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What CX Leaders Can Predict in a Crisis

It feels a little tricky to try to predict anything these days… but I’m going to ask you to try.

Knowing how much uncertainty is out there, it can be tempting to throw up our hands and say our customer experience is on hold indefinitely.

But of course, that’s not the case. Your customer experience happens whether you are planning it or not. Your customers continue to have concerns, maybe more than ever before, and they are judging their experiences based on who is there for them.

Is there anything we can feel confident about predicting? I’m going to give it a try.

1. Your customer feedback results may hit some low points, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important.

Customers will be dealing with challenges of their own, and your support teams may be challenged with absences, shorter shifts, overburdened technology, or other challenges. During these times, customers may be more likely to complete that post-call survey and let you know exactly what they think. They may be taking out some stress on your contact agents and the survey itself. They also might let you know about those amazing moments of empathy that gave them hope during a hard time.

Prepare your leaders that the dip is going to happen. Your Net Promoter Score or Customer Satisfaction Rating might not look the way it usually does.

But now is not the time to turn it off completely. It’s hard to see these results, but they are just as important as any other time.

Look for areas in the feedback that you can control. You might not be able to speed up everyone’s at-home Internet speeds, but you might be able to reduce the number of questions a customer has to answer repeatedly to get service.

Feedback is still there to help you understand, not just report. Don’t miss this opportunity to leverage this gift of insights.

2. Your front-line employees need a way to communicate with leadership.

Make ways for your support agents, your frontline service providers, and anyone else who is dealing with customers directly to have a way to share what they’re experiencing. Burnout is going to ramp up quickly for some of these teams, and feeling like “nobody is listening” is a key ingredient to that outcome.

Help those who are helping you and your customers shoulder this burden feel like they have a voice and you hear them.

Provide updates to questions or concerns and allow for town halls, anonymous feedback mechanisms, or other creative ways to allow these incredibly important employees to vent, challenge and question processes, systems and even leadership right now.

3. Customers will reward those organizations who stick by them, whatever that looks like.

Customers are worried about so many things right now. Consider the entire ecosystem and how your brand can honor the relationships you already have. Put your loyalty program on overdrive by extending point expiration or rewarding engagement with your brand right now.

Reach out to customers about the fears they may be having. Don’t wait for them to have to ask. Let them know that you won’t be punishing those customers who can’t travel or shop in-store right now.

You can probably brainstorm 10 “Customer Anxiety Questions” right now. What’s worrying your customers, big and small? They might be worried about your global supply chain. But they might also be worried about how delivery packaging goes against their eco-friendly ideals. Address these questions wherever you communicate with customers, like when they’re ordering on your app or site.

Then keep communicating. You’re there for them so they’ll be there for you.

4. Our customer journeys will change.

Our behavior is changing. As more of us work from home, we are looking for different ways to interact with the brands we’ve known and loved.

The brands that are adapting now can take this time to proactively plan the journeys of the future. Customers may demand different choices, like at-home workouts available as well as in-gym classes. This moment is showing us how quickly innovation can happen for the better. Don’t lose that momentum and go back to “business as usual” when the restrictions are lessened.

Your customers won’t go back to “customers as usual.” They will be aware of supporting those brands they want to see successful and back away from those who didn’t treat customers fairly.

If you’re not thinking about the future journeys of your customers today, get ready. Your customers already are.

Take this time to recognize and revamp your customer journeys.

5. Leaders will forever be global and local.

It’s been heartening to see leaders of global brands make huge donations of much-needed medical supplies where they are needed most. It’s also been heartwarming to see local businesses offer new services like delivery, curbside pickup and “order for your neighbor” features. The “we’re in this together” feeling is universal right now, and your customers are watching to see how leaders are stepping up to the tasks at hand.

The world, and your neighborhood, is watching. Employees and customers of the future will recognize those brands who lead the way for the benefit of all of us.

Take a look at what you can predict, and what you can do. It can feel overwhelming to lean into ideas like future customer experiences, but now is the time to plan and predict for what’s next.

One more prediction for you: Those leaders who continue to focus on customers will feel more engaged and empowered, and will engage and empower their employees and customers to help ride out the storms.

These short-term results are not a destiny. We can do this. After all, we’re in this together.

About Jeannie Walters, CCXP, CSP

Jeannie Walters CCXP CSP small square photoJeannie is an award-winning customer experience expert, international keynote speaker, and sought-after business coach who is trailblazing the movement from “Reactive Customer Service” to “Proactive Customer and Employee Experience.” More than 500,000 people have learned from her CX courses on LinkedIn Learning, and her insights have been featured in Forbes, The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal and NPR

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