by Kurt Schroeder and John Seeds
Customer expectations have changed. If we have learned anything in the last few months, it’s that preferences have been continually shifting, as customers seek environments and businesses that provide them with a convenient and safe environment. Customers want to feel secure when they go shopping and seek touch-free environments that provide them with a seamless experience.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to broadly impact consumers' lives, it's changing how they assess their needs and which ones are now a priority. Health and safety are now critical for customers who engage with in-person services.
In order to meet these changing expectations, brands must re-examine the environments they create for their customers and assess which of the services they provide are truly effective at giving customers the feeling of safety they crave. By doing this, brands can embrace the new normal and ultimately transform CX for both the short and long-term.
The Power of Prioritizing Customer Safety
The trust customers have in brands is now more critical than ever, as their desire to feel safe while shopping overpowers all other needs. Customers are more likely to shop at stores that have optimized their experience to provide different contact and touch-free options. Brands that place their customer’s health and safety at the forefront of their plans make their customers feel understood and respected, growing their trust in the brand.
Providing exceptional CX begins with recognizing your customers' needs and communicating that they know you are there to serve them best. For many companies, re-examining their physical store's role in the shopping experience can help to properly align their services to meet changing customer expectations. Adding services such as drive-through, curbside pickup and delivery moves your business away from the traditional in-person experience and recognizes your customer's needs.
When a brand can effectively communicate the adjustments they’ve made to their services and highlight the concern they have for their customers’ needs, they reinvigorate their customer relationships. Putting safety at the front of your business considerations is vital to your customers and gives them a greater sense of the relationship you have forged with them. By recognizing your customer’s needs, your organization is able to provide a better experience while simultaneously growing brand trust and strengthening your relationships.
Options to Prioritize Safety
Every brand should take the time to consider opportunities for maximizing the safety of their customers and employees. When reviewing your safety adaptation options, be sure to consider the overall effectiveness of the adaptation, as well as your organization’s ability to sustain the adaptation in the long-term.
Viable safety adaptations include:
- Updating store layouts: For companies that still allow shopping in stores, an essential consideration is physical contact. Rethinking the in-store shopping experience and store layout to ensure it provides minimal employee contact can help deliver the safest, socially distanced experience.
- Adjusting the employee experience: In any successful CX strategy, the experience you provide your employees will impact the experience they provide your customers. Ensuring that your employees feel comfortable and safe in their environment helps them offer the same to your customers.
- Analyzing feedback: All brands should continuously collect feedback from their customers to best serve their evolving needs. Especially right now, utilizing feedback to assess what actions would increase your customer's feeling of safety can help you identify the actions necessary to alleviate any potential concerns they may have.
- Integrating new technology: To keep pace with evolving needs and preferences, consider leveraging new technology to help predict and manage customer expectations. Technology such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and CRM systems enable your organization to maintain multiple touchpoints with customers and gain a more cohesive – and actionable – view of the individuals and groups you serve.
How Avtex Can Help
We understand the significance of providing your customers with an exceptional experience when they interact with your brand. COVID-19 has shifted expectations for what those experiences look like, and many brands may require new perspectives, technology or services to best meet customer needs.
At Avtex, we are prepared to help your business identify what adaptations would be best to meet the needs of your customers. We’re here to help you create a feeling of safety and loyalty when customers interact with your business.