to understand how COVID-19 is redefining CX, here’s what you need to know.
The Impact of Social Isolation and Struggle
Empathy is no longer optional when dealing with customers. Most companies are seeing their customer base struggling. Many people are experiencing trials they would never have fathomed were possible, including sudden job losses and limited opportunities. Plus, the lack of human interaction is trying for the majority, impacting their mood dramatically.
Companies need to understand that today’s customer might not be satisfied with automated systems and canned answers. Spending minutes navigating complex menus and circular options aren’t going to fly, not with frustration levels already high.
Instead, customers want to be heard and understood by a person. If you’re going to enhance CX, you need to recognize that this desire for connection is a critical part of the equation. You need to make sure that your teams are both accessible and empathetic. You need to ensure that your employees are ready to go the extra mile and understand that each customer is an individual, one that may be experiencing hardships that aren’t easy to picture. Otherwise, you may lose the CX battle.
The Need to Abandon the Hard Sell
When customers are dealing with financial hardships, it isn’t time to make a hard sell. While many companies are seeing sales diminish, that doesn’t mean you should be aggressively sending out 10 percent-off coupon alerts via text or email.
Instead, if you want to enhance CX, you need to step into the shoes of your customer. During COVID-19, that means understanding their concerns so that you can showcase value in the right areas.
Consider what you can offer that customers may find uplifting, such as a free product that is purely for their enjoyment. Alternatively, showcase ways that you are supporting communities or can help them care for friends and family members. For example, highlighting donations of safety equipment to hospitals could work. Similarly, thanking customers for their purchases by giving something free to one of their family members who might be in need could be viable options.
The important thing to understand is that customer priorities are changing. If your CX approach doesn’t change with it, you aren’t going to maintain critical connections that lead to long-term relationships.
The Time to Repair Your Digital Experience
Customers have to rely on online resources more now than usual. If any part of your digital experience is broken, there’s a good chance they’ll notice.
While you don’t want to entirely revamp your online presence, do fix aspects that aren’t working correctly. For example, find broken links and repair them. If there are lags in the system, recurring errors, or other issues that negatively impact CX, address them.
Ultimately, it’s wise to scour your site and app to identify hiccups in the customer journey. If you can repair your digital experience, do so. That way, your customers will have an easier time getting around, eliminating a potential frustration from their lives.