The shockwaves from the COVID-19 epidemic are resounding throughout businesses worldwide and will continue to be felt for many years to come. The impacts have affected every sector. And while some businesses have suffered, others have been able to motivate their customers to continue buying and keep returning.
Truly understanding your customer is always the starting point to success with CX. It’s no surprise that in some sectors the link between poor customer insight and falling sales is inextricable.
What businesses have remained successful in these times? Those that retain their customer centricity – or as we like to call it, customer love.
Positive customer relationships have been maintained by those companies who have supported and guided their customers through the crisis. Supportive and practical information from organisations to their base has brought customers ‘on-side’.
Customer insight is key. Effective utilisation of customer feedback has identified any shortfalls and provided the necessary intelligence to enable any gaps to be closed. Effective two-way communications have provided the timely capture of possible or future demands, enabling needs to be anticipated.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, then you can’t just do a good job. You need to surprise and delight your customers, make them fall in love with you and come back for more.
Employees also deserve some love. As the Service Profit Chain model demonstrated, a company’s profitability and growth are as a result of both customer and employee satisfaction. Continuing investment needs to be made into employees. Their satisfaction is just as important as customer satisfaction because if your employees are committed and engaged then they are more productive and each and every one acts as an ambassador for your brand.
Our advice at the start of the lockdown highlighted how companies could maintain and improve customer relationships and employee engagement.
- Provided that you have a customer experience programme set up, then keep asking for feedback – if you send invites to surveys, then make sure you keep data feeds running and that you are giving your customers the opportunity to communicate. Many organisations are increasing the amount of feedback they are seeking at the moment.
- Close the loop – responding to feedback is always critical but now, more than ever, your customers need to know you are listening. Your Marketing Comms teams will be sending Coronavirus updates to your customers but the closed loop process enables you to give personal attention, have a two way conversation, and make sure your customers know you care about them and their business.
- Ignore the score – if your CX programme includes metrics and scores like NPS or Customer Effort Score, relax some of your focus on the score and pay more attention to the comments you receive.
- Share positive feedback – where customers are commenting positively about your company and the service you provide, make sure you share that feedback internally. During times of uncertainty your employees need to know that they are doing a good job, it keeps them engaged, motivated and positive.
- Consider an employee engagement survey or forum – if you usually run an annual employee survey, think about running one now with a follow up in 10 -12 weeks time. There is a danger that employees who normally work together but are now homeworking feel disconnected so daily “welfare calls” from managers coupled with a structured, anonymous survey gives you the opportunity to understand and respond to any issues or improvements that you can make.
Lockdown is gradually lifting and government support will soon be at an end. To aid future recovery it has never been more essential to focus on your customer. An investment into CX is an investment into your future. Organisations that can and do will be the ones that bounce back with renewed vigour in what is increasingly being recognised as a changed economic landscape.
CXCo works with a wide range of business and consumer brands to understand their customers and employees better, optimise relationships and rekindle the love.