The COVID-19 pandemic has rocked more than the global economy – it has changed lives, reshaped priorities, and transformed spending habits.
Research shows that almost half of Australian households are financially insecure, a reality that will undoubtedly lead to reduced household consumption. As shoppers become more discerning, businesses are forced to compete even harder for consumer dollars – and winning out doesn’t always mean offering the lowest price.
In a post-pandemic world, consumers are looking for dependability. They want to trust the brands they choose – they cannot afford to take financial risks, however small. Businesses are tasked with reimagining their approach to customer relationship management.
Customer-centricity cannot be just another buzzword thrown around the office. If a company is to grow, or even maintain, their pool of loyal customers, everything from internal processes to end products must reflect the customers’ needs, wants, and expectations.
Here are three ways companies can adapt their customer relationship strategy in the face of COVID-19.
Make more data-backed decisions
Every touchpoint of your customers’ journeys generates data. Using this data to make more precise decisions is the key to unlocking better customer experiences.
Think of the data your customers and prospects create as the fingerprints they leave on everything they touch. When they visit your website, send your customer service staff an email, or phone your office, you can track down their fingerprint, analyse it, and uncover a treasure trove of information about them and their behaviour.
It’s crucial that you measure the right kind of data, too. When it comes to contact centre data, first call resolution (FCR) is one metric that is typically highly rated. While this is an accurate indicator of efficient service, it doesn’t tell you much about overall satisfaction or loyalty.
A customer satisfaction survey can be a valuable data mine. We explored this topic in depth in our article, Designing a Customer Satisfaction Survey.
Focus on customer retention, not customer growth
For most businesses, growth should take a back seat. If you have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, it’s more about surviving than thriving for the time being.
To do this, shift your focus to the element of customer relationships you can control: how you manage your existing customers. Remove the pressure of a continuous growth mindset and take this opportunity to reconsider and reinvent the fundamental processes and tools you have in place.
How can you resolve your existing customers’ problems more quickly? How can you make communication more convenient? How have your customers’ expectations changed, and what can you do to adapt?
Aim for genuine customer-centricity
The term ‘customer-centric’ has been around since the 1960s. Customer-centric practices have since evolved from direct snail mail through to the introduction of the loyalty card in the 1980s. Today, the internet and exponential rise of eCommerce has opened the doors to unprecedented opportunities for customer-centric business.
But what does that look like in a post-pandemic world?
For many, it’s about shifting the weight from operational excellence to end-to-end customer focus. A 15 per cent improvement in operational efficiency year on year is great but has little bearing if you fall short with your customers.
Every decision, every action, and every detail at every level of your organisation – from the CEO to the contact centre staff – must target a customer-centric outcome, whether that’s a better experience or enhanced loyalty.
A genuine customer-centric mindset embedded into the very structure of your business provides the foundation you need to nurture relationships even during the toughest of times.