Last updated: Customer experience and COVID-19: Lip service vs meaningful change

Customer experience and COVID-19: Lip service vs meaningful change


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Just as the world was beginning to understand what the customer experience means, everything changed. Now those of us working in the experience field are facing a new reckoning: how do we address customer experience and COVID-19? How do we deliver what our customers need when those needs are continually changing?

While scrolling through my personal emails the other night, I was amazed at the number of COVID-19-related messages I received from brands that I frequent.

As a professional, I’m obviously aware of the need for every business to respond to the pandemic. But I also tend to believe that customers worldwide are receiving a flood of “we’re with you” communications, most of which don’t resonate, or, quite frankly, appear empty of substance.

Actions speak louder than words, and as more and more businesses begin to reopen, it’s time to think about making changes for your consumers that might be bigger, more substantive, and perhaps longer-term.

In order to do that – communicate and be relevant – each business should put themselves in their customer’s feet and truly assess if there is an impact:

  • Are your new safety precautions tangible and impactful?
  • Are you offering your customers something meaningful that will improve their lives—such as a change in return policy, or more flexible billing options?
  • Are you proactively asking them what else they might need, and showing them you’re listening by “closing the loop?” Easier said than done?

Your customers certainly know the difference between lip service and meaningful change, and they’ll remember the brands who were truly there for them during this crisis – be sure to consider options for doing exactly this kind of substantive communication.

Customer experience and COVID-19: Making meaningful changes to your CX and employee experience

Beyond communication, this crisis means that business have to change their core ways of working, whether it’s safer conditions for employees or greater flexibility and work-from-home arrangements.

It also means rethinking how you sell your goods and services to your customers.

Businesses who sell through retail partners need to adapt to a heavier focus on direct-to-consumer selling. This results into a better e-commerce experience, and requires knowing end consumers better.

To do that, I recommend assessing your current process: are they adaptable to this new way of working?

This can be a substantial effort, with a need to make adjustments to:

  1. Manufacturing
  2. Merchandizing and promotions
  3. Order-taking
  4. Fulfillment
  5. Delivery

You’ll also need to ask yourself how your supply chain has changed, which changes are likely to be temporary, and which may potentially become the new normal?

What do your customers need that you might not be providing, and how can your business start to provide it?

There’s nothing easy about what we’re collectively going through now, but this is also a genuine opportunity to adapt and thrive in the future.

Learn more about how to build a customer-centric culture HERE.

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