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Customer Experience in the face of COVID-19

  May 15, 2020
 

With the social and economic disruption brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is fair to say that the customer experience may not be front of mind for many businesses right now. The main business worries now are profits, bottom lines, salaries, expenses and just keeping your business afloat.

As the novel Coronavirus forces people into a digital-only way of life, businesses need to give virtual experiences with a human touch. People and brands have an emotional component just like any other relationship. Your business’s relationship with customers is built over time, nourished by experiences along many online and physical touchpoints in their journey, grounded in expectations, and confirmed through repeated interactions.

What is Customer Experience?

Customer experience is the impression you leave with your customer, resulting in how they think of your brand, across every stage of the customer journey. (HubSpot 2020)

Why is Customer Experience Important?

It is important to ensure your customers get a positive customer experience since this helps build brand loyalty and affinity. (HubSpot 2020). A positive customer experience equates to the retention of customers and earning new ones.

What Next for Customer Experience?

Today your customers are probably going to be seated at home on a mobile phone or a laptop, bored, restless, and maybe looking through different websites or even shopping. How can you improve their experience?

  1. Rethink your customer journey. Businesses need to restrategize their customer journey, it is not business as usual, a lot has changed in the last few months. For instance, mobile web traffic has risen drastically with more consumers spending more time on their mobile devices, on social media, and messaging apps. During this time products and services that are in high demand should now be brought to the front on your website. This will help in streamlining the customer journey and make it easier for consumers to easily find what they are looking for.
  2. Ensure you are upfront and clear with your customers. This pandemic period has brought with it a lot of uncertainty and customers are looking for reliability and ease. This is the perfect opportunity to reassure them that business is going on, albeit not as usual, and there is no reason for panic. A few small tweaks to the content and language on your website’s homepage, product and services pages, and checkout processes can go a very long way.
  3. Get recent data. Data plays a major role when it comes to customer experience management. It is ardent that businesses understand new customer shopping and buying behaviors. A lot has changed over the past 4 or so months, shopping patterns, transport, work. Analysts 3 months ago wouldn’t have predicted consumers would be buying face masks, hand sanitizers, and PPEs, but here we are. World governments are already releasing data-driven tools to help businesses manage this crisis. If your business is going to get ahead of this crisis then you must plan as close to real-time as possible, by relying on the most recent consumer data sources. This will go a long way in pinpointing your business to where you need to focus your customer experience efforts in terms of your products and services.

Research from Gallup shows that engaged B2C customers “return a 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue and relationship growth over the average customer,” and that engaged B2B customers lead to 50% greater revenue, 34% higher profitability, and 63% lower customer attrition.

“Just like you, your customers are enduring massive upheaval,” wrote Jennifer Robison, a senior editor at Gallup. “They’re making difficult decisions too: who can be trusted, who will help make things better, who keeps their promises. And when this crisis is behind us, as it surely will be, customers will remember the brands that satisfied their rational needs and those that genuinely met their emotional needs during a very tough time.”

For many businesses around the world, Covid-19 is proving to be a stress test for their customer experiences. Businesses must thus strive to minimize disruption and support customers more than ever; this means keeping your customer experience front and center of your marketing and communications strategy.

References

  1. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/298520/covid-customers-game-plan-retention.aspx
  2. https://blog.hubspot.com/service/what-is-customer-experience

 



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