Month: October 2020

Post-Covid-customer-experience

There shall be no return to normal: Focal points for the post-COVID customer experience strategy

Many people think that as soon as this crisis is over, they will rapidly return to life before COVID-19. Unfortunately, life after COVID-19 will not be the same. The COVID period is a harsh transformation period for all organizations. The very foundations on which the existing business strategies were developed have changed. This crisis has marked a sharp change in most business trends. It has changed customer values and expectations, necessitating new customer experience strategies in the post-COVID-19 era.

Drawing inspiration from publications and reports by some of the world’s most authoritative sources, this write up seeks to demonstrate the effect that COVID-19 has had on the economy, and propose a framework for post-COVID customer experience.

The impact of COVID-19 on the economy.

From December 2019 – 16th October 2020 the world has recorded 38,984,808 cases of COVID-19 with 1,099,184 deaths.  4,14% of corona cases have been reported from Africa, 31,1% from Asia, 47.4% from America, 17,1% from Europe (ECDPC, 2020).

COVID-19 has plunged the world economy into the worst recession in eight decades. While it is projected that growth will recover in 2021, the pace of the recovery is still very uncertain and will largely depend on the availability of a vaccine and the rate of improvements in trade and investments. (WBG, 2020). Some of the shocks on the global economy as revealed in an April 2020 world bank study include a 3% drop in unemployment below the base level, an increase of 25% in the cost of imports and exports in international trade, a sharp drop of 20-32% in international tourism, and a drop in household demand for services requiring closer human interactions by 15%.(WBG, 2020).

The global economy’s return to pre-COVID 19 level of activity remains prone to setbacks. The global growth is projected at –4,4% for 2020 and 5,2% for 2021. These trends imply high unemployment rates this year and next year for both emerging and advanced economies. It is projected that social distancing will continue into 2021 though it shall fade over time with improvements in treatment and the use of a vaccine. (IMF, 2020)

A September 2020 McKinsey Global Survey, however, suggests a positive shift in economic sentiment as executives are becoming more hopeful about the global economy and their company performance as things are slowly getting back under control compared to the perceptions at the start of the crises.

Focal points for post-COVID customer experience strategy

Given the amplitude of the disruptions COVID-19 has had on the economy, we really cannot talk of a return to normal anymore. Businesses would have to play by new rules, set new visions and review their current operational models. Some business trends that were forecasted before the crisis has accelerated due to the crisis while others have drastically slowed down. Three strategic post-COVID customer experience focal areas include: digital transformation, employee experience and reengineering customer touchpoints.

Digital Transformation

Accelerated by social distancing and the adoption of remote working, there could be no better time for engaging in digital transformation projects. The crisis has facilitated the acceptance of technologies which were resisted and ignored before. These new technologies have taught us an alternative way of holding meetings, working and learning.

Digital transformation has also greatly affected marketing processes. The lockdowns and social distancing have pushed people to connect more within online communities, changing drastically the ball game for marketing, and placing the digital marketer at the center of marketing efforts. This trend may not change after the crises and could become the new normal.

The increased online presence and shift to digital channels is reshaping e-commerce. This presents a great opportunity for technology companies. The spillover effect is also beneficial to organizations as these increased innovations and supply of digital services are leading to free and low cost access to digital services and technologies.

Many companies used this lockdown to transform their business models completely and now operate 100% virtual companies with employees working from home.

Employee Experience

Employees are increasingly working from home. Traveling and business trips are reducing, and there are major changes happening in the internal customer service environment. The approach to work is changing, the tools used for work are changing, the approach to service delivery is changing, workflows are being altered, the business operational guides are being adjusted, vacation scheduling is being reviewed and the dynamics that exert external influence on employees such as family, social groups and lifestyle are changing.

The employee is undergoing a 360 degree transformation and many will become obsolete due to the rapid and massive nature of the change.  New talent will evolve and new competencies will be needed. Many performance reviews may not happen in 2020, and for those that take place, many would not be based on the objectives that were set at the beginning of the year. This also means new performance trends will emerge.

The COVID global pandemic has made it easy to differentiate companies with great employee experience from those without it. The approach that has been used by the management of companies to sail through this crisis has shown where most companies stand when it comes to customer and employee care. Some companies have shown no care or responsibility for their workers during this pandemic. The effect on employee motivation and performance will show in the 2020 performance.

Employees are becoming more mindful of personal hygiene and expect the workplace to keep them safe. Companies need to put in place structures and equipment that ensure not only the hygiene of the customers but also that of employees.

With increased unemployment, shutdown of schools and other activities, the financial burden on workers has increased. Though they may be paid the same salary, much will be needed to keep them sufficiently motivated as their hierarchy of needs has changed. Employee access to health and safety is more valuable to them now.

Reengineering customer touchpoints

One evident consequence of the corona pandemic is a total disruption of existing customer journeys. A lot has changed about the customer persona: their taste, motivations, social groups, and preferred channels among others.

Companies need new data to create new user and customer personas. Organizations need to re-engineer their customer touchpoints. They must identify what has changed in the way customers interact with them, customer needs and expectations. Organizations need to design and deploy new customer experiences.

Organizations will need to review and identify changes that have happened in their operations and how these changes are affecting customers. They will need to review their customer touchpoints in order to understand which contact points have become pain-points and redefine their strategy. The new journey maps will be subjected to 3 dominant forces. Alignment to the World Health Organization’s recommendations, the organizational changes and the new customer needs.

Conclusion.

Certainly, we will overcome this pandemic but nothing will ever be the same again. The post-COVID economy will be one marked by deep-rooted changes that will affect even the vision and mission of most organizations. Leveraging on technology and customer experience management will be the new playground for competitive advantage. There shall be no return to normal. The new normal begins now.

By MBINKAR Kpunsa Fomunyuy |Author | Customer Experience Expert |

Customer bill of rights

What is the Customer Service Bill of Rights?

Defining you customer service strategy is one thing but communicating that position to the customers is another thing all together. In this article we would understand what a customer’s bill of rights is and how we can develop and publicize one.

What is a bill of rights?

The Oxford languages dictionary defines  Bill of rights as a formal declaration of the legal and civil rights of the citizens of any state, country, federation, etc. This bill of rights or chatter of rights is simply the list of the most important rights to the citizen of a country.

The 10 first amendments of the constitution of the united states of America, or Bill of rights of the united states of America include rights like the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition, rights of accused person, rights of trial by jury in civil cases etc. The point here is to show you the fundamental nature of the rights that make up the bill of rights. The purpose of these rights is to protect the citizens against excessive government infringement.

The customer bill of rights

A customer bill of rights is simply those set of rights you accord to your customers. Those very fundamental things your customers deserve and whose non respect is discriminating against them or depriving them of what they are rightfully due. While this would vary from one organization to another,  there are some basic rights that every organization must accord to the customers such as the right to be listened to. The right to complain if they are not satisfied with the products or services, the right to have their privacy respected and their data protected.

How can I create a customer bill of rights?

Creating a customer bill of rights requires team effort by the organization. The starting point of this process is to access the quality of service you currently offer to the  customers. There are three ways of getting this right ; knowing what the employees think, what the customers think and the getting expert opinion on the health of your customer service. Listen to the voice of the customer through feedback to know what their impressions are.

Once the areas of amelioration have all been identified. The next phase is to decide on the strategy that will be used to solve the problems raised as well as the new attitude which every employee would have to adopt. This consist of making new customer service resolutions. What we want to change. How we hope to change it. Who shall be in charge of each action.

At this point we have a clear pictures of how much our customer service has been hurting or helping our customers. Based on the resolutions made, you can now state your customers’ rights  which we must respect going forward. Setting a bill of rights announces to the customers your dedication to improving their experience and defines clearly the promises you make to them. It has a big impact on shaping the customers’ expectations and serves as a measuring tool for the services delivered.

CX TouchPoints Group

Let our experts create a bill of rights for your organisation.

Publication and examples of our customer service bill of rights.

The job doesn’t end with developing lofty rights for the customer. We need to communicate this to the customer. Make it visible and put it where ever customer can have access to. Make sure your team goes through these rights as often as possible so they do not forget the promise you have made to the customers.

There are many creative ways in which some companies have developed this concept. Though the appellations may change the central idea remains the same. Here are a few examples. The Ritz Carlton hotels and resorts defines 12 service values in their  Gold Standard a set of pronouncements which encompasses their values and philosophy.

The herb’s auto customer bill of rights includes the promise to do free tire rotation with yearly inspection, free copying service, free lifetime emergency towing and more. They  inscribe this nicely and publicly on their website.

Republic west Remodeling Customer’s Bill of rights provides a guide by which customers can set their expectations for any home remodeling project. They present 10 rights which are beautifully published on their website. These include; the right to know before customers agree to any project what the project cost will be upon contract signing, along with a true and accurate understanding of what the project will cost upon its completion.

Another great example is the Neal Tire and auto service bill of rights in which the company commits to be responsive and respectful, to sell only what customer needs, to provide clear explanation of cost before doing any work, to have trained professionals working on the customers’ vehicles, to keep customers updated on the status of their vehicle and to provide clean and comfortable place for the customer to wait.

Customer-bill-of-rights Neal.

Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights / Consumer Bill of Rights

In the United states of America in 2012, the Obama administration enacted the consumer privacy bill of rights in view of improving consumer privacy protection. These include the right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect, the right to easily understand an access information about privacy and security practices, the right to expect that companies will collect use and disclose personal data in ways that are consistent,  consumers  right to responsible handling of their personal data, the right to access and correct personal data, the right to reasonable limits on the personal data that companies collect and retain among others. 

Just like in the above intervention by the Obama administration, in 1952 president John F. Kennedy extolled for 4 basic consumer rights in his speech to congress on March 15th; the right to safety, the right to be informed, the right to choose and the right to be heard. These rights also called the consumer bill of rights were latter expanded to 8 rights by the united nations through its guidelines for consumer protection. These additions included the right to satisfaction of basic needs, the right to redress, the right to consumer education and the right to a healthy environment.

The value of a customer service bill of rights.

As we can see in the above examples. Having a bill of rights is an assurance of the quality that would be delivered. It raises the confidence level of the customers in your ability to deliver great service. It is an indication of the quality of the products and services that would be received. Your customer service bill of rights sets the bar for the kind of service you would deliver and permit to differentiate you from competition.

Mbinkar Kpunsa F.

Author