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COVID and the Customer Experience

Let’s face it, COVID-19 has overwhelmed lives and livelihoods around the globe. For vulnerable individuals and the customer teams that serve them, it has also forced a rethinking of what customer care means. For CX leaders, the five-year plan turned into the five-day plan. Businesses without a customer focus floundered as they tried to work out what the five-week plan was. And customers noticed.

Customer experience has always been a moving target. What a customer expects from your business is not only based on their experiences with you and your competitors, but also on experiences they’ve had with brands like Netflix and Amazon.

And, quite frankly, standing still means falling behind. Customers won’t tolerate a poor experience – regardless of who they’re interacting with.

Humanizing the experience

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need to take into consideration the customers’ state of mind. It has now become more important than ever that companies protect and empower their customers who are in vulnerable situations.

Customers are tired of meaningless connections. Connections built on shared values and purpose are a powerful way to build unbreakable bonds. Smart companies have begun transformations to build stronger more meaningful relationships with customers – and provide better service. Enterprises that excel at delivering empathy and safety at scale will outperform those that do not.

Taking care of home

In times of crisis, caring for customers starts with thinking first about employees.

Moving to remote work, encountering unusual circumstances due to the pandemic, and additional emotional tensions can all add to customer service burnout. Employees that are not feeling their best will not be able to perform at their best for customers either. And a lack of face-to-face contact means that it is difficult to pick up everyday signals that an employee is unwell – or they are unhappy in their role.

If this goes unaddressed, not only will companies risk losing customers; contact centers can face the risk of losing agents. They will then have to spend more efforts and funds to rehire, retrain, and re-engage new agents. Skillful management, the right tools, and effectively implemented stress coping strategies are key.

Accelerating digital strategies

The first days and weeks of the pandemic forced companies to initiate significant changes to their customer experience. Companies had to quickly solve business problems – shifting from physical locations to work from home, for example. This contributed to the need to accelerate their digital strategies – or quickly implement one. Those that acted quickly and innovated in their delivery model

to help customers navigate the pandemic safely and effectively established a strong advantage.

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