7 ways businesses can improve customer experience during a crisis

Whether you offer a service or a product, global lock-down as well as post-pandemic crisis will likely alter how you do business. As you adjust to this new way of doing things, keep in mind that things have changed for your customers, too. Their experience with your product or service may suffer if you don’t adjust your customer service to the new normal.

At Nexa, we believe that one of the most important things your organization can do to reduce the damage and stay resilient is to focus on improving interactions for your customer. Saying this feels like stating the obvious, but unfortunately, many companies seemed to have overlooked this. A study published by the Harvard Business Review found that the number of customer service calls that were ranked “difficult” by customers doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Needless to say, by neglecting the customer experience, they’re hurting their bottom line. 

Below are some ways that your company can overcome challenges, improve your customer experience and meet your customers’ evolving needs. These tips will help you adjust to the changing customer behavior, which is especially important because a lot of it will stick.

7 ways to improve your customer experience in 2020

1. Enhance your ecommerce site

Unsurprisingly, online shopping has exploded during the pandemic. If your organization doesn’t already have an ecommerce offering on your website, it’s something worth considering investing in building. If your company already has an online shopping option, now is a good time to make sure it’s in top shape. 

  • Shipping notifications: Currently many companies are experiencing delays in shipping, as logistics companies shift capacity to essential goods. Make sure you update your shipping information and let customers know where their shipment is and when they can expect it.
  • Cross-selling: Customer needs are changing to keep up with quarantine, make sure to promote products that are related. For example, there’s a much higher demand for home wear like slippers, pajamas, and sweatpants as opposed to formal clothes. 

2. Automate and digitize

By automating information for customers, you can help them find the answers to their questions quickly. Use a callback feature so customers don’t have to wait on hold. You could also update any self-help menu options for callers so they can get the most up-to-date information. This can save your company time and money as well as help enhance the customer experience.

If you manage a restaurant, consider digitizing your menus, instead of handing out physical copies. Create a mobile-optimized version of your menu on your website, and let customers access it through a QR code or a shortened URL. 

3. Manage online reviews and online profiles

As we’re confined to our homes, we’ll spend more time online and have more opportunity to research businesses before we decide to make a purchase or visit. Make sure your online information is accurate and useful, as well as easily viewed on mobile devices.

  • Negative reviews and reputation: You can be proactive by using complaints to your advantage. Respond quickly and empathetically to negative feedback.
  • Updated hours: Double check to make sure your new or updated hours are reflected on your Google My Business profile, as well as Bing and Yelp. 

4. Hire professionals

During this time, you may want to hire a professional answering service company to handle your calls. If you’re missing calls, appointments, and potential customers, now is the time to fix this! Leaving your customer care in the hands of professionals can improve the experience for your customers in a number of ways; with the right answering service, you’ll be able to provide the same level of customer service as any large company at a fraction of the cost.

5. Respond to changing consumer demands

Customers usually adjust their spending in one of four ways when there is a recession, according to researchers. There are consumers who won’t spend any money on extras, then there are those who don’t change their spending habits at all. Consider who your targeted customers are and respond to their changing needs. We’ve seen many businesses get creative by reaching out to customers in new ways during social isolation!

  • Special offers: many consumers will be looking for sales during economic hardships, consider adding special offers on your inventory.
  • Online content & products: workout studios and gyms have been getting creative with online lessons, or pivoting to promoting at home workout equipment.

6. Update your content offerings

Consider adjusting your customer content to fit with the times. Webinars, blogs, podcasts, and online tutorials are some of the best ways that you can reach out to your customers. Ensure that the content you create contains tips and information to help your customers adjust to the new normal.

  • Webinars are a great way to connect with your stay at home customers. They allow for 2 way participation and are great for Q&A or educational sessions, where you can interact with your clients.
  • Timely blogs and newsletters can help answer questions about how your business is adjusting to new safety protocols during the pandemic.

7. Stay agile

The marketplace has changed dramatically over the past few months. Organizations that are able to be flexible and agile when it comes to their customer service will be able to survive the uncertain times and move forward. Consider creating an operating model that allows your teams to make quick decisions based on a long-term vision for your company’s future. 

Keep your customers top-of-mind

We hope this article has helped you a little in navigating the challenges as the COVID-19 crisis continues, and in preparing for coming out the other side.

There are lots of ways that you can improve the customer experience during the pandemic. You can ease delivery of service by outsourcing your call center activity, use tech tools to connect with customers, offer updated, helpful and informative content, and more. No matter what you choose to do, put your customers first and foremost. Here’s to top-level customer experience and more loyal customers!