Usually, we think of “disruptors” as upstart competitors that swoop in with new solutions to old needs (or new ways of convincing buyers of needs they never even knew they had).
Unforeseen disruptions can wreak havoc on the processes, practices – and profits – of even the most well established brands. But for those brands that scramble to catch up – and survive to tell about it – there are profound, long-term benefits of the experience. Indeed, entire industries benefit from the quantum advances brought on by unexpected disruptors.
In his article for SmarterCX, Stephen Fioretti takes a look at the long term effects – and benefits – that COVID-19 is already having on customer experience. I appreciate his silver linings approach to the current challenges we’re all facing together. He talks about 5 CX trends that were already in the making before the pandemic but have accelerated dramatically as a result of it. I would add a 6th one: Decentralized Call Centers Staffed with At-Home Agents. Before the coronavirus, Skybridge Americas was one of the few customer care operations that had invested in the technology, management systems, and processes to empower all call center agents to move seamlessly from brick and mortar centers into their own home offices.
You can read the entire article below. If you would like to know more about how Skybridge Americas can help you deliver superior customer experience with high performing teams of at-home agents, please reach out. We would love to talk!
5 Customer Experience Trends That COVID-19 Is Only Accelerating
by Stephen Fioretti
The current pandemic is a clear example of a disruption that, in many cases, is accelerating trends that were already happening. Below is a look at a few of these trends, including contactless consumer experiences, the ability for employees to “Work From Anywhere”, virtual engagements, and the acceleration of messaging as a channel. We’ll likely see these trends continue to accelerate over time.
Contactless consumer experiences: payments
A contactless payment is a payment transaction that doesn’t require physical contact between a consumer’s payment device and a point-of-sale (POS) terminal. The consumer holds a payment device (e.g. a mobile device) close to a POS terminal and payment account information is transmitted wirelessly. A January report from Ingenico Group and Freedom Pay found that 75% of millennials and 70% of Gen Z shoppers said they were satisfied with contactless payments, with the latter group saying that they’re a “must have” option for merchants.
The pandemic has only accelerated the growth of contactless consumer payments. Richard Crone, CEO of Crone Consulting, estimated in a blog from the National Retail Federation that the use of contactless payments have grown by 20% since the beginning of the pandemic. Known players such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay have all reported growth. Small businesses are also tapping mobile payment companies such as Square and Venmo for contactless payment experiences. “Consumers want safety, and they want to know when they have to touch something that it’s sanitized,” Crone said for the blog. Crone stated, “There’s nothing more assuring than their own phone.” Rob Harrold, senior manager with Deloitte’s strategy and operations practice was also interviewed and said, “What was more of a convenience option has now turned to a ‘safety’ feature.”
Popwallet is an example of a company that helps brands that want to leverage this growth of contactless payments. They make it easy for brands to pop promotions and personalized content from ads, emails, and other channels into their touchless mobile wallet. Popwallet helps marketers improve engagement of consumers within this mobile experience and measures their response. If a consumer brand isn’t considering or using contactless mobile wallets to engage consumers, they risk getting left behind.
Contactless consumer experiences: curbside pickup
The coronavirus has been a catalyst for big changes in the way consumers spend and pay. As mentioned above, trends like contactless payments are growing, and so is the move towards “buying online and picking up in-store”. This service is now a ‘must have,’ and the pandemic has accelerated what was likely already going to happen. According to Invesp, 67% of shoppers in the US have used Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) in the past six months, and 10% of all sales will be fulfilled by Click and Collect by 2025.
Curbside pickup has become popular with retailers, restaurants, and grocery stores. And it’s easy to see why this happening – the option is convenient for shoppers, limits congestion in stores, and minimizes human interaction.
Glympse provides “The Last Mile Automation” for curbside pickup, giving shoppers the ability to track the real time status of a grocery delivery or “drive up & go order” through a brand’s ecommerce platform. When a shopper places an online order, the local retailer fulfills the order and the shopper receives an alert when the purchase is ready. Shoppers can then use the Glympse platform to share their location when they’re on the way, and a geofence trigger alerts the retailer’s staff when the customer is about to arrive. It also enables 2-way communication between the shopper and the business to fine tune the contactless curbside experience.
Work from anywhere
While the movement of working from home or anywhere was gaining traction before the pandemic (e.g. to give employees flexibility, harness the gig economy, improve job satisfaction, reduce agent turnover, and adapt to the new workforce expectations), this new workforce trend has become the norm. Companies across the nation expect to have at least a portion of their employees continue to work remotely permanently. Some companies were ready, or at least were moving in that direction already while other companies scrambled to deploy the technology to support a distributed workforce. It’s critical that these remote workforces have the infrastructure and tools necessary to communicate and collaborate with other employees or customers via phone, email, chat, video, and messaging.
OpenMethods and Five9 have helped companies and governments get up and running quickly to work from anywhere. They have enabled many organizations to move their contact centers to a distributed model and helped keep contact centers going while communicating and collaborating with their extended enterprise and their customers. Customers still expect you to help them with their questions and needs—quickly, calmly, and with empathy—and these two companies have helped many organizations maintain this level of service.
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
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