Customer service

How To Increase Customer Experience Excellence In The “New Normal”

Enreach 25/08/2020
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The impact of COVID-19 on customer behavior has been immediate. Spending in most industries has decreased, shopping has moved from in-person channels to digital, and public safety has become a priority for businesses and consumers. Executives who built omnichannel strategies to create unique customer experiences have had to improvise to keep up.

As companies prepare for the long term, the concept of the “new normal” is highly uncertain, as the situation changes every week. Among the challenges is determining which customer behaviors and trends are here to stay and which will regress.

To win in the next normal, organizations must identify the current behaviors that will define the customer experience in the short term and must ensure that these opportunities are aligned with their business strategies and capabilities. There will be three priorities that will define the customer experience in the post-pandemic era: digital excellence, engagement, and dynamic customer insight. Each company will pursue these priorities differently depending on its industry and starting point, as well as the competitive landscape. Many companies are already demonstrating their understanding of what matters to customers, as well as innovative ways to meet their new expectations.

Emerging Trends In Consumer Behavior

Customers are significantly reducing their spending in almost every category, anticipating tougher times. As the crisis peaked in Western economies, more than a third of Europeans and Americans said their incomes were negatively affected by COVID-19.

China, which is ahead of other countries in the coronavirus crisis, has yet to see consumer-spending return to normal. Research by McKinsey found that spending has dropped 30-60% and retail transactions have dropped 20-50%.

1) Increase In Traffic On Online Channels

While financial flexibility may be increasingly limited, clients are complementing their face-to-face activities with digital platforms. Therefore, users now spend much more time online: almost half of consumers have started or increased their transactions through e-commerce since the start of the pandemic.

Around the world, companies have moved quickly to adapt to the massive change in digital channels. Almost all organizations whether traditional companies or startups are reorienting their business models to be more digital. Consumers will most likely prefer to use many of these digital offerings after the crisis.

2) A Greater Emphasis On Health And Safety

The enormous consequences of the pandemic for health and associated public health policies have normalized physical distancing and the need for constant hygiene. In fact, McKinsey research shows that most of the top customer concerns about COVID-19 are related to health and safety, so companies should take these issues into account when planning their transitions to the “new” normal.

These concerns have led customers to rapidly change the way they want to engage with the world, with secure, contactless operations a priority.

3) Behaviors That Are Here To Stay

The changing behavior of customers brought on by COVID-19 reflects the acceleration of anticipated trends, the emergence of new preferences and a complete reversal of some routines. This mix will continue to evolve and form the foundation of the next normal. The good news is that companies have the potential to not only guide future customer behavior through proactive, encouraging behaviors that are likely to endure after the pandemic, but also to position themselves at the forefront in shaping the customer experience.

The most successful companies to date have understood what behaviors and experiences are gaining momentum and have made specific investments to achieve them.

Organizations must simultaneously monitor consumer trends, adapt their business models, plan for continuity, and ensure their employees are safe and healthy, all while managing the ambiguity of the crisis.

To better understand aspects of the “new” normal, McKinsey’s analysis assessed consumer trends based on two criteria: the growth of users since the pandemic and the likelihood that these behaviors will continue. The activities were segmented into four points:

  • Go back to old: mature or less relevant experiences that may not sustain growth spurts of COVID-19.
  • Exciting… implementing workarounds with the potential for user burnout after the pandemic.
  • Potential to stay: new experiences with the momentum and potential to be consolidated into the next normality.
  • Quick Accelerators: high-performance substitutions for traditional in-person experiences that are likely to persist into the next normal stage.
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