Client experience: what lessons can be learned from the current pandemic?
Published by Julien Vieux-Vincent, Senior Manager at Bartle on Jul 9, 2020
While the health crisis keeps a blurred perspective for the direction in which brands should be moving, the rapid rebuilding of a consistent customer experience does not mean that relational markers should not be considered in depth.
Back to square one?
While there is no guarantee that the customer experience will consistently and durably recover its historical markers in the coming months, economic time is of the essence. Guaranteeing consumers a minimum access to products and services appears to be the top priority. Other actions deserve to be carried out to limit the sudden effects of a new acute pandemic episode: capacity to absorb e-commerce peaks, availability of the offer, delivery times, remote mode within customer services, etc.
In a more distant perspective, as many companies reconsider their raison d'être in the light of a "new world", several avenues can be considered to rethink the experiences delivered and reconnect with a clientele whose attachment to brands has been severely eroded.
Towards greater sobriety
As recent advertising campaigns have demonstrated, there is a certain restraint in the customer commitment. Care" dominates, with a downward shift in Maslow's pyramid, encouraged by consumers who want to focus on the essentials, both in their spending and their experiences. Customer journeys mark a return to a certain frugality: the time has come for efficiency rather than delight, with constant work to be done on resolving annoyances. Before embarking on futuristic customer journeys, the exercise must ensure the continuity of a minimum experience in all circumstances.
Refocusing the customer experience around the human factor
With the disruption caused by the lockdown, the priority of customer services was to make the flow of requests more fluid, while management methods, which were strongly anchored in the physical world, were becoming obsolete. While the degraded mode was able to generate significant response times, it refocused customer relations on its primary vocation: to resolve situations and provide a relevant solution. The crisis has, in some companies, created the impetus for a truly embodied customer culture. With the prevalence of very susceptible consumers, the empathic attitudes adopted by agents in contact with customers have been rewarded, and the usual compliance grids have been removed at last. Digital selfcare can't do everything; the struggle continues unabated.
A more virtuous customer journey
Until now, citizens have portrayed a certain degree of schizophrenia, declaring themselves concerned about responsible consumption issues, while continuing to favour experience and the quality of the service provided, even if it means indirectly endorsing value chains with questionable carbon balance sheets. At a time when the predicted economic crisis will put a strain on consumers' wallets, brands have the opportunity to design more virtuous customer itineraries, integrating product recycling into their loyalty policies, with the dual objective of reducing the sales receipt and optimising material resources.
Knowing how to manage the customer experience
In a world where trends are likely to accelerate or change, customer experience departments must implement continuous adaptation cycles, convey the voice of the customer and support agile systems adapted to crisis management and recovery periods. Companies struggling to embody customer centricity will need to quickly bridge the gaps, particularly by adopting indicators that are fully actionable for teams. The Customer Effort Score, which measures the fluidity of the experiences offered, appears particularly suitable for manoeuvring in these periods of uncertainty.