If you’ve been working at your CX strategy for a while now, chances are, you have customer information as fresh and recent as Q4 2019…
“…but those reports may as well be turned into bird-cage liners now.”
That’s according to Christine Rimer, vice president of customer experience and advocacy at Survey Monkey. She’s right. With all of the unprecedented turmoil, uncertainty, and unprecedented change, most businesses – and their customers – have experienced equally tumultuous changes. Needs, expectations, even values are shifting. To keep up market demands and rebuild robust, positive CX, Rimer suggests that customer-centric organizations will now need to “relearn the shifting needs of their customers.”
In her recent article, “CX Will be Essential for Rebuilding After COVID-19: Four Steps You Need to Take Now,” Rimer recommends taking four critical steps. As I read her piece, I saw her recommendations as smart, useful rules for all customer-centric companies who are committed to moving forward.
You can read it here. As you do, I’d like to add a 5th rule: Communicate with customers on multiple levels. Yes, surveys are incredibly helpful. But as a leader, I know there are few sources of intelligence as valuable as the simple act of conversation.
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CX Will Be Essential for Rebuilding After COVID-19: Four Steps You Need to Take Now
by Christine Rimer
CX has become one of the most important ways companies can stand out from the crowd—and also one of the most confounding issues. Yet B2B companies still struggle to understand how consumer trends are driving expectations.
The idea that needs are static can hinder any company from delivering quality CX to its customers. Solving this problem becomes even more critical now as companies are considering how to recover from the global disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The needs and wants of customers have shifted dramatically in the couple of months, and companies that continue to move forward in the same old ways will struggle for quite some time.
I recently had a chance to discuss customer experience (CX) best-practices at length with a network of top enterprise leaders. They offered some great insights.
Here are four ways B2B companies can provide helpful, impactful, and timely CX during the crisis.
- Anticipate needs
Companies with robust CX programs have likely gathered customer information in Q4 2019, but those reports may as well be turned into bird-cage liners now. To create meaningful programs that will drive positive CX, companies need to relearn the shifting needs of their customers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused virtually everyone to reconsider their needs. Once people began worrying they wouldn’t have enough food, the frills and perks of traditional CX programs suddenly became uninteresting and even frivolous. Companies should focus on solving problems for customers; otherwise, they risk coming off as insincere if perceived as shamelessly promoting their product.
Listening is the key. Understanding how to address customer priorities has to come from a place of empathy with a bias toward how you can be helpful to your customers. Listening and building with that empathy will let organizations provide products and services that genuinely serve customers’ needs and generate goodwill without coming across as tone deaf or uncaring.
- Take relevant action
One of the CX leaders I recently spoke with shared that their company is overhauling their relationship surveys at the moment. Their standard question set felt inconsiderate and less relevant to building and maintaining current customer relationships under the circumstances. Most leading companies are no doubt considering the same thing, whether that means changing the language of surveys, altering the questions or pausing them altogether.
Relevance is crucial at any time to successful CX programs, because it touches on the two primary elements at play: First, the efforts have to be aligned with business strategies and pursue the best interests of the company; second, the elements of the program have to be meaningful in the moment and in the overall context.
Taking care of the customers while looking after the business goals can be a tricky line to draw. A CX leader should build programs beginning with the business strategy and determining what is important to long-term success—even if it means rethinking valuable data sources like relationship surveys.
The more organizations can internally align on goals, the easier it is to drive momentum with stakeholders and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
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