What to Cut (and What to Grow) in Your Post-COVID CX Budget

4 Key Metrics That Are Worth a Bigger Investment

As every company grapples with planning and budgeting for next year (and realistically, even for the next few months) many brands are feeling some understandable pressure to look for ways to cut sales, marketing, and CX budgets. For any senior leader going through that exercise, I strongly recommend reading this well thought-through article by Daniel Newman for Forbes. To support his argument for increasing CX investments, Newman points to 4 increasingly meaningful and necessary CX metrics – and what it will take to track them in a post-COVID world.

You can read his article below. When you do, consider the powerful example Newman uses to describe the fundamental necessity of having a nimble, reliable, brand-centric customer care partner: one “company saw customer service inquiries increase from 60 per minute to 200 per second…”  

He continues on to explain how, while every brand wants to deliver great customer experience, a catastrophe can change most company’s ability to do so, if the customer care agents are furloughed or struggling to adapt to a temporary remote work situation. That example resonated for me because it illustrates why Skybridge Americas has been able to provide consistent, uninterrupted, superior customer experience throughout the pandemic because we invested in Agents Anywhere, our at-home staffing model years ago. When COVID came to North America, our agents were already successfully working at home. If you would like to know how Skybridge Americas can help you, please reach out. We would love to talk!

4 Key Customer Experience Metrics Brands Should Be Tracking

By Daniel Newman

Most businesses around the world are being forced to take a hard look at their budgets, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. The smart ones, however, have realized that increasing spend on things like customer experience could be highly valuable in keeping their businesses afloat during this tenuous business climate. Even before COVID-19 hit, 9 in 10 executives agreed that customer experience was a critical differentiator for their brands. Now, with 55% of Yelp businesses shut down for good due to the virus, customer experience is arguably more important than ever.

Still, telling businesses to “improve CX” isn’t enough to help in the new normal business climate. Just ask WestJet. In the early days of quarantine, the company saw customer service inquiries increase from 60 per minute to 200 per second. We all want to provide optimal customer experiences. But in a global pandemic, when large percentages of the employees are working remotely or furloughed, it can be difficult to provide the same kind of experience your customers expect.

Customer expectations are also changing. Following the coronavirus outbreak, customers have said they’re more likely to choose a product based on convenience, health, safety, and purpose than they are brand loyalty. We’ve all seen that play out as shoppers do whatever it takes to find a roll—any roll—of toilet paper, rather than searching only for their favorite brand. So, what should companies be focusing on as they try to improve customer experience during COVID-19? Check out these four metrics.

We can be tempted to treat this period of semi-quarantine the same as any other and seek to provide our customers with the “same old” customer experience we’ve always given them. To a degree, that’s a solid strategy. After all, you want to differentiate yourself from other companies offering similar products and services the same way you always have. Still, we also need to keep in mind, as noted above, the world is different now. Customers’ expectations have changed—and will continue to change—in the coming weeks, months, and even years. Thus, it’s necessary to continually recheck and recharge our CX efforts based on the current pulse of customers.

This means more focus, more diligence and for many companies more investment in technology and tools. Data is often compared to oil as the next critical resource. Well, to use data, it takes a commitment to being an analytics led culture AND it takes investment into tools that enable customers to extract the most value from all of their data and utilize that data across their customer life-cycle.

CX Metric 1: Customer Feedback:

This is not a time to skimp on customer surveys. It’s a Whether it’s Qualtrics, Survey Monkey or ZenDesk, it’s time to ask in no uncertain terms how your customers think you’re doing and what you need to differently to meet their changing needs. There is literally no other way to get this information besides asking. Getting into a customer-centric huddle is not enough. Too many variables are changing on the daily for your customers and employees alike to be able to make accurate assumptions about what your customers need. I’m still blown away by the number of business decision makers that don’t use data and customer feedback when it is widely accessible to support strategy and operational decision making. Make it common policy to survey customers regularly and adjust your protocols as much as possible based on what you learn.

CX Metric 2: Omnichannel Data:

Surveys are great, but they are only one source of information, and you can’t force customers to fill them out (although you can certainly offer incentives.) To make up for any blind spots in your customer survey results, be sure to collect omnichannel data from across your various communication and social media channels. How are audiences responding and engaging with your social media ads? How have visits to your online store changed? How long do customers watch your Instagram story before moving on to greener pastures? All of these things are great clues to how well you’re doing in the CX department.

Now, this is where technology comes into play. Systems of record that can keep track and provide easy access to data across applications. Most businesses have a lot of data but organizing and making data accessible and valuable is the next phase. I’ll talk more to this below, but omnichannel is a great way to understand your customers and deliver CX so long as the right underlying tools are being employed.

READ the entire article here >

-Bobby Matthews

Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Skybridge Americas

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