Customer experience providers are not in Kansas anymore. The widespread trauma of COVID-19 has changed people at a visceral level, so CX delivery has to evolve to better serve the emotional needs of pandemic-era customers.
Nearly everyone on Earth has been facing an unprecedented level of vulnerability and isolation brought about by forced quarantine and the tragic loss of friends, relations, jobs, and businesses. Societies around the world have become sensitive, paranoid, and nostalgic for a time when activities like eating a buffet, meeting friends in a bar, or flying to a holiday destination weren’t inherently risky.
As long as Coronavirus is around, customers will expect brand experiences that evoke empathy, understanding, and adaptability. Organizations that fail to pivot towards this approach will quickly lose favorability and trust among customers, damaging their reputation faster than ever before.
In this article, we explore some of the ways that CX delivery should evolve and how companies can begin to meet the needs of the post-COVID customer.
Employee Experience First
As CX providers, our first responsibility is providing incredible experiences to our employees, which naturally leads to enhanced customer experiences. If we can empathize with our employees and adapt to their needs during and after the pandemic, they will instinctually pass on that empathy and flexibility to customers.
Reducing unnecessary stress within the workforce is paramount. If work can be done at home, it should always be prioritized. Ordering staff to return to the office too soon will pressure people, fill them with unease, and force them to risk their health, which will lead to negative impacts on their ability to provide great CX.
Here at Activus Connect, we’ve been empowering and elevating our Ambassadors since before the pandemic and will continue to do so afterward. Our employees are fully equipped to offer great CX, well-aware of the hypersensitivity that people are experiencing. Working safely at home, our teams are relaxed, stress-free, and out of harm’s way, allowing them to focus on the needs of their customers instead of worrying about themselves and their families.
Customer Behavior and Brand Trust
Almost every decision we make today involves an element of Coronavirus doubt. Can we take that holiday right now? Should we organize a party? Is it the right time to spend money if the economy is in danger?
Purchasing behaviors have changed completely, so brands need to understand how those behaviors might impact their business and then adapt to stay relevant to their customers. Trust and confidence are huge elements of this, as customers need assurance that the products or services on offer will either help them during this crisis, add value to their lives, or allow them to forget about their troubles for a while.
To achieve this, companies need a CX strategy that takes their existing customer journey into account and incorporates steps to improve it. Organizations that can leverage any familiarity that customers associate with them will re-establish trust in their brand, while those who can identify opportunities to lead in the new normal will inspire more confidence moving forward.
Consider working with a CX partner like Activus Connect that can help formulate this strategy and introduce innovative changes to the customer journey.
Virtual is Here to Stay
Now that working from home has become the norm for most people, the general consensus is that if something can be done virtually, it should be. In the realm of CX delivery, the implementation of virtual tools and business models will result in a competitive advantage for those who can leverage them successfully.
The continuous need to enable a virtual workforce will accelerate the advancements of remote working technology, video communications, internet infrastructure, and mobile broadband, along with the emergence of new innovative applications in virtual reality, augmented reality, the Internet of Things, AI, and other technologies. As this occurs, customers will expect brands to meet them and communicate with them more efficiently, effectively, and through new channels, all of which are possible in a SmartVirtual™ environment.
Moreover, while we hope that social distancing is not something we have to endure forever, people need to be ready to stay at home in the event of another wave or a new virus. The only risk mitigation strategy in that scenario is virtual CX delivery—that’s the bottom line.
Ultimately, the future of CX is SmartVirtual™, and CX providers that cling to traditional operations in brick-and-mortar environments present a higher risk to brands in the event of another pandemic.