COVID-ifying Customer Experiences

    Rahul Dwivedi

    The change in customer behavior, resulted from the outbreak of the novel coronavirus has compelled businesses to rethink about what customer care means during these testing times. It has forced organizations to review and reimagine customer journeys and evaluate and redefine customer satisfaction metrics. Moreover, organizations have begun focusing more on improving customer experience as social distancing and quarantining measures gain prominence. With such a top priority focused area at hand, it becomes crucial for businesses to understand that a lasting impression on brand’s loyalty is created through its interactions with customers, particularly during heightening socio- economic crisis. Amidst the pandemic, changing customer preferences, behavior and expectations are driving innovations in customer journeys to help maintain stronger relationships with customers.


    Some of the novel CX measures which businesses can imbibe in their customer journey mappings to build resilience to the pandemic can be glanced upon below:

    Focus on employee care

    By leveraging the Work-At-Home-Agent (WAHA) model as an immediate response to the overwhelming pandemic, organizations across geographies have taken a promising step towards ensuring health and safety of their employees. This is a major advancement in business continuity since it follows the principle of “Safety first, duty next.” Enterprises and contact center providers need to thrust on two basic areas to ensure outstanding customer service from employees:

    a) Existence of a standard operating procedure/ guidelines for employees working from home to abide by
    b) Accessibility to requisite technologies for employees to function with maximum efficiency from home

    With these two basic tools, organizations can train their employees to deliver situation-based empathetic customer services besides sensitizing them of all COVID-19 preventive measures.

    Focus on empathetic customer care

    Customers around the globe are navigating through a novel set of challenges borne out of the ongoing pandemic. They need special guidance, information and loyal support to overcome panicky in these unusual high tide times. The only mantra for lending support services and building trust today is to reach out to them as fellow humans and not mere customers, for there is negligible difference between what employees and customers are going through. The fact that empathy and brotherhood leading to humanity – based customer services holds maximum relevance today. Thus, the two focus areas for employees to render customer service are:

    a) Interacting with customers proactively with empathy and not with the sole purpose of marketing in a mechanical manner
    b) Staying true to organization’s core values and responding to queries and concerns with concrete steps while interacting with customers, thereby taking a step towards improving brand loyalty

    Preparedness for post COVID-19 economy

    The end of COVID-19 pandemic may result in a global recession, widespread digitalization and contactless operations. As businesses concentrate on framing and executing continuity plans, they must take a step further in analyzing the upcoming trends in customer services and hence, take relevant measures to ensure adequate preparedness. The two critical areas to focus on in this regard are:

    a) Digital transformation and adoption of innovative digital models that can help customers overcome the ongoing crisis safely from home
    b) Migration of customers to multiple digital channels to cut costs, analyze behavior patterns and derive insights, and deliver personalized services to boost customer satisfaction

    In conclusion, as the world undergoes trauma and witnesses a new normalcy, businesses derive opportunities to ensure that customer experiences are not affected. The pragmatic approach to COVID-ifying customer services today is to empathize with customers and fast-track the adoption of digital technologies that have the potential to augment human experiences.

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