COVID-19 has created fear in the minds of people and social distancing is the war-cry of the hour now. Given a situation like this, if your organization has not faced changes in the way sales are being done or in the way customers are being serviced, then know that you are going wrong somewhere. In a world that is grappling with coronavirus, it is going to be challenging to keep customers loyal. This applies to all industries and businesses—large or small. However, by adapting to the current situation, you can deliver to your customers the experience that they deserve.
Here are a few recommendations.
Not all industries have gone into a complete shutdown. In fact, there are some industries that are still continuing with their business, if anything with a greater demand than before. If you’re a service provider, identify industries where the current crisis creates a need for new engagement models and services—whether that’s supply chain, software, eCommerce, online marketing or customer support. You can expand your business into new verticals. For example, home delivery of food and groceries from restaurants and stores is going to see increased demand and require expanded operational models, while maintaining strict rules about hygiene and social distancing. So, if you are in the business of food and consumer retail, you can leverage this to drive up CX delivery. This not only means delivering prepared food, but also other new engagement models, for instance, creating a webpage where easy to prepare recipes are discussed, interactive email newsletters where puzzles and games are shared to make the staying-at-home period more fun, and the delivery of essential ingredients are facilitated. Now is the time to focus on the end-to-end buyer’s journey of the customer.
Learn From Competition
While you brainstorm with your team to come up with new ways to drive customer engagement, you must also look around to see what innovative ideas your competitors or other businesses in different industries are adopting. These are times when creativity and innovation will be a major differentiating factor and irrespective of size or vertical, you should take inspiration from other businesses. For example, you can learn from even the smallest cafes around you. There is an Italian restaurant that is offering meals that can be frozen and kept for several days, and another that is providing a roll of toilet paper with every order.
Talk to Your Customers
Innovation is needed by businesses to evolve their CX. As you brainstorm you will come up with many ideas. However, before implementing them, you first need to know what your customers really want during these trying times. For this you must first:
- Have your team reach out to your customers through phone calls and emails
- Have a team to analyse the email responses and the customer calls to find out what they are looking for
- Hit the pause button on strategies that are no longer working
- Come up with new ideas while remembering to keep the idea simple and easy to implement
Be Compassionate Towards Your Employees
These are unprecedented times never faced before. Customers are anxious, companies’ budgets have shrunk due to operational lock-downs and multiple factors combined are driving up the stress levels of employees. Your employees thus need to be taken care of. They could be your frontline staff who are taking calls from customers, they might be handling the backend IT work, or they could be improving your brand image even though they are working remotely from home. It is only when you invest time in them that they will be able to face the uncertainty with greater ease. This will translate into serving customers better.
Improve Your Mobile Presence
As people stay inside at home, the usage of mobile phones has significantly risen and now this is not solely restricted to the younger generation. So, now is the time when you should optimize the mobile experience for your customers. For example:
- The CTAs that you want to highlight should be within the thumb zone on the mobile. This will help as it means that the customer does not have to stretch to get to an important CTA.
- Remove non-essential information and make the appearance cleaner – this helps customers to understand and navigate better
- The web pages should load quickly and the design should be such that important information does not get cut off
Be More CSR Driven
This time of a global pandemic is a time when being CSR driven will help you to improve your CX. A study has shown that customers are responding better to brands that are offering free services, flexi-payment plans, and helping to produce essential items.
For example, the fitness app FitBit has extended the period of free trial of their premium model. So, if you want to have a positive impact on your customers’ minds, you need to make a positive impact on society.
Salesforce also took a commendable initiative called Salesforce Care for small businesses to help them sustain themselves during these unprecedented times.
As millions across the world spend their days in isolation, there is anxiety and insecurity all around. So, what you do as a brand to engage with customers and ease their stress will play a huge part in their loyalty towards you. CX, after all, is now the new barometer of success.