As the COVID-19 crisis impacts communities the world over, businesses and customers face more uncertainty than ever before. Price fluctuations, closings, and shifts in demand are rattling consumers. Companies, in turn, need to be able to alleviate those feelings.
For most people, the face of your business is your customer experience. Customer experience is how people get their problems solved and how your company connects with its clients. Making that relationship as healthy as possible is key to ensuring that consumers trust and value your business, both during this crisis and beyond.
It’s not just consumers, though. Businesses struggle with uncertainty as much as customers do. To maximize your customer experience in difficult times, consider these four options:
1. Streamline the process.
The last thing your customers need right now is a dead end in your customer experience. Now more than ever, you need to ensure your consumer base has access to the products and services they need with as little interference as possible.
For many businesses, this might mean a front-end restructuring or a website redesign. These measures may not be an option for cash-strapped businesses at the moment. That means top-notch customer service is needed instead. Investing in cutting-edge technologies such as CCaaS — or contact center as a service — ensures your customers are taken care of, no matter where they are in the purchasing process.
CCaaS equips customer service representatives with all the information and tools they need to engage with and prioritize customers. This makes navigating customer service easy and effective, ultimately bettering the customer experience.
2. Open up new channels.
Consumers have yet to decide which channels they prefer when it comes to customer service. Research by HubSpot found that 62 percent of customers enjoy customer service communications over email; another 48 percent prefer it over the phone. Forty-two percent want it via live chat, 36 percent like contact forms, and another 36 percent go through social media routes. To effectively reach every customer, you need to be prepared to use these different channels.
For businesses that don’t already operate most or all of these services, the prospect of opening them up may seem daunting. Thankfully, more software integrations are available that consolidate these channels into a usable, unified platform. Focus on integrating your existing lines of communication before adding new ones. Make sure your customers are aware of the various ways they can contact your business — your revenue could depend on it.
3. Focus on follow-ups.
Customers want to know that the businesses they rely on care about their patronage and well-being. While it may seem like unnecessary work on your part, following up with your clients can have an outsized impact in times like these. Even something as simple as sending a thank-you note can make all the difference for customers.
Not all follow-ups, however, are created equal. Re-engagement efforts that attempt to get customers to do business with you again is unwanted and can come off as crass. Instead, focus on customers’ well-being and satisfaction. Ensure they’re doing well and that your business got them what they needed. Interactions like these can stick with clients for years to come.
4. Support your team.
As most business leaders know, customer experience isn’t set in stone. It’s an ongoing process of trial and error, one that changes with every bit of input and insight from consumers. While focusing on customers is crucial during uncertain times, make sure your first line of defense is holding up as well. If your customer experience team isn’t firing on all cylinders, your customers will be the first to notice.
The most beneficial thing you can do for your team is create a customer experience strategy. Without a cohesive strategy, your team solves loads of individual problems without a sense of what the big picture looks like. Another oft-ignored method of team support is simply asking people what they need. Customer experience experts know more than anyone else which resources are needed to maximize your business’s relationship with its clients; listen to what they have to say.
In this difficult moment for businesses, customer experience may be the last thing on your mind. That needs to change. Your clients are the foundation of your business. Ensuring that they have a positive experience today can earn their business tomorrow.