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How to get the most from customer experience (CX) in this coronavirus climate

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As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates a business-critical need in Australia to pivot services and embrace digital technologies, there’s a risk that too many businesses are reacting without the benefit of informed insights.

Our most recent CX Trends Report for APAC showed three times as many consumers than

brands believe that experiences are definitely not getting better. That’s an alarming disconnect that shows businesses need to align better to what actually matters to customers. In this current climate where everyone’s business priority is simply survival, customer experience (CX) led change is crucial to aligning with customer needs and pivoting in the right direction.

Continual monitoring and analysis of customer feedback is the ultimate way to identify issues and deliver impactful change that makes a difference. There are however overriding considerations for your CX efforts that will make an immediate difference.

Listen, don’t lurk

When trying to establish exactly how your customers feel about you, businesses often place more emphasis than customers on tracking digital behaviours, like social media sentiment. Customers want to be engaged with and asked directly, so encourage your customers to talk to you, not just about you.

Opening channels for direct feedback between you and your customers eliminates the disconnect, making it easy for them to tell you how they feel about your business. Don’t shy away from asking them the important questions, and be sure to balance both asking and listening.

Today’s technologies enable businesses to do this at scale, and in a very personalised way. Capturing, understanding, and socialising the authentic voice of your customer is a powerful way to pivot the business digitally. Integrating the customer voice into business cases for change also provides an excellent platform for gauging ROI on CX investment.

Maintain the human factor

AI has dominated much of the conversation around the future of CX, and while journey mapping is useful to locate the best touchpoints to apply technologies such as self service systems, human interaction is continually essential to customers. Although the current climate limits physical interaction, the support of real staff displaying empathy and showing customers that they matter, can seriously enhance brand reputation, now and for the future.

This is particularly true of Australian consumers (35 percent) who we’ve found are much more likely to prefer giving feedback to store or contact center employees than their US (13 percent) and UK (27 percent) counterparts.

With this in mind, businesses need to be equally connected with staff, as well as customers, supporting them through this climate and enabling them to service customers to the best of their ability. Today’s top brands are aligning CX and employee experience (EX), creating cross-functional teams, complimentary metrics, and making cultural changes to create a collaborative working environment. For businesses looking for ways to enhance CX, engaging with staff will go a long way.

Personalise with purpose

Businesses in the Australian market significantly overestimate the positive customer impacts of personalisation. Businesses are leveraging personalisation to market and sell products to customers, but not necessarily improving the customer experience.

The inherent premise of personalisation is a trade of information for an improved service. However, customers would rather have their preferences and buying habits understood properly, than just receive personalised marketing emails. Actual experiences need to be tailored to individual customers, making it intuitive and time efficient, to create an authentic experience that wins customers over.

Recognise the importance of browsers

At a time where every sale counts like never before, embrace consumers that are just browsing as high-value customers, albeit with a slightly longer conversion time.

Incredibly, 81 percent who visit a business’ website but leave without making a purchase, do so because they are simply there to browse, research, or comparison shop. This figure drops to 50 percent for bricks and mortar shoppers.

These online browsers can be converted through CX tools like follow-up emails and offers, or ‘Wish’ and ‘Favorite’ lists that make it easy to become buyers, either directly or by sharing with friends and family. They also give browsers a reason to return.

Businesses with physical locations should now be using the downtime to identify the right messages and in-store hooks to get browsers to engage, regardless of whether they intend on making an immediate purchase. Retraining staff to engage browsers and provide instant answers is now critical, as more consumers recognise their voice and value in holding businesses personally and publicly accountable.

Adapt with insight

Technology advancement is empowering customers in Australia more than ever before, which is now amplified by COVID-19 accelerating the business need to go digital. Businesses need to embrace this landscape and use it to engage directly, capture and incorporate customer voice, and provide personalised experiences that matter. We’re all familiar with the business concept of adapting to survive – just make sure your decisions are armed with insight.

David Blakers is the APAC Managing Director for InMoment.

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