Your brand is most likely under pressure to maintain and even improve its customer experience during this time of rapidly changing attitudes and behaviors. To navigate this volatile environment, it’s critical not to fall prey to short-term behavioral measures that are less likely to be predictive of long-term patterns of behavior.
Our experience is that long-term measures on overall attitudes and behaviors are more beneficial during times of marketplace shock like we are experiencing now. Core attitudes, psychographics and behaviors tend to be more stable in predicting customer behavior in the long run than short-term environmental shocks. While some metrics may change — for example, consumers may become more price sensitive or more risk averse during economic turbulence — those tend to move back to their natural state when the external event has subsided.
Our experience is that long-term measures on overall attitudes and behaviors are more beneficial during times of marketplace shock like we are experiencing now.”
A high level of customer experience is often based on face-to-face interactions. These will wane in a number of different categories due to social distancing, but it will continue in others to ensure a meaningful customer experience. High-involvement purchases steeped in emotion like a mortgage for a home may require a face-to-face relationship to build trust. For low-involvement purchases such as electronics or appliances, online chats with a representative may suffice. To ensure near-term growth in this current environment, brands need to identify which face-to-face elements are critical to maintain the highest level of customer experience.
At the core of a successful customer experience strategy is staying connected to your customers through a combination of experiential elements:
1. Measure customer effort to maintain loyalty.
Brands must make every touchpoint as easy on the customer as possible. If digital is the primary touchpoint, consider investing in technology upgrades.
2. Understand current customer journeys.
A holistic view across all touchpoints for will help your brand capture the full customer experience.
Hear Director of Client Services Paul Donagher discuss how customers take on multiple personas as they move through the purchase journey:
3. Develop an emotional connection with customers.
Provide customers a sense of comfort and order to let them know they are in capable hands. Customer experience that goes the extra mile creates brand ambassadors that speak their preferences both in-person and across social media.
4. Create a sense of community.
People buy brands, not products. That’s because people connect to what a brand stands for, and seek others who also share that affinity. A great example of this is Apple.
5. Share meaningful content regularly.
Promoting a product and price is part of a communications mix, but sharing content that provides value in the form of information or entertainment can improve the customer experience.
6. Respect and reward loyal, regular, and current customers.
Customers want to be recognized for their loyalty. If you don’t have a loyalty program, now is the time to start one. For brands with existing loyalty programs, consider simple ways to enhance it.
7. Be real with your customers.
Studies show people buy from authentic brands, compared to ones that don’t express their true selves. Revisit your brand’s purpose and DNA to make sure you are communicating your values and mission in a human and authentic way.
Bottom line, brands that are staying close to their customers during this time and maintaining or enhancing the customer experience will enjoy greater loyalty and sales.
Want to discuss more ideas on improving customer experience and loyalty?