How to Deliver Your Best Customer Experience Strategy in Uncertain Times 📝
Your customer experience strategy is now a central aspect of your turnaround business strategy in 2021. What did people do differently before the crisis? All of these changes are creating a huge impact on customers’ willingness to pay.
Customer experience has been the #1 indicator that differentiates a brand from others. Did you know that customer churn happens as often as 1 in 3 people after a bad experience?
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how businesses interact with their customers. Most consumers feel safer with online transactions and prefer nearby stores for their essential needs, nowadays. This indicates that shopping frequency and discretionary spending have changed completely.
On top of this, contingency plans were thrown out of the window with no backup plans to replace them. Customer experience has become a challenge as buying patterns have changed drastically. Should product prices remain the same?
In this article, we will continue to discuss customer experience strategy and re-sets. We will focus on how real businesses have coped with the crisis and how they are revising their customer experience strategy to regain pricing power.
Companies cannot rely on old methods of doing business. In fact, a key to surviving through any crises lies in a company’s ability to adjust its customer experience strategy, channels, business practices, or models. Brands should elevate a customer experience strategy with innovative platforms such as eCommerce and the digitalisation of other transactions.
For instance, to reduce physical interaction to lessen the risks of spreading the virus, most retailers have responded by offering free home deliveries for customers who are more than 65 years old. To aid compliance, stores also limit the number of people who can enter and place markers for physical distancing practices.
In addition, e-commerce and online food delivery businesses worldwide are providing contactless options. All of these are aimed towards convenience, simplicity, security, and safety.
What is customer experience?
In a nutshell, it is how customers feel about their overall interaction with a business. So, how do you ensure customer relationship management? SuperOffice says 74% of customer experience influences loyalty – and compared to 3 yrs ago, 60% of customers now have more power.
On the other hand, 59% switch to other brands due to poor customer experience. While 86% are willing to pay 13% to 18% more for a better experience. Depending on customer experiences, a 10 out of 10 rating generates 2.4x more revenue.
Did you know that 49% made an impulse purchase after a personalised shopping experience? Generally, customers also spend 140% more because of positive experiences. And take note, loyal customers last up to 6 years if you remain consistent with your best customer experience strategy.
Customer Experience Strategy
50% of a customer’s perception and feelings about a business are largely dependent on customer service and connection to ads. They can make or break a customer relationship. So, we suggest some creative ways to build lasting customer relationship management below:
1. The first step is to do qualitative customer research. What is important to customers? Did you know that an investment in customer relationship management can generate as much as $700m in 3 years or a 70% increase in profit?
2. Create a customer journey map. This acknowledges the step-by-step customer interaction with the business and identifies any pain points. From there, you can figure out how to fix them. Consumer research has consistently shown that 50% of customer experience rating is based on emotions.
3. Personalised communication such as sending a “thank you card” after a purchase or sending birthday greetings via e-mail or text shows customers that you care. In fact, customers hate businesses who only think about money. So, know their pain points and show that you care.
4. Prioritise listening to customers. Customer service is only a small part of the customer experience. What are their emotional triggers, anxieties, desires, and motivations? Highlight how you solve their problems and share how you help them reach their goals through your services. Do you help them with financial security or achieve data privacy? Do you help them save time or simplify complicated information and tasks?
Choose a specific communication channel via social media, e-mail, or your website page by employing automated weekend or 24/7 chat services. Self-service options are common these days. So, take time to optimise your omni-channel, eCommerce platforms, inventory management, pricing tools and marketing automation.
With bank branches and non-essential stores closed, many customers turn to other channels for their questions and requests. So, service companies in telcos and banks have modified their customer service centres. Some European telcos provided 10,000 laptops and tools/systems for remote arrangements.
Other businesses have enhanced their options, optimising their information digitally – just like Erdos Group’s virtual product consultations. Similarly, in the airline industry, customers who experience travel cancellations can get in touch through the airline’s website.
To sum it up, companies that offer customers extra guidance and support will sustain communication and engagement.
5. Create a system that accepts regular feedback. Then analyse and take action on their answers. Using the facts generated from customer research and interview, optimise an innovative customer journey map. It will help you implement a consistent improvement of products and services. Furthermore, authentic reviews and testimonials help you set your marketing segmentation and targeting.
Highlight their successful experiences, minimise faults, and implement these as part of your company’s values. Focus on convenience, simplicity, ease of use, flexibility through digitalisation, and active communication channels.
6. Embed a culture of development and coaching within the organisational function. When core values are defined, these guiding principles should be a major part of training.
For example, Google’s mission statement is “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” They prioritise access to the world’s information in one click and sharing of new ideas with global accessibility. Their core values include:
“Focus on users and all else will follow.”
“Fast is better than slow.”
“Democracy on the web works.”
“There’s always more information out there.”
7. Storytelling through emotional connection has to be relatable, personalised, educational, and memorable through:
– Before After bridge (the comparison before they used your services vs. after you solved their problems.)
– Attention Interest Desire Action (capture their attention, incite interest and desires, then ask them to take action.)
– Promise, Photo, Proof, and Push with the product.
– Connection plots are stories about coming together (brands like Tentree, Airbnb, Facebook, Dove for real beauty campaign.)
– Well-timed humor and creative plots (like Spotify’s say it with music, or Goldieblox toys for the future female engineer.)
Innovating through business strategy tips
Businesses should quickly adapt their product portfolio to address constantly changing demands. Along with these changes, price strategies must be applied too. For instance, restaurants added extra charges to cover the expenses for sanitising services.
Then there are distillery companies that thrived through partnerships with refineries that use ethanol supplies in order to provide materials for hand sanitisers.
There are those who also stepped up to address the growing demand for more medical supplies and personal protective equipment. Even clothing companies had manufactured thousands of urgently needed face masks to respond to a drop in clothing/retail sales.
Take the case of automotive manufacturers who have shifted their production to produce ventilators. For instance, General Motors has collaborated with a US-based medical device company to create respiratory equipment.
Company leaders who display their commitment to both customers and communities are creating alternatives to keep doing meaningful business regardless of significant reductions in supply and demand for non-essential products.
1. Assist customers who are financially struggling
It’s not only individuals, but hundreds of small businesses face huge losses after being forced to reduce operations for an unknown period of time. The key responsibility for loyalty acquisition is how businesses can provide flexible solutions for their customers. For example, Telcos won’t terminate services or enforce late-payment fees for an additional 60 days for the time being.
Electric companies also don’t cut off electricity due to non-payment. Even travel companies in the airline industry waive cancellation fees. Similarly, Burger King has stepped in for families who rely on school lunches to feed their children. It provides two free kids meals to customers who buy using the Burger King app.
2. Support ‘stay at home’ customers emotionally
Some companies want to make indoors more fun while ensuring customer well-being as more families spend time at home. Thus, access to online services for school and work pushed Telcos to provide free unlimited data for 60 days to all mobile customers with data plans.
Also, entertainment companies are taking a similar business strategy by releasing content in advance. Walt Disney released family-friendly blockbusters three months earlier than planned on its streaming platform Disney+. Other businesses too, have launched online services that offer recipes and other skill-building courses.
3. A shift towards online convenience
Companies have had to shift customers to online channels that previously relied on physical operations because of directives and regulations. For instance, membership gyms now offer hundreds of free online home exercise courses.
On the other hand, companies with virtual capabilities, like Cisco’s Webex, assisted schools and universities as they transitioned to remote learning. They provide free tools for teachers, students, and parents to support the online learning journey.
To build and scale online channels with significant demand from customers’ needs increasingly becoming digital, the shift will keep dramatically increasing online traffic, post-pandemic.
Establishing Long-term Connections with Customers
Major companies are revolving around meeting customer needs as socially concerned companies in all sectors try to find ways to support communities. The pandemic is an opportunity for business leaders to establish and maximise their brand. Ultimately, leading empathetically creates true connections that will outlive the socio-economic effects of the crisis.
- Companies can create a foundation of goodwill and long-lasting emotional connections with customers if they revise their customer experience strategy efforts. This enables them to meet the fundamental needs of their customers, like convenience, security, and safety.
- Innovative product portfolios can provide a better customer experience strategy. Business owners also need to show their commitment to communities by creating alternatives, despite a considerable drop in demand for certain services.
- With these changes, companies should consider price transformations to cope with the challenges. Cross-functioning teams in sales, customer service, and marketing should work with pricing teams to build pricing capability.
Socially aware organisations across sectors look for ways to get involved and support their customers and the communities. Customer relationship management creates potential and loyal clients especially in times of crisis.
The pandemic has caused a slowdown in business operations, especially in non-essential markets. But adapting to changing times and consumer demands, coupled with customer relationship management by optimising customer experience strategy, and revising organisational functions – businesses will outlast the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
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