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Adjusting your customer experience strategy in times of uncertainty

During the COVID-19 global pandemic, many industries have experienced enormous disruption and even complete shutdown. As a result, it’s becoming necessary to rethink business processes and customer needs to better serve clients. It’s possible that your customer is learning about your product or service in a whole new way or experiencing different touchpoints in their customer journey. That makes it critical to understand how things have changed and reimagine your customer experience strategy accordingly.

First and foremost, start by ensuring that your customers are safe and healthy. Empathy is critical, and it’s essential to remember that your clients are people first and that the motivations that normally drive them are likely taking a backseat to everyday concerns in their personal lives. Then you can dig deeper to understand what things may have changed in the way that they consume your brand and ultimately purchase or engage with you.

There are several key areas to examine as you reexamine how your customer’s journey looks:

  • Actions: Is your customer still able to perform the intended action at each stage of the journey? For example, if you’re counting on a hands-on demo at a trade show during your “try” stage, is there a way to substitute an online demo or consultation instead?
  • Motivations: Has your customer’s motivation changed at any step in their journey? Have their challenges or priorities shifted, and can you shift your approach to address these new challenges? If, for instance, you’re marketing an HR solution with an AI component that helps screen new hires, can you change your message to highlight other capabilities—like remote employee engagement—that are still valuable even during a time when your client isn’t hiring?
  • Obstacles: Are there any new obstacles that stand in the way of your customers at any stage? If budgets have shifted, is cost now an issue? Think about anything that might cause the customer to give up while moving through the customer journey in the current environment, and adjust accordingly.

As you search for these answers, don’t forget that your frontline employees are the direct line to your customer. All of these insights should come directly from the customer. Your teams that deal with them on a day-to-day basis are a great place to start when looking for new ideas.

Another tool that can be useful as you assess where your customers stand is the Jobs to Be Done method. Put simply, this theory looks past the individual and attempts to understand what they need to accomplish in a given circumstance. This approach ensures that you look at your journey map with the intent of helping your customers solve problems. In other words, viewing your marketing from the perspective of the customer. A more in-depth understanding of your customer’s challenges and needs can provide you a unique perspective into how you approach them.

Customer experience is now more critical than ever. If budgets are causing you to prioritize your marketing efforts, CX is not the place to cut corners. Rather than sacrificing customer experience, consider ways to create operational tradeoffs with options like digital self-service and other customer-driven experiences. Again, this is an excellent place to source customer feedback and look for ideas that start with them.

Although the customer journey might change in the short- or long-term due to COVID-19, your ability to produce content that resonates with your audience doesn’t have to. Centerline offers sessions that help you break down your customer experience strategy and analyze changing customer needs. We can help ensure that your message reaches your audience where they are today. Ask about our SPARK campaign kit to learn how we can help to put your customer experience strategy on the right path in a changing business landscape.