Positioning your CX strategy to succeed after the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way companies work and how customers do business. While some of these changes are temporary, some will continue long after the pandemic is over. To remain competitive in the post-COVID era, organizational leaders must now take steps to ensure their CX strategy is positioned for success.
Post-pandemic changes in customer behavior
To determine if a company’s customer experience strategy is well-positioned for post-pandemic business success, decision makers need to analyze the new reality COVID-19 has created.
Kaspar Roos, CEO of industry analyst firm, Aspire, recently discussed three distinct changes that have resulted from the pandemic at Quadient’s virtual Inspire Days conference. Aspire surveyed more than 300 enterprises and 2,000 consumers in the United States and Canada. Here are the key takeaways.
Use of digital communications increased
COVID-19 prompted significant transformation in digital communications. Over the past 15 years, Aspire has surveyed management personnel to learn their digital, print and combined print and digital communications shares year-over-year. In 2020, for the first time ever, the number of digital-only communications exceeded management’s predictions. In fact, there was a 13% increase compared to the year prior as well as a 37% increase in prediction for the subsequent two years.
During the pandemic, companies increasingly relied on email and text messages to support, reassure and communicate with their customers. Additionally, customer consumption preferences changed, with Gen X and Boomers joining Millennials and Gen Y in their demand for digital communications. These shifts are the result of a secondary driver of digital transformation - the massive increase in remote work during the pandemic.
The number of people working from home increased
Between 2010 to 2019 the percentage of people working from home in the UK increased by approximately 5% year-over-year. That percentage increased to more than 45% since the outbreak. It’s a massive shift with strong repercussions on how people work, live and conduct business after the pandemic. From a communications perspective, businesses suddenly needed to enable teams to collaborate and create communications from remote locations.
One area that was adversely affected by employees having to work from home was productivity. This has been particularly true of companies with call centres. Some organizations have seen their call centre productivity drop by 70% because their agents have struggled with juggling home life and work life from the same location.
Marketing budgets were cut
Another question Roos and his team asked company leaders was, “What was the impact of COVID-19 on your budgets?” The area affected most was marketing. 50% of respondents confirmed that the pandemic led to a reduction of their marketing spend.
“It makes sense because when the pandemic started businesses began reviewing their marketing communications and we’re concluding maybe this campaign is not empathetic enough or we don’t feel comfortable with this message. Let’s put it on hold and shift to more digital outreach so we can tell our customers what we’re going to do to keep them safe.” – Kasper Roos
Auditing your CX strategy to succeed in a post-pandemic landscape
With promising test results from COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers such as Pfizer and Moderna, the post-pandemic era could come as soon as next spring. So, now is a critical time in developing your CX strategy moving forward in the new digital reality. Audit your current customer experience strategy. Is it reactive or proactive? Will it offer long-term success and efficiency in the heavily digital ecosystem that’s here to stay? Here are Roos’ suggestions to ensure that it does.
Enhance what has already been done
Roos pointed out that to meet the sudden realities the pandemic forced upon the world, companies had to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives at breakneck speed.
While impressive, reactive migrations might be built on shortcuts that weaken the proactive, long-term omni-channel customer goal experience. By nature, a rushed migration can be more technical in nature or leverage static documents that do not take advantage of today’s breadth of channels. Refining these processes will enhance customer experience is delivered consistently across all channels.
Enable work from home for better productivity
Remote work is here to stay. More and more employees will demand the option of working from home on either a part-time or full-time basis in a post-pandemic world. Accordingly, companies will need to facilitate this flexibility or risk losing their best employees to other organizations.
At the same time, productivity must be achieved at the same level as it was pre-pandemic. Businesses need to enable their teams to work productively from home, whether independently or collaboratively, without compromising their customer experience strategy.
Leverage the preferred channels, not just the latest channels
Jumping on the digital transformation bandwagon can leave some organizations with the impression that what they employed in the past won’t work in the future.
Kaspar Roos reported that when his firm asked consumers what their preferred channel to contact their provider was when they had an issue, the universal preference was the telephone.
Increasingly, as part of CX strategies, humans are being replaced by chatbots and voice recognition technology but, ultimately, most customers want to talk to a live person when they have an issue to be resolved. This trend will continue post-pandemic.
Make the move to digital forms
With the increase in remote work, digital forms have become a business necessity. According to Roos’ research, this was the area that saw the highest print-to-digital migration.
Why is digital transformation important to success? With people unable to interact face-to-face, the need for digital contracts, forms and signatures quickly became the standard for conducting business. This gives digitally mature and cloud-enabled businesses a big advantage in the new digital reality.
Invest in technology
Covid-19 helped companies realize that they have to invest in better technology if they want to be able to deliver a great customer experience after the pandemic.
If they didn’t fully appreciate the benefits and advantages of cloud-based platforms vs. legacy systems, they do now. With their teams having to work remotely since March 2020, they’ve learned first-hand how modern, integrated, cloud-based systems can make a difference. (In fact, our cloud-based email volume increased 30% in March.)
Modern CCM platforms, like Quadient Inspire, enable teams to collaborate in real time from anywhere. This is the technology that will be key to delivering consistent, efficient, omni-channel CX strategy as we move into a post-pandemic world.
Gain more insights into what’s required to position your CX strategy for success after the pandemic. View the webinar, “How Communications will Shape Customer Experience Post 2020.”