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Customer Experience , Voice of the Customer , COVID-19

3 insights your CX measurement program should help you achieve during COVID-19

by Kathleen Browne, on May 11, 2020

Unprecedented. Disruptive. Turbulent. There are countless ways to describe these times. Times that have caused us to rethink (at least temporarily) how we approach everyday tasks that we may have taken for granted before the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is new territory for all of us as brands and as consumers. In many cases, we have had to learn on the fly and adjust to new realities.

A study by Pew Research Center conducted in March had found that about half of U.S. adults were experiencing either medium or high levels of distress due to COVID-19. About six in 10 also stated that their personal life has ‘changed in a major way’.

A crisis impacts everyone differently. In the case of COVID-19, customer journeys may change as a result of new habits that take hold during the global pandemic.

As brands, listening to your customers and measuring their experiences on all your touchpoints provides an invaluable way to understand what they need and expect from you, and how you can adapt to support them and deliver positive Customer Experience (CX) during these times.

In this post, we look at three types of insights your Customer Experience Measurement program should help you obtain so you can measure and meet your customers’ needs and expectations in times of crisis. These insights will also help you to adapt your CX today, and elevate it over the course of the crisis.

 

How are we doing overall?

Your customers’ needs may change over the course of a crisis. What they expect from your brand and how they perceive your response may change along with them.

Customer Experience is the result of a mix of all your customer-facing assets (website, customer-facing employees, etc.) and behind-the-scenes resources, including how they are implemented to meet customer needs. During a crisis, you should always have a sense of how well this ‘mix’ is meeting your customers’ needs and impacting customer sentiment over time.

Asking your customers to rate the overall CX you are providing them during this crisis enables you to gauge and trend the impact of your efforts on addressing customers’ immediate needs, as well as on their brand perceptions.

 

How clear is our communication?

During a crisis, communication is critical. With COVID-19 in particular, customers are feeling the stress, anxiety and confusion from the extraordinary measures put in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus, and the impact on how we go about our day-to-day lives.

During these times, the type of information customers may look for in a brand can vary based on their specific needs:

- How COVID-19 is impacting your business hours

- How customers can reach you if they have questions or need support

- When customers can expect a response if they reach out to you

- The steps you are taking to keep your customers safe at your locations

- Impact on delivery dates

Clear and easily-accessible information is paramount during these complicated times. Confirming with your customers and website visitors how well you are delivering this information can help identify any gaps in information that need your attention, and even help alleviate the number of questions or requests to your support team.

 

How can we improve?

This may be the most important type of insight to gather. This crisis is impacting everyone differently and it can be difficult to account for every different situation.

Plus, even if customers have a great perception of your brand’s response, there are always ways to improve it. In fact, your customers may have experienced something with another brand that they feel could be helpful for you to implement for your own customers.

There are already many examples of brands adapting their CX to meet growing customer demand during these extraordinary times. For example, at the time of this post, the use of curbside pickup has skyrocketed 208 percent for US retailers compared to April 2019, as customers seek to limit physical contact or avoid potentially long delivery times.

Leveraging an open-ended question can provide a very valuable source of insights for not only your customer-facing teams, but for key decisionmakers in your organization. It gives your customers the opportunity to suggest ways your brand can adapt to their unique needs – needs that would otherwise be difficult to identify without asking them directly.

Using text analytics tools can also help you identify trends in your customer feedback, so you can adapt to changes in your customers’ needs and sentiment as they evolve over the course of the crisis.

 

Always listen, and ask the right questions

Listening to your customers is essential throughout a crisis. Asking the right questions ensures you collect customer feedback that helps you stay in tune with their needs, and most importantly, how you can continue to support your customers over the course of a crisis.

Ensuring your customer experience measurement program helps you gather the three types of insights above will give you a crucial peek into the minds of your customers and the new realities they are facing. Knowing what you’re doing well from their point-of-view, where there are gaps in your CX that need attention, and how your brand can adapt to the new normal is essential to ensure you can continue offering positive customer experiences in the months ahead.

 

Top image source: Unsplash

Kathleen Browne
Kathleen Browne

Kathleen is a consumer research expert with industry and academic experience in the areas of consumer psychology, brand management, and behavioral economics. As CX Analytics Manager, Kathleen leads a team of research analysts and directs the evolution of clients' CX research and analytics strategies.

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