Before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted life, businesses, and consumer behavior, brands relied on customer experience only to differentiate themselves among a sea of sameness. However, with the widespread impact of the lockdown and the uncertainty over when markets will limp back to normal, brands are faced with the challenge not just to stand-out, but also to pivot, innovate, and transform. Customer experience is the new currency, and it is in short supply.
Today, consumers across the world are faced with one of the worst crises in human history. That is why customer experience is critical today – the interactions they have with organizations may build or break relations and impact brand equity. Every single interaction with the customer is a building block of future relations and thriving on the other side of the pandemic.
With reduced physical touch points, it becomes even more difficult to build trust and loyalty. Hence, the customer journey maps have to be scrutinized deeply to understand the customer’s pulse and rapidly changing needs. We are witnessing a rapid shift toward ecommerce and digital channels, which will, in turn, increase the number of calls to contact centers and other digital touch points causing spikes.
Also, unable to experience physically the product being purchased due to lockdowns and continued physical distancing, the customer will seek more guidance/information and query through these channels.
This makes it critical for organizations to manage spikes at sustainable costs while remaining customer centric, which can be achieved by leveraging Digital Operations and Platforms by following a structured approach, SAFE:
a. Simplification for process excellence eliminates process redundancies, facilitating process readiness for automation
b. Implementation of Lean and Six Sigma methodologies to make business processes agile and sustain quality improvement
c. Leveraging design thinking for problem solving and enhancing customer experience
a. Hyper-automation by combining cognitive, RPA, and AI capabilities to drive productivity and customer satisfaction
b. Creation of a virtualized workforce of software robots to enable seamless automation
c. Creating digital contact centers to enable seamless omnichannel experience
3. Foresight and intelligence via analytics
a. Business intelligence platforms for predictive/prescriptive analytics and to drive intelligent automation
b. Analytics tools to deliver actionable insights that enable business decisions and power automation solutions
c. Transform from being reactive to proactive
4. Experience management:
a. Concentration on CSAT and NPS
b. Enhancing soft skills for creating brand equity
c. Next-gen platforms enable immersive experience for customers, employees and stakeholders
Going forward, enhancing customer experience and satisfactions will emerge as the strongest levers of success. A customer-centric approach makes brands SAFE in the new normal created by COVID-19 in the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) retail and consumer landscape.