Covid-19 was an unexpected turn for the whole world. Right from the businesses to events to day-to-day life, everything came to a halt. Apart from showing how vulnerable and co-dependent our lives are, the Covid-crisis also highlighted the significant areas in the corporate realm that were shrieking for improvements and transitions.
One of the major transformations witnessed was in the manner brands treat their customers and vice-versa. Under crisis, businesses found themselves dependent on the loyalty of customers. The ones, which successfully fulfilled the customer expectation made through the pandemic; however, some died untimely. Undeniably, the crisis made the business world change the way it carries itself.
When it comes to customer experience strategy, many steps are being taken by the organizations and brands to make it more evolved and customer-centric. However, some businesses are still struggling to bridge the gap between the lockdown phases.
So, what can be done to bridge this gap? Let’s find out with industry experts at CX Focus.
Bridging the CX gap – Taking the fundamental route
Communication between customers and brands plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy customer experience strategy. It is the key that drives better understanding and, with real-time customer-behavior data at hand, drives the company’s cx-strategy decisions. But what if the communication faces some hiccups? That’s exactly the time when rather than waiting for the talks to restore, stick to the basics and turn the crisis into an introspective opportunity, explains Ben Motteram from CXpert:
“The fundamentals of customer experience never change: organizations need to understand their customers and then deliver an experience that meets their expectations. During a crisis, the difficult thing for organizations is understanding what the impacts of that crisis are on their customers in terms of their needs, wants, behaviors, and expectations. If instant customer feedback weren’t obtained to inform the company’s actions, I would use the following principles to bridge the CX gap:
· Don’t forget about EX – employees are going through the crisis as well, and they’re the ones dealing with your customers each day. Support them so that they can deliver great CX;
· Use the company values to guide your behavior and engage employees and customers;
· Put customers’ and employees’ needs above your own – the implications of what they’re dealing with during a crisis is more important than the organization missing an arbitrary sales target;
· Be more flexible – hard and fast policies that made sense pre-crisis are no longer relevant;
· Act transparently and communicate with purpose – both with customers and employees.”
Undeniably, the fundamentals allow you to tightly hold the foundation, which in turn stabilizes your business even during the crisis.
Swift and effective thinking
Sayo Afolayan from Connex One puts the best bet on swift and effective thinking. As per Afolayan, the whole team needs to work upon bridging the gap after identifying the issues.
” Expeditious teamwork with full representation across all stakeholders. Rapidly assemble all stakeholders (support/service, marketing, products, operations, etc.). All hands on deck.
Think swift and effective. Identify the immediate and emergency CX gaps or failures. The team then brainstorms corrective actions and implements them quickly. Stop the bleeding.”
Sayo also emphasizes modifying the CX strategy as per the new set of scenarios.
“Evolve your CX strategy. Some reasons for poor CX are unsustainable processes, disjointed platforms, and abandoned initiatives that arise from quick-fix approaches. New customer tastes or sentiments should always result in an improved CX strategy with updated/modified short-term, middle-term, and long-term CX objectives and plans.”
It was different before Covid-19
Indeed, things have changed a lot after the pandemic. It would be unwise for the businesses to expect the same results. This is where they may be widening the gap between them and their customers. With the shift happening at both- the customers and the brands- ends, the key to survival is putting aside the ego and get a stronger hold of the pivot, which is interaction.
Ali Baghchehsara from GigaHub explains the post-covid-scenario in detail:
“Companies in the crisis need to stop focusing on their before covid business results – think in the shoes of their wider range of customers and their capabilities! Many businesses existed before covid which we won’t need and gradually will die. Also same applies to past covid. There will be many businesses rising which we didn’t see the need before covid times like office interactions online software! A pivot is a strong tool, and the will to pivot has to be stronger than your ego to succeed in these times. It is a simple formula, but hard to execute for many people because deploying ego is comfortable.”
Undoubtedly, eliminating the gap existing between customers and brands may be a bit complicated given the crisis. However, this is also the time to build a new and healthy customer relationship, develop a better understanding, and evolve with the market’s dynamicity. A combination of willpower, knowledge of the fundamentals, strategic approach, flexibility, teamwork, and putting the customer first can indeed lay the foundation of a two-way road that brings brands closer to their customers.