Customer Experience in the new normal
COVID19 has initiated a tremendous change in our daily habits and way we interact with each other, we shop, we do business. Not only the personal safety measures we take into account when interacting with each other, but also working remotely, which has a high impact on work-life balance, as well as finally grocery shopping online growing as well as digital board meetings as the new normal.
COVID19 speeded up trends we foreseen in the next 10 years to settle in months or even weeks of time. In terms of customer experience a certain number of changes will be there to stay post-COVID19, a certain number of changes will not last and some will be the start of a much bigger future trend.
An approach to design the new normal customer experience
In this short article we will give our views on these developments and formulate an approach on how to adapt your organization to the new normal.
We focus on three trends identified in the past few months:
New to stay: Pre-Covid internet shopping vastely gained its place in the shopping world. Now shops opening again, levels are not directly back at pre-covid times. While people are more at home, saved money is spent online. Unless sub-standard services, online shopping will remain at a higher level than pre-covid times.
Return to pre-Covid normal: Many restaurants converted themselves to the delivery concept during the lock-down period to have a minimum of income, keep on being connected with their clients and test new models. The lock-down being released lots of these restaurants turn back to their normal business models and clients looking for take-away turn to the traditional take-away parties.
To determine if changed customer behaviour is also applicable in your line of business, data analysis can help you decide where to invest to ensure surprising your client with the best experience. Qualitative data on product growth during the lock down period multiplied by the usage % during the release of lock down period (or, if available, data on intention to continue using post-covid) should render you a potential growth % indicating if a trend is a “fast adopting trend”, “here to stay”, or will “return to pre-covid normal”.
How to keep on positively surprising your customer?
To be ahead of your customer, two pre-covid trends should get more attention: the Digital Customer Experience and gathering data on client behavior. Both initiated by a safe and contactless customer experience. For example in the small and medium entreprise we saw nice examples of small local shops, due to lockdown, developing in rather days than weeks an online shopping proposition, often coupled with an eco-friendly distribution model. Feedback loop being installed through simply scanning a QR code and replying to a few basic questions was enough to gather client data. Pre-covid trends like shop local, environmental friendly and circular lifted off due to a strong digital proposition!
What about your business?
Check your data points. How did customer experience change during lockdown and how does it evolve during release of lockdown. Has customer behavior changed and does it persist? Did you already have an online sales channel, were your operations reliable and well perceived by your customers?
Pre-covid you did not invest much in online “because your business needs a human touch”? Rethink your model. If there’s one lesson learned from Covid, it is that human and digital go together very well.
Customer feedback is key to develop at your customers’ need. Customer feedback only tells you something on your existing value proposition and customer experience. Developing a valuable future customer experience needs an adaptive strategy on future trends and developments. Develop ahead of your customers feedback instead of following your customers feedback.
Customer Experience in the New Normal is a constantly evolving experience based on the way human behaviour in business as well as in private life is changing. Customer Experience is not something you fix, it’s continuously changing and needs constant reflection based on trends against developed business strategies.
Successful companies have Customer Experience as a fixed item on their board meetings’ agenda.