The answer is yes. Businesses can and must differentiate themselves based on delivering great customer experiences (CX). The new question is how to ramp up and deliver on CX as part of a post-COVID recovery strategy.
Living through a historic event like the COVID-19 pandemic, customers and businesses have faced extraordinary challenges.
As we move to a ‘post-COVID’ world, the reality is that many businesses are still wrestling with how to overcome the lingering impact of mass disruption. Customers continue to be tested with extended waiting times for information or responses from their suppliers and providers. Many sectors are suffering a continued shortage of supply and delays with shipping and post are driving up the cost of inquiry and complaint management up for many businesses.
At the same time, employees are still learning how to manage the balance involved in working from home. Whether it’s the dog barking, kids interrupting during conference calls or noisy housemates, nerves continue to be frayed across the board.
Many teams are struggling to adapt to working in sub-optimal conditions, whilst being asked to deliver brilliant customer experiences.
The good news is that there is help available to make this possible, even if your team is stretched to the limit.
A contact centre partner with an integrated marketing heritage can help lighten the load, especially for handling customer interactions.
A great partner can also help you to consider the four most important factors in redesigning CX to support post-COVID recovery; empathy, agility, scalability and intelligence you’ll need in the systems that support CX delivery.
Four critical CX ingredients
1. Empathy by design
It’s a word you’re probably seeing and hearing a lot but empathy is not just a new buzz term. It’s the most important attribute to have in your CX arsenal.
Empathy in CX design considers every part of the experience as it is delivered and as it is received. It’s how you aim to have the brand represented at every customer touchpoint. It’s the language used and how that is understood by your staff and your customers. It’s the way you value the opportunity to communicate the things that delight customers. And giving equal importance to handling the moments that may disappoint.
To redesign CX with empathy at the core is essential in the current climate. To deliver against it, you need systems and processes that are agile, scalable and intelligent. Nail this combination and you’re on your way to becoming a CX leader in your space.
2. Intelligence that’s baked into the business
Working backwards, Intelligence is more than just understanding who to market to and when. It’s also about having the information to provide a solution to show that your empathy was real. Having visibility into the user or buyer journey is critical to identifying where the roadblocks are and to be able to correct the challenges that cause frustration before your customers call or email.
Whether you utilise customer intelligence or journey analytics data to inform your real-world business decisions, you are working from true insights, not just gut feeling or intuition. In today’s climate, businesses need to be on the front foot of adopting new capabilities and proactive solutions.
Dealing with declining KPIs? The answer might be to consider your business scalability. As I mentioned earlier in this post, having 2 out of 3 of the agility, scalability and intelligence group is essentially in reference to scalability, because it encompasses more than just the volume of resources.
3. Skills at scale
Scalability includes ensuring you’re utilising all available skill sets too. For example, with the loss of offline events, companies have been forced to pivot their existing strategies to a more digital focus. However, this is where some traditional marketers don’t really have a leg up, nor do they have the existing resources with the right skill sets and are being slammed from every direction.
This is where outsourced support comes into play. Having an expert who can become a scalable extension of your marketing team is a godsend, especially when they are filling the current skills gap within your business. Agencies are also a perfect way to extend your customer support channels. Also consider utilising WebChat, Phone, Email, Social or Direct Mail to help boost your ability to achieve your KPIs for response time, first interaction resolution and keep your team happy and empathetic.
Finally, the last component, agility.
4. An agile business is a successful business
Agility is the easiest to achieve, providing you’re invested in being agile. This is not just saying that you are agile, but ensuring that your customer sees and experiences your business as being agile.
Be agile enough to have the capacity to compromise – not just for your customers, but also for your staff. If a customer needs a replacement, an extension or additional support, being agile in meeting those needs is how you prove you’re empathetic.
Customers have come to expect flexibility, especially in today’s business environment. It’s not enough anymore to talk about being agile, businesses now have to embody increased flexibility across their services and processes if you want to stay competitive.
The Final, Secret Ingredient
There is one more thing that is absolutely vital to have at your disposal. It’s the rare blend of time, space and opportunity to think. Without that, the important moments of clarity that lead to creativity and spark innovative change for good in your CX approach can be hard to come by.
This is the often overlooked differentiator in businesses that excel in CX. Even before COVID, it was hard for many people to get out from under the grind work long enough to have those all important ‘aha’ moments.
Again, this is where having a great CX focused, contact centre partner is a good idea. Many hands can make small work. There’s many ways to work with partners to reduce the mental load, alleviate the day-to-day stressors and create some room to think beyond the constant pressure to do!