I'm amazed at how companies are getting their customer experience so wrong in these times!
Instead of showing empathy and being there for their customers, many companies are pushing products and services, sticking to their old ways and not addressing the customer need of the hour!
Here are my thoughts on how companies should treat their customers in this COVID-19 world.
1. Show empathy
This is the time to provide timely, empathetic and critical customer support. Brands need to over-communicate and help solve customer issues. Quick story, I recently decided to go to RedMart to buy groceries. After spending nearly 45 mins filling in my shopping cart, at checkout, I found out that half the products weren't available! What a waste of my time!
But the biggest disappointment came during delivery. They had missed out a few critical items!
There was no customer service number to call. I reported the missing items via their app, but heard nothing from them. I sent them an email and still haven't heard back from them! When I checked my bank account a few days later, I found that they had refunded me for the missing items but there was no acknowledgement to say this had been done. Needless to say, given the experience, I won't be buying online from them again.
2. 'Out love' and 'out care' your competition
Brands that 'out love' and 'out care' their competition at a time like this will see the greatest returns. You need to reach out and offer unprecedented support and help. This is the way to go to build great goodwill and your reward will be great customer loyalty. For example, I see many software companies offering a 12-month free trial or deferring their subscription payments to help their customers with cash flow.
Closer to home, our regular vet now makes the time to advise us over the phone about our minor dog issues. We don't need to physically go to the clinic for a consult, just do a tele-consult, pay via an app and drive there to pick the meds. All completely contactless and frictionless!
3, Your customer journey has drastically changed
People aren't going to stores and buying stuff like they used to. Social distancing has changed everything. Health and safety are paramount now. How do I get things done quickly and with the least possible contact with other people, is the question on everyone's mind.
Think of how customers are buying your products or services in this new scenario. Figure out how can you possibly eliminate friction along this new journey and help them get what they want with minimum fuss.
4. Review and rethink your CX surveys
Take a look at your surveys, are they relevant for these times? Ask the questions:
What critical information do I need at this point?
What surveys can I consider suspending for the moment?
How can I get more transaction-based real-time feedback without overwhelming customers?
What are the best feedback channels to use for my particular business now?
5. Think long term
The customers you help today will be the ones that return long term loyalty. We never forget those who help us when the chips are down. Deepen your customer relationships by providing great support and COVID-19 related helpful tips and content that can truly help your customers navigate through these tough times.
Hopefully, this will all be behind us soon. Your business will pick up again and your customers will remember the help you provided them during this tough time. It will be the businesses who listen, learn and adapt quickly to their customer's needs that will recover stronger from the impact of COVID-19.
Take care and stay safe.
About the author
Ashok Miranda is a Business Transformation Architect and founder of Transform and Transcend, based in Singapore. He is the author of the book Culling Cuturitis: How To Rid Your Company Of This Toxic Disease and Build a Winning Company Culture.
Ashok is a much sought-after consultant, professional speaker and trainer and has helped businesses (startups, SME's and MNC's) reach their full potential and rise to greatness.
He has also transformed the mindset of thousands of businesses professionals across the region.
Ashok is driven by his passion and purpose to architect a better business world. He is on a mission to help companies be massively successful in these turbulent times by building winning company cultures that foster happy and engaged employees. Building strong and emotionally resonant customer-centric brands and designing transformative customer experiences that create ultra-loyal customers and true brand fans.
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