The fast-changing threat around the COVID-19 virus, referred to as Coronavirus, is ruthlessly impacting the investor community and business across the world. The interconnected and global nature of today’s business environment brings the serious risk of disturbance of global supply chains.
Now, that’s causing a significant loss of revenue besides adversely impacting global economies.
This impact on the global economy is expected to increase as per the extent of the geographic spread of this virus. However, the pandemic has already mercilessly impacted the global economy.
Particularly in this era of crisis, a client’s interaction with your company can trigger a lingering and immediate effect on his/ her sense of loyalty and trust. As millions are discharged and retreat into isolation, a basic barometer of their client experience will be how the businesses they continue and depend upon delivery service that meets their new requirements with empathy, concern, and Care.
It’s the real-time for customer experience leaders to arm themselves at the forefront position of the longer-term shifts in client behavior that result from this terrible crisis.
Ensuring a real-time grip on rapidly innovating and changing customer preferences to redesign journeys leading to a pretty different context is going to be the success key now!
Let’s move to those golden tips now!
How to handle & prioritize your client in this Covid-19 Pandemic situation
Rolling on with this perspective, we’ve provided 4 amazing CX practices to build resilience, short-term frame responses, and prepare customer-front companies for success after Coronavirus. They are:
Emphasize Care and connection
Certainly, it’s the time when people need extra guidance, information, and support to navigate a new set of challenges, from ensuring the safety of their families to helping their little ones learn when schools are shut, more than ever.
They are searching for a trusted resource that can assure them safety when everything seems uncertain. That offers support when everything around seems to be overwhelming. We need to stay true to the company’s values and purpose and look to emphasize Care and connection.
Our research reflects the two-third of customers preferred buying from socially responsible brands, and it’s increasing significantly. The way organizations are setting themselves to play this role for their clients; their employment is likely to leave lasting memories in the minds of the clients.
Care for your customers
Undoubtedly, Care is the first thing your clients are looking for right now. For that, you have to reach out—and we aren’t pointing towards marketing or making attempts to gain a competitive edge. We’re advising you to offer genuine support.
Several organizations have already come up to care for their customers. We’ll prefer to give the example of Ford here. It’s “Built to Lend a Hand” campaign shapes initiatives, including credit support and payment relief. Budweiser redeployed $5 million generally spent on entertainment and sports marketing to the American Red Cross, which is highly appreciable.
A credit-card company instantly recognized the pandemic’s financial load and waived interest on credit cards for one month. Government officials also encouraged others to practice the same Care.
When tens of thousands of high school/college students had to vacate their dormitories with expecting even a bit, a storage rental company proposed 30 days of free self-storage, which is again highly appreciable.
These experiences are huge for customers in the short term. This impact will build very positive relationships and connections that are likely to last much longer after the crisis ends.
Meet your clients where they are today
The clients’ life is no longer normal; you also understand that. Simple activities such as dining out with friends, a trip to the grocery store, having a beer party, etc. are risky, now difficult, or even prohibited. Demand patterns have highly shifted overnight. Talking about the conditions in China, 0verall online penetration increased by 15–20%! In Italy, there was an increment of 81% in a single week for e-commerce sales for consumer products. That created significant supply-chain bottlenecks.
As it’s already understood, customers are looking for at-home, digital, and low-touch options. Undoubtedly, digitally-led experiences are going to thrive in its popularity once the coronavirus is conquered.
The companies that are acting quickly and innovating their delivery model to help clients navigate the pandemic effectively and securely will establish a strong advantage for sure.
Accelerate digital options to maintain grossing
Digital delivery is a necessity for the majority of the customers now, who is confined at home. We’ve noticed the strong growth of adoption, even among the most “digitally resistant” people. Recently, “Do It At Home” functionality was rolled out by China-based Ping An Bank. Guess what; they received over eight million page views besides nearly 12 million transactions in just 15 days!
Folks in service industries have accelerated digital value-added services, including education and advice. 44,000+ viewers tuned in to the first three online shows of Bank of China, where leading investment managers put forth various market insights besides discussing Coronavirus’ impact.
Various companies are helping existing customers by providing select digital services free and broadening their reach to new audiences. This technique is highly working out. We can find several Fitness companies deploying this strategy via free trials for their app-based and online classes. New sign-ups and app downloads have grown between 80% to 250% in recent months.
It’s expected that many clients who have adopted digital services will stick to them even after the immediate health crisis becomes an incident of the past: Companies making this shift digital and delivering superior experiences have immense opportunities to increase adoption besides maintaining these customer relationships after the pandemic crisis very well.
Take your business to clients’ homes
Earlier, home delivery was a convenience, but now, it’s a necessity: during this pandemic crisis, Italy has recorded online grocery home-delivery users getting doubled between the months of February and March.
In China, Meituan, the premier food delivery service, enjoyed 4x delivery orders in early 2020. Besides that, aggregator apps and quick-service restaurants are providing free delivery in order to grab share in this demand shift. Several fresh meal delivery start-ups have begun their journey, as the demand boost recorded here is 25 percent.
In the US, home delivery options are recorded to expand beyond food, as pharmacies provide extended free trials on the prescription delivery service. Even car dealership companies are offering pick up and drop off vehicles service for maintenance and repair.
Make physical operations touch-free
Obviously, everyone is avoiding touching, as that’s the biggest way this disease is spreading. If your customer journey’s part exists in a physical channel, you need to convert them to contactless operations. The US has experienced a 20% increment in preference for contactless operations, and numerous industries are adapting to this change.
Meituan started as a product- and -food delivery service and evolved into a digital ecosystem player. It was the first Chinese company to offer contactless delivery in Wuhan. This service rapidly gained popularity among all audiences. This enabled Meituan to outstretch beyond its core millennial client base—over two-thirds of new clients are in their 40s and 50s.
Another example, the drive-through shopping experience was rolled out by Walgreens in the US recently. Customers order from a menu consisting of available items, including household goods, groceries, medical supplies, etc. Store associates properly assemble and check out the customers’ orders—all from the convenient drive-through window.
Several grocery chains have added touchless measures while keeping their physical stores open to shoppers. They’ve implemented new installations of plexiglass at every cash register, which protects employees and customers.
Re-consider experience of the customers for a post-COVID-19 world
The COVID-19 crisis will be ending at some point. We expect changes in preferences of consumer & business models to outlast the immediate crisis. It has begun to show it’s impact in China, and there has been a 57 percent of enhancement in consumers intending to shift to online grocery purchasing permanently, and an increase of 3-6 percentage points in overall e-commerce penetration in the COVID-19’s aftermath.
Some consumers will be trying remote & digital experiences for the first time. In China, the consumers’ share over the age of 45, utilizing e-commerce enhanced by 27 percent from Jan to Feb 2020. Once they are used to the new digital or remote models, we’re expecting some consumers will switch permanently or enhance their usage, accelerating behavior shifts, which were already underway before the crisis.
Also, once the public-health crisis is subsided, economic effects will persist. Leading organizations will deliver on the experiences of customers that are emerging as essential in the “next to normal,” while searching ways of saving self-funding.
Search for savings without sacrificing the experience
Cutting expenses in a downturn is inevitable. However, that does not have to arrive at the expense of an ideal customer experience that can build substantial value. Mostly, the best approach to improving efficiency & experience both is to increase digital self-service and to create smarter operational trade-offs, then grounded in what essentially is to many customers.
In industries such as digital servicing, banking and sales are not that expensive in comparison to branch- and phone-based ways. The issue for numerous banks is that too low customers reach that point as they locate digital channels unfamiliar as well as intimidating.
Mostly, migrating customers to digital channels is a successful way of boosting savings & satisfaction. Teams can adopt this mindset of customer-centric in any expense-cutting exercise, incorporating migrating customers for self-serving channels, radically simplifying the product, or optimizing agreements that are service-level.
Construct capabilities for a quick-changing environment
Maintaining a strong experience of the customer in crisis is crucial. It needs quick research to determine and underrated changing dynamics and fresh pain points. Also, agile innovation is needed to address them. Leaders of customer who master that path will make value for consumers in areas which are in high-priority and in an environment of enhanced competition.
Keep a real-time pulse on changing customer preferences
Techniques of traditional customer insights, for example, surveys, mostly have a 16 to 24 day lag between launch and outcomes readout. At the time when conditions might change from hour to hour, that will be far too long in delivering useful perspective. Companies must look quick & novel approaches to keep a pulse on the sentiment of the consumer.
In just Italy alone, Facebook has encountered around 40-50 percent enhancement in usage since the crisis began. A surge in online utilization now underway provides the opportunity to tap on insights from social media to quickly understand consumer sentiment & develop fresh ideas. One Chinese rental-car organization established a team concentrated on monitoring social media to know about real-time trends.
Listen to employees
Frontline employees are an organization’s eyes and ears on the ground. Solicit & gather employee feedback: it’ll prove useful in gauging how consumers are feeling and how per day interactions are changing.
Unfortunately, this source of insights mostly goes overlooked while numerous front line employees report that the leaders they have made customer experience a top priority, closely to 60 percent say they believe that the ideas they have for enhancing that experience mostly go unheard. Tools and technology currently exist to quickly gather and aggregate real-time ideas & feedback from frontline employees. Investing in these will make a crucial difference in the fast-changing current environment.
Adopt agile innovation
The sooner that organizations can fulfill fresh consumer requirements during this time, the ideal both will be. This mostly means accelerating time in the market for new customer experiences, quickly prototyping & iterating, and releasing innovations in their state of minimum viability, instead of waiting to perfect them.
Constructing agility across functions to manage changing customer circumstances is crucial and will have long-lasting advantages. Normally, test-and-scale labs permit organizations to create new experiences with a 50 percent reduction in the speed to market.
In addition to agile ways, organizations should quickly examine their innovation pipeline for setting priorities for fresh customer experiences that line up with digital, remote, or home delivery trends; these will be continuing to accelerate and differentiate CX suppliers in the post-COVID-19 world.
Invest in infrastructure & technology to enhance virtual collaboration capabilities
A pandemic needs employees to limit exposure by staying home and prevent or at least slow down the spread of this disease. Undoubtedly, we need the activation of remote working capabilities now, to keep business running.
An occasional weather event may prompt a few employees to work remotely. But a pandemic like this leads to a complete shutdown of the whole facility in an area. A high number of employees have to work remotely for a really long duration. This highly results in heavier-than-average traffic on remote connectivity networks, which further causes capacity and load access problems.
Companies need to invest in tools so that the employees are able to work remotely while collaborating virtually, assess their current bandwidth as per the need of the remote work, perform periodic network stress testing besides identifying workarounds for crucial tasks that aren’t executable from home.
Remote working is a good option for the service sector. But it fails to work well for manufacturing, which further causes great impacts on product supply chains. However, ideas need to be generated here, as the pandemic isn’t giving us any options.
If you feel that there is even a small piece of chance of getting your folks work from home, do make the right arrangements, and cost importantly, don’t hesitate in investing money for the infrastructure, tools, etc.
How to handle & prioritize your client in this Covid-19 Pandemic situation: The Conclusion
Thus, customer leaders shouldn’t take their eyes off from the “failure modes,” which might damage later on in case overlooked. Taking about demonstrating, care to employees, make sure to double down on supporting employees, and in last, customers will surely notice & appreciate it too.
Don’t think like customers will migrate automatically to existing digital & remote platforms. Instead, actively raise awareness and the required internal capabilities to support these experiences’ adoption.
As for protecting helpful feedback, in case the volume of customer insights as well as feedback from sources such as social media & employees has not enhanced several-fold in an environment of intense crisis, take it like the sign that you’re missing crucial insight required to adapt experience.
Just adapt well, and absorb the positives from the successful business startegies we discussed up there. We’re sure you can undoubtedly maintain your grossing (and even add to it) in this pandemic situation!