How businesses deliver customer service has greatly changed in the past year because of the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent public health measures and restrictions. People had to make a significant adjustment to their daily routines and comply with safety measures. Almost overnight, customer behaviour across the world changed.
Customer service, therefore, needs to keep abreast of this new operating environment where most things are accessible digitally, with customers expecting immediate attention to their needs, and are impatient with any delays– after all, a change in provider is now just an icon click away.
Although some companies were already shifting their service strategy from full-touch to low- or no-touch service before the pandemic, the pandemic accelerated the pace of the change. Things are normalising, but it is highly unlikely that it is going to be business as usual.
Customers will be expecting better customer service and experience. They may have tolerated the less-than-ideal service before but now, with things settling to a new normal, service expectations will rise, and customers will be expecting the level of service they were used to. Companies must, therefore, reorganise their customer service around the new normal to attract and retain customers.
So how can companies do this?
It is time for companies to refocus their effort on attracting customers by reimagining customer experience and services in line with the new normal. Adapt to the same changes that your customers are going through. To uncover details about how your customers behaviours have changed, map your new customer journey and identify gaps and opportunities as well as service procedures that are no longer necessary. Being able to relate to your customers will give you insights into how to provide the best customer experience.
Now that change has been forced upon us, we can start seeing how some changes are really for the better. For example, for a long time companies have been considering telecommuting or hot-desking as an alternative to working in the office. Now that most of us have experienced WFH, we now realise its benefits and companies are now considering this as a modus operandi even after the pandemic is over. For many, WFH has become a better normal. To improve customer service, look for these better normals and redesign your services around them.
The shift to digitalisation started a long time ago but COVID-19 hyper-accelerated the process. Digitalisation is central to the ability to provide contactless or remote service to customers, therefore, embrace it or pull down your shutters.
Digitalisation ushered in the era of big data and data analytics. Every digital contacts points and transactions create data. The mining and analysis of these data allow companies to know their customers sometimes better than the customers themselves. The era of mass personalisation is now a reality and companies should capitalise on this to personalise their customer experience to each individual customer.
Your organisation’s priority aside from giving a good customer experience is also to protect the health of your customers. To strengthen customer trust and loyalty, implement stronger health and safety measures to ensure the products and services from the company are free from potential virus. In return, your customers would find it difficult to leave your brand because you have proven to them that you care, that you know what you are going through, and that even in the most difficult times, you strive to work hard to address their needs.
Interested to learn more about how to manage the customer experience in the context of the ‘new normal?’ Check out Service Excellence 4.0, which equips you with the latest tools, tips, and techniques on dealing with various customer service scenarios.