Customer Experience (CX) during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced many changes to our daily lives, both personally and professionally, including how businesses are interacting with their customers. Many businesses are creating new customer touchpoints that were not previously used or tested. No matter what industry, workers are likely feeling stressed and that stress may bleed into customer interactions. These are real challenges and there will likely be both positive and negative customer experiences as a result.
The businesses that lead with their customer centric culture and continue to deliver positive experiences during challenging times will create increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.
Trends You May Be Experiencing
- Safety and Cleanliness - Has been introduced and is now at the forefront of the customer experience, especially when the experience is physical. For example, it is now common protocol to wipe down and sanitize equipment daily and in some cases even before every customer interaction.
- E-Commerce, Mobile, and Digital Offerings - Although the e-Commerce and mobile customer experience has been growing for years, COVID-19 is pushing more adoption. These platforms allow for customers to interact with a business virtually without physically needing to be present. Some examples include: remote and mobile ordering and transaction processing, order fulfillment (from a DC or store), and delivery. Over the past few years, companies like Amazon have led this model. Do not be surprised if companies start to challenge traditional sales channels and prioritize and migrate more of their business to e-Commerce.
- Curb Side Pick-up and Additional Delivery Options - Some companies are expanding their curb side pick-up and delivery options (e.g., community centers, directly to a customer's home). In some cases, those options were not previously offered.
- Limited Product Options - Some companies are simplifying or streamlining their product offerings to focus on those most important and critical to meet the customer's immediate needs. This may allow them to lower costs, improve quality and manage workload with a smaller or stressed workforce.
- Physical Workforce Stress - Some employees of essential businesses cannot be virtual. They must be in person to provide vital healthcare services, manufacturing, inventory, utility and other service offerings. Companies are fully aware of the impact that employee stress has on the customer experience. In response, companies have started to further invest in additional benefits such as bonuses, childcare and paid sick leave that help lessen the burden.
- The New Virtual Workplace - Every employee has an opportunity to impact customer experience and organizational culture. Many corporate workers are working remotely from home. For most, this is introducing various personal impacts to their day (e.g. home schooling, family time, personal responsibilities) which are creating changes to how they normally operate. Those changes and stresses can impact overall customer experience. It is important that companies consider the impact of the new virtual workplace, where there might be competing interests that could impact traditional or historical customer experience methods.
- Virtual Events - As most in-person events have been cancelled or postponed, we are seeing many organizations turn to virtual events and seminars to build their brand awareness and create customer interactions at a time when physical interaction is limited.
We Can Help
We stand ready to help you navigate the new risk landscape and have the expertise and capabilities to assist you and your organization through this difficult time. We can provide strategy and project consulting, full outsourcing, co-sourcing, or staff augmentation. We have a deep bench of cross-industry experience and a history of helping our clients through short-term and long-term challenges.