Reinventing Customer Experience Amidst the Pandemic

Oct 19, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about an unprecedented change in business operations, especially those related to customer service. Managers are working hard to understand, anticipate, and surpass consumer expectations marginally.

Businesses must reflect on their past relationships with customers to accelerate innovation and create new strategies that will foster sustainable long-term benefits. During a crisis, a customer’s interaction with the business will influence the perception, loyalty, and trust of the company. Customer experience (CX) managers need to anticipate the shifts in consumer behavior and bring changes now, more than ever.

The key to delivering a memorable customer experience will be to continually monitor changing expectations and innovate to redesign customer journeys. This is an opportunity for every brand to reinvent itself – develop new ways of reaching out to customers, which will be sustainable even after Covid-19.

Here are 4 trends that will determine the digital CX in the coming years:

1. Involve customers in the brand journey

Customers are no longer content with merely receiving products and services. Instead, they expect businesses to include them as part of the business model. Several brands are modifying their strategies to allow the involvement of their customers – actively and passively. It is essential to create value from passive participation - customers agree to provide access to their data in return for something valuable. For instance, fitness trackers collect data from customers and in turn provide an enriching customer experience such as daily motivational reminders, route-sharing, and healthy challenges. Businesses can also create open platforms, which allow customers to contribute to add value. In the F&B industry, a few brands have launched services that allow customers to cook the meal themselves. The customer thus experiences a sense of involvement with the brand as well as the pleasure of cooking the meal with loved ones. The open platform provides customer insights, increases customer loyalty and engagement – all at a minimal additional investment.

2. Embrace Technology

The future of customer experience is anticipated to rely heavily on technological advancements. The prime reason for this shift is due to the convenience that technology offers. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Augmented Reality, which is supported by several data-driven technologies such as Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and walled gardens are replacing humans to provide valuable customer service. Integrating technology within the customer service function will not only reduce turnaround time but also stimulate creativity and curiosity.

3. Focus on your brand’s core values

The rapid shift to digital medium has resulted in customers making moral and conscious choices over personal ones. Initially, customer decisions were based on the quality of the products being offered. Now, they want to associate with businesses that share the same beliefs and values as them. It has become easy to increase the transparency of business operations with the advent of social media and technology. Brands must integrate their target market’s values into every part of the customer experience journey – right from materials, features, packaging, and service. Another way could be through initiating partnership programs around a shared mission and using digital platforms to reach out to a larger audience. Lastly, enhance CX by highlighting the role of customers in the success of the company.

4. Foster innovation and adapt to the fast-changing scenario

Maintaining a strong brand experience requires constant research and adaptation to changing dynamics, as well as innovation to address the challenges. A surge in online activities provides an opportunity to understand consumer sentiments and develop new ideas to address the pain points. Utilise existing manpower to obtain real-time ideas and feedback and strive to create a brand-defining experience. Additionally, the focus must lie on innovative solutions viable in the digital, remote, and no-touch scenarios.

These trends are likely to continue post the pandemic. Being prepared for these challenges will provide a competitive CX advantage.

The future of customer experience is set to hold the utmost importance in creating a favourable brand image in the minds of the customer. Leaders who adapt and innovate amidst the crisis will succeed in strengthening customer relationships in the long term.

As quoted by Maya Angelou, "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

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