Improving Customer Experience in the New Normal

Until recently, you’ve had your customer experience (CX) approach in place, learning through customer sentiment and data and applying it back to your strategy. You’ve likely enjoyed positive results going down this path, but suddenly the world is in crisis and everything has been turned upside down. What will the customer experience you provide look like in the “new normal”? How might you approach it differently?

Some of the best stories of customer experience, loyalty, and brand value emerge from watershed moments like we face today.

To help support your customers and organization in navigating these difficult and quickly changing times, you have an opportunity to take ownership and act. This might mean reprioritizing your work, shifting tone or approach, or even remaining steadfast in doing the great things you already do. Whatever the case, here are some thoughts you’ll want to bear in mind:

The heart of CX is empathy, and it has an emotional and practical side.

On the one hand, it’s about a culture and environment where you inherently relate to your customers, feel personally compelled to continuously improve their experience, and have a sense of ownership in the outcomes. On the other hand, it’s a practical empathy where you look to leverage data, technology, and process to constantly seek information and apply customer sentiment and insights to designing your solutions.

CX in a time of crisis pulls on both the emotional and practical sides of CX.

Truly customer-focused companies with a robust CX program should be both compelled and equipped to act in a time of crisis. Where there are gaps in that system, you should pull even harder on the emotional side to be creative so you can get the job done. This also rings true when time is in short supply.

The CX ethos doesn’t change in a time of crisis, but its significance and scale might be greater.

Some of the best stories of customer experience, loyalty, and brand value emerge from watershed moments like we face today. These are big moves and strong messages that companies send, with a willingness to focus on the long-term. The question is how we as individuals and as a company will seize this moment.

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The small things are also big things.

While big business moves might help a lot of people, the importance of everyday moments to support customers in need cannot be overstated. It could be as simple as being an empathetic voice or taking a small task off a customer’s plate, but that might be exactly what the customer needs in a difficult time. Don’t be shy to act with heart and take subjective liberties where you have the power to do good.

Delivering for your customers in crisis requires courage, conviction, perseverance, and flexibility.

Opportunities, ideas, and innovation come from all corners of the business, regardless of role or level. Giving those opportunities legs requires courage to speak up, conviction to act, perseverance to overcome roadblocks, and flexibility to accept bending the norms. More than ever, it behooves you to embody these characteristics and ask the same of your colleagues so you can swiftly build coalitions for action.

Your willingness to act in an extraordinary time can have an extraordinary impact.

Perhaps the most important message is that your calling to be empathetic to customers, both emotionally and practically, doesn’t change under the “new normal.” What has changed is that you’re empathizing with a need of greater magnitude, and therefore your call to act and the potential of your actions also carry greater magnitude. As you recalibrate to the influence you can have, you should also recalibrate your bar of how and when to take action.

The million-dollar question is, How will you take on this charge?

How will you pull the emotional and practical levers of CX to support your customers when they need it most? What are the small things you can do each day or the big opportunities you can surface and rally behind? Where might it be worth making that subjective call, taking on an extra task, or making the extra push in light of the present situation? You have a chance to make a profound impact on your customers, so empathizing with your heart and your head is more important than ever. You can make a difference.