It’s been several weeks now, that the outburst of Coronavirus or COVID-19, to put it right, has affected the entire world. Several countries’ economies are at stake, companies have withdrawn many projects, delay in employee’s appraisals, and human contacts are limited. In this pandemic time, customers resort to virtual communication or telecommuting to curb the spread of the virus by working from home and buying stuff online.
If your customers never demanded online feasibility, they will certainly be doing it now. It’s easy to say that brands who have put their customers first and provide them with multiple streams to connect are the ones who focus more on CX. In the end, prioritizing your customers will help build long term relationships and assist in positive brand building.
Here’s how companies can leverage CX during turbulent times.
Prioritize Customers, Not Profit
Profit is essential in Q1, but companies shouldn’t focus on fee-driven revenue for the time being. Companies should focus more on knowing what customers want and caring for them. The focus should be more on the medium-term, long-term, and life span value of the customer.
Ideally, brands should be more focused and empathetic towards every single customer and consider the pain they are going through in this rough time. The best a brand can do is to waive off the late payment charges, allow users to use the services for free for an extended period, increase the validity of their account, and other expenses that can pose a severe threat to the customer.
Being generous towards your customers will build loyalty and long-term relationships. Companies who show an act of goodwill will recover faster from the treacherous economic shutdown brought by this pandemic. Even better, they will have brand advocates who will act as referrals in times of need.
Be genuine in all your communications – be external or internal. Having corporate words will only worsen the situation and make customers unhappy. Everybody around the world knows what’s going on, and the recovery time is oblivious. While some companies use this opportunity to tell customers what step they’ve always taken to protect customers during bad times, some companies would boast about their work-life balance and work from home concept.
Customers want to hear what’s in for them from the brand they care about and how it will help them. The best message would be in the form of a letter, or an email from the CEO or the President, assuring them in simple terms about the steps taken to help mitigate the risk.
Turn Customer Friendly
The entire call center functioning works on rigid corporate policies and guidelines. It’s not the time to enroll your customers into anything complicated. Imagine, customers, calling you with certain expectations, and turning unhappy customers due to hard procedures and service level agreements (SLA’s), no company would want to lose customers in this time.
Now is the time to go over-edge on consumers with their requirements, and respond smoothly. Moreover, it’s crucial to equip every customer service representative with adequate information & training on how to return to customers during bad times.
Listen and Listen
Customers give honest feedback during troubled times. They will continue to buy your product, use your services, and continue to interact with your customer service or customer experience team. Keeping your customer feedback system open will eventually help you understand how good your company did and the areas of improvement.
You can draw actionable insights from unstructured customer feedback data; analyze responses through a CX platform with useful and straightforward statistical methods.
Consider your employees too.
Employees are the first internal customers in any organization. They stand tall in every given situation and act as a strong pillar to face situations. Employees go through a different level of stress in cases like this. Beyond economic despair, there are various issues they deal with – how to handle kids, work from home challenges, maintain productivity, and, more importantly, the health and safety of each one.
Companies need not just focus on improving customer experience but focus equally on employee experience as well. They need to come up with solutions that will ensure health safety, financial & job security, and confidence for employees. Companies should also find ways to impress employees so that they can step into customer shoes and make things easy for them.
Online Strategy as Contingency Measure
Nobody knows when the pandemic will subside and what impact will it bring to the economy. The brands that stood for customers now will be the next favorable brand amongst the people and be a loyal brand for many years to come. With few points like the below, brands will do wonders.
- Easy to reach customer service team
- Effective customer experience platform for feedback
- Waiver on late fees, surcharge or any charge that acts as a nuisance for customer
- Easy online-order and fulfillment service
- Educate customers
Every customer-facing professional will agree. Companies or brands that heard the customers today will eventually see a steady increase in new customers and also the retention of existing customers once the pandemic is over.
There is no end to customer satisfaction. There is also no use to pinch pennies on customer experience. Everyone is sailing in the same boat of turmoil and mayhem. Either brand does something to stand out than their competitors or lose customers. Whatever the case is, handling both employees and customers equally, empathizing with them is the need of the hour.