Prioritising Customer eXperience (CX) is one of the best ways that businesses can get ahead of the competition in 2020. No longer is it a race to the bottom on price. CX initiatives take priority with more than 80% of buyers stating that they’re willing to pay more for a product or service if the customer experience is better. In this article, we look at some CX tips in COVID times.
What is customer experience?
To begin with, it’s important to understand what customer experience is. It goes way beyond customer service and product quality – your customer experience is the way you make your customers feel in their interactions with you.
As Forbes suggests, even if you have a high-quality product but it arrives damaged, or there are delays with shipping and delivery, your customer experience will be poor –that’s the experience and perception that the customer has had with your brand. If you’re just starting with your CX journey, read more on how to improve your CX here.
CX tips in COVID times:
Now we’ve got to grips with what CX is, take a look at some of our tips for improving your customer experience during and after COVID.
1. Review your priorities
There’s no better (for want of a better word) time than a pandemic to review your business priorities. Not only for growth, but also reconsidering budgets and resource allocation.
Before coronavirus, your priorities and budgets may have been skewed towards customer acquisition, exploring new marketing channels or growing your customer service team. It’s important to review and reallocate the resources and budgets as necessary to deal with not only the short-term effects of the pandemic and local lockdowns, but also the medium- to long-term effects, including shifts in customer behaviour and expectations.
CX-wise, your new priorities may involve making your customer communications clearer, particularly if you are facing supply, manufacturing or demand issues. You may look at investing in chatbots and/or additional customer service channels to better serve your audience, or into creating a self-service solution for your prospects and customers to find help whenever they need it.
2. Listen to your customers
Now is a great time to gather some customer feedback. Think about using surveys or sending automated emails to your current customers to uncover their insights, and be sure to also proactively reach out to your previous customer base, too.
By investing in conversations with your customers now, their feedback will help drive your decision-making process, as well as highlighting the priorities for your business moving forwards.
It’s also a great time to start gathering reviews. With more and more transactions shifting away from brick-and-mortar stores than ever before due to the pandemic, reviews are essential for customers who shop online, with up to 84% of shoppers trusting online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations from friends and family members. You can gather reviews on your social channels, Google My Business, website or even on review platforms such as Feefo.
3. Focus on retention strategies
Interestingly, research has shown that 89% of companies see customer experience as a key factor in driving customer loyalty and retention.
While new customer acquisition is undeniably important during this time, retention strategies are critical for successful businesses. Multiple independent studies have shown that loyal customers spend an average of 41% more, are more likely to recommend you to their friends, colleagues and family, and are four times as likely to be sold to than a new customer.
4. Work alongside your customer service team
While CX is about more than just customer service, the function definitely has a big role to play in creating a positive customer experience. As the voice of your brand (and the department most likely to interact directly with your customers), your customer service team needs to be thoroughly briefed and supported during this period.
Beyond that, you also want to ensure that their conversations are fed back into the wider team such as customer trends, reoccurring issues or FAQs. Consider listening in to a few team calls, reading chat transcripts or creating a feedback loop to make sure that customer concerns are acknowledged and prioritised.
To finish, the global pandemic is a good time to step back and reflect on your CX strategy. As a focus point for most modern businesses, good CX leads to better customer retention, increased customer loyalty and a significant increase in customer referrals. By working with your customer service team, listening to feedback, prioritizing current customers and reviewing your budget and resource allocations, you can take control of your Customer experience strategy during Covid times.