Thinking About Customer Experience During COVID-19

Like many of our customers, friends and family, the team here at Benbria has been closely monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 outbreak, and our hearts go out to all those who have been impacted around the world.

As we’ve seen firsthand over the past several weeks, many of us are still scrambling to understand the longer-term impact to our businesses and the economy, and are actively working on how we can best serve our customers and employees during this outbreak. At a time when we as individuals may feel more isolated than ever, businesses and communities are finding encouraging, creative ways to support each other and come closer together than ever before.

The spread of Coronavirus has challenged every business to rethink how they operate in the event of increased social distancing. As Customer Experience professionals, we need to ask ourselves how we can effectively empower the voice of our customers to better understand what people are thinking and feeling in real-time. In a similar vein, it is also our responsibility to learn from these actionable insights and take the appropriate steps to support our customers in the here and now. How we adapt to serve our customers today will impact how they view our businesses tomorrow.

With that in mind, here are four customer experience tips to consider in the coming weeks as we come to grips with these new norms and work together as one to help promote personal safety, hygiene and disease prevention during this outbreak.

 

1. Communicate your plans – as often as possible

Many of us have been inundated by communication from every brand, business, charity, and organization we’ve supported or subscribed to in the past – and this is not a bad thing! It is important for businesses and vendors to share their operational plans and proactive safety measures in times like these, and not to worry too much about over-communication with your customer base (although common sense guidelines should still prevail).

As we ramp up our social distancing efforts, it is equally important to ensure we leverage technology and tools at our disposal to interact with our customers remotely.

 

2. Engage with your customers directly – all while maintaining social distancing!

Leverage digital channels to make it convenient for your customers and guests to engage in outbound/inbound 1:1 conversations. We as consumers are looking to the businesses we support for guidance, to ask questions, be reassured, and engage with the brands we trust and have formed strong relationships with. This is a great opportunity to leverage technology to continue putting our customers first in creative and unique ways.

Whether by SMS, email, social media channels like Facebook, WhatsApp or Twitter, website feedback, or various outbound communication tools, it is important to give your customers a way to get in touch with you, easily and readily with the technology already at their fingertips.

 

3. Focus on actionable feedback, not metrics-based improvements

Highly customizable feedback and survey touchpoints can be incredibly effective for gleaning actionable insights and improving overall customer experience over time, however, it is important to recognize that the coming weeks and months will likely require businesses to pivot on how and when they gather this feedback from their customer base.

I would challenge businesses to use this as an opportunity to ensure you’re asking the right questions, gathering the right feedback, and engaging in ways that allow you to learn from your current COVID-19 response, and continue to support customers in the best and safest way possible.

 

4. We’re all going through this together — don’t forget to have empathy

Perhaps most importantly, never forget that your customers and employees are human and are also facing challenges brought by COVID-19. If you’re seeking answers and insights through surveys, make sure people understand you’re doing it to help serve them better. Instead of doubling down on business as usual, look for ways to build appreciation and respect by showing that customer experience is a crucial foundation to your business ethics and mission statement.

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The Benbria Blog offers insights into the latest research in the field of customer engagement technology and best practices, with a focus on real-time messaging and measurement of the experience.

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