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Customer Experience , COVID-19

7 essential qualities your brand should strive for during a crisis

by Philippe Aussant, on May 4, 2020

These are unprecedented and disruptive times for everyone.

A crisis can force a brand to adjust their priorities and how they do business. However, the Customer Experience (CX), and putting the customer first, should always remain top priority.

In times of crisis, customers look to brands to help them mitigate and minimize disruptions. At the same time, brands are forced to adapt and innovate as they face new realities and changing customer journeys.

However, the characteristics that typically define a successful CX program should always remain in place during a crisis.

Here are seven things customers look for in a brand to help them navigate a crisis, and what brands can do to best support their customers during these times (view in graphic form). 

 

Customer-Centric

What your customers need: In times of crisis, your customers are looking for solutions – they don’t want to be sold to. Customers will remember the brands that help them through a crisis.

What you can do: Focus your efforts on improving the customer experience. Ensure your employees have the tools and the customer insights they need to help your customers effectively navigate throughout the crisis.

 

Empathetic

What your customers need: Crisis impacts different people in different ways, and can be a sensitive time for anyone involved. Your customers expect you to place yourself in their shoes.

What you can do: Acknowledge the situation and reassure customers that you are there to support them as they navigate the crisis.

 

Proactive

What your customers need: Your customers’ needs and expectations might evolve during and after a crisis. They look to you for support and guide them through these times.

What you can do: Ensure your CX program is set up to listen to your customers and collect feedback on all your touchpoints. This will help you stay on top of what your customers need and expect throughout the crisis, and how you can best support them during this time.

 

Transparent

What your customers need: Transparency builds trust. Your customers are looking to reduce stress and mitigate their concerns. They seek the latest information as to how the crisis affects your operations, as well as clear details to help them determine their next steps. 

What you can do: Keep your customers in the loop with informative and timely content on your website or other channels to guide your customers as to how they can move forward. Ensure links to this content are easy for your customers and visitors to find throughout your website - you could even consider including links or details at the end of your surveys.

 

Responsive

What your customers need: Speed is essential in times of crisis. Your customers don’t want to feel like they are sending their questions and requests into a black hole. They want to hear back from you, as quickly as possible.

What you can do: Acknowledge to your customers that you have received their question and your expected response time. Ensure your customer-facing teams have access to real-time insights and feedback to help them prioritize these experiences and close the loop, quickly.

 

Adaptable

What your customers need: Exceptional times can require you to rethink how you do certain things, at least temporarily. Your customers may expect some flexibility from your brand and for you to adapt to their changing needs and help them navigate the crisis.

What you can do: Review your crisis plan and your customer feedback regularly to determine how you can adapt to help your customers get through exceptional times, and to help you prepare for any lasting impacts of the crisis.

 

Forward-looking

What your customers need: A crisis requires you to focus on the short-term customer experience. Although, your customers will still expect you to offer them positive experiences once the crisis is over.

What you can do: Monitor your customer feedback to find opportunities to improve the experience on all your touchpoints in the short-term. Check in regularly with your customer-facing teams for insights based on their conversations with customers to find opportunities for the long-term.

 

A crisis forces brands to adapt to new realities. Some may have little to no lasting impact, while others might impact your brand for months or years to come.

Through all this, the customer should always be at the heart of every decision you make.

Implementing a CX program that helps you listen to your customers throughout a crisis is key to helping you understand and adapt to your customers’ evolving needs and expectations during this time, and prepare for the new normal that results from this crisis.

 

Graphic showing is 7 essential qualities that brands should strive for during a crisis

Top image Sources: Pexels

Philippe Aussant
Philippe Aussant

Philippe Aussant is a marketing professional with over 10 years of experience in content marketing, data analysis, account management and product support. As Content Manager, Philippe is responsible for generating and managing iperceptions marketing content assets, including the iperceptions blog.

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