A three-steps process to post-lockdown agile CX
A couple of months into COVID19 has seen many of us to get used to a new normal that touches on multiple aspects of our lives. From the way we work, to how we go about interacting with the space and people around us, to even planning for an unknown future.
Equally so, this has affected most industries and business out there, also leaving them to get used to a new normal - for some this has been a more extreme change than for others.
But what happens when people and businesses meet? It can be hard to align and fulfil a user’s needs when on one hand, businesses are trying to keep up with a new reality that's changing all the time, and on the other hand, user experience new things every day.
With that in mind, as we start phasing out containment and, therefore, yet again enter a new-new-normal, these are some basic steps that companies can follow to use their digital platform to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on their overall customer experience:
By proposing different Content
From the beginning of the pandemic, Covid-19-related content has become the norm online, and it has become difficult to talk about anything else. While most of that content is about the current situation and the consequences for society, companies and individuals, few are talking about the aftermath as it is difficult to predict the real impact of this pandemic.
However, as the country is slowly preparing to undergo phasing out lockdown, businesses can still make the most of it. While it’s important to talk about the current situation, by shifting the focus to post-covid content, companies can position themselves differently and offer their customers original content and the path to a solution. With that in mind, your company website should still highlight or signpost to any COVID related information that is on the site, at the appropriate parts of the journey, not just on the homepage. If there is an area dedicated to COVID within the FAQs, make your users aware. Don’t forget to make your content searchable by using COVID-19 tag related and appropriate headers. Lastly, make sure there is a variety of format in which the content is delivered so it engages your audience in multiple ways (infographics, video, audio, Top 5 etc.).
By renewing your UX
The Covid-19 crisis has led companies not only to review their vision, but also to reflect on their internal and external processes, and the relationship they maintain with their customers. There have been new challenges such as how to retain customers and customer engagement in times of containment, or how to talk about products or services when they might not be front of mind, in the middle of a pandemic. Now those challenges might evolve again as we prepare to go back to a less contained lifestyle. A clear take-away from this experience is that companies have to become more learn to become agile and refine their strategies to respond to new consumer habits, at the risk of appearing obsolete, and to remain front of mind of customers at all times.
Watch your customers
By creating a help area
As we enter a plan to slowly take society out of the COVID era, we might be facing new uncertainties about how and when we will be able to get back to the “old normal”. This means that what we got used to over the last few weeks, might be once again changing. Customers must therefore be able to find content and answers to their questions on all your communication platforms (website, social networks, partners, etc.) in order for them to be informed and act quickly if needed. Add a set of post-COVID dedicated questions or a section to your FAQs that talk about how your services are changing (current status and beyond), what you are doing to tackle it and what users can do. If your services, and therefore your customers, have been impacted by COVID19, ensure the support plan is in sync with the phase out stages and that is clear and easily accessible – this should cover the current situations and any changes in the weeks to come. It should keep your customers informed of how it affects them and any actions they need to take to reduce the negative effects of the impact.
By asking them
If you are not familiar with surveys or studies, now is the time to do it! Who better to inform you of possible changes than your own clients? It is essential to take the pulse of your clients in order to offer them tailor-made support that will meet their new challenges. Yesterday's issues are not the same as today, in a Covid-19 context. The sooner and more precisely you will be aware of these new challenges, the more accurate your proposal will be. It doesn't matter whether you do it over the phone, by e-mail or via a survey; take the time to do it, you won't be disappointed with the results.
By demonstrating your values
This crisis has shown us the importance of the role that companies play in society. Only companies that have demonstrated their added value during this crisis have seen their reputation soar. This crisis is going to reshuffle the cards and, like LVMH and Renault, only players who prove their "useful value" vs. their "product value" are being able to fight the consequences of this unprecedented crisis and build a relationship of trust with their customers.
By aligning your promise and your actions
More than ever, consistency between a company’s brand promise and its products and services has become, and will be for the next few years, a determining factor for consumers. Beyond the customer experience, which has become an essential component of the brand, it is vital that companies understand that they are no longer addressing masses, but individuals, and that these users are increasingly uncompromising about what they say vs. what they do. As a company, truly embrace and embody your actions to truly connect with your audience.
Ultimately, our COVID journey is far from over. Although there is currently a rough roadmap for the UK to phase out of lockdown, the path to “normality” is still long and very reactive. We can’t rely on the virus to not return and to continue to affect our lives. It’s important that whatever measures and processes companies set in place are flexible and ready to adapt to the new needs and behaviours that are still sprouting from this evolving situation.
If that’s the case, the COVID legacy will be many things, but at least it might also be a society in which businesses can quickly adapt and react to new customer needs – not just because they have to, but because they can.