The reemergence of COVID in Thailand, as well as renewed lockdowns and record case numbers in the west, has dampened some of the post-vaccine enthusiasm we saw in Q4 2020.
But 2021, though sure to be tough, also presents opportunities. Businesses who take their CX (customer experience) planning seriously will set themselves apart from the competition. With that in mind, we’ve prepared some tips you can use to plan your CX strategy in 2021.
Communicate with your people
The last year has not only been tough for businesses. Your employees have certainly had a hard time too.
Months of working virtually can take its toll on your people. Over a year of Zoom calls can make it tough for your staff to stay motivated. Everyone is concerned and worried about what the future may hold.
When working remotely, your staff may get caught up in their own narratives. Obstacles and constraints can be magnified if your staff feel like they’re working alone, with little support.
In times like this it is impossible to “over communicate”. This is especially true of frontline support staff. They may be dealing with stressed out customers on an hourly basis. So it’s up to business leaders to make time for their staff. This can help your staff feel supported and part of a team, even when they are working from home.
This support can also help your CX strategy planning. Getting feedback from your front line staff can help you to see customer pain points in the “new normal”. Your team are the people who talk to your customers, so talk to your team to gain insights into how the customer experience may have changed during the pandemic.
This can result in new ways of thinking across your organization. Your staff need a new problem solving toolkit to help your customers, and it’s up to business leaders to provide it.
ALWAYS refresh your insights
If you’re planning your CX strategy based on how things were pre-COVID, it will not go well.
Think about how consumer behavior has changed. Depending on the vertical your business operates in, COVID may have been a total game changer.
The pandemic has provided an opportunity to take stock and “think the unthinkable”. It’s a great time to figure out who your customers are now, what your customers need and how your business can step up and fulfil these needs.
One of the best ways to refresh your insights is to look at companies outside of your traditional competitors.
Look at how other industries are enhancing their CX post-COVID to find inspiration and new ideas. Stepping outside of your own organization can help you to see new paths and innovations.
It’s also crucial to conduct new research into your consumers. It does not matter whether you are a B2B or B2C company. Things have changed, so conducting thorough research into your customers through surveys and interviews is essential if you want to optimize your customer experience.
The Importance of Ethics
We have touched on ethics and how they have become a part of the purchasing decision during COVID before. But it is a point that’s worth repeating.
Beating a global pandemic requires collective action and a lot of individual sacrifices. And consumers believe that brands should do a lot of heavy lifting. Organizations that fail to protect their staff during a pandemic should expect to generate negative sentiment. In fact, according to Edelman, 78% of consumers believe that “businesses have a responsibility to ensure their employees are protected from the virus in the workplace and do not spread the virus into the community”. Of even more concern to businesses, globally, 1 in 3 respondents stated “I have convinced other people to stop using a brand that I felt was not acting appropriately in response to the pandemic”.
So acting ethically towards your staff and consumers is a must. Ethical “shortcuts” and abdication of responsibility will only harm profitability and growth. Like it or not, company ethics are now part of a customers’ purchasing decisions. And, by extension, this means it falls under “CX”.
Come back for part 2 where we will discuss more factors you need to think about when planning a CX strategy. We’ll discuss loyalty loops, the need for businesses to develop a service voice and how you have to look at every touchpoint on the customer journey.
How MAQE can help
MAQE has been working in all aspects of CX for a long time. If you need a partner to help you align teams in your organization, conduct customer research and optimize all aspects of your commerce experience then get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.