Customer experience managers can play a key role during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, provided that they can effectively manage their customers’ experience during the crisis. Known cognitive impairments will ensure that your product/service experience is remembered for a long time even after the crisis, it is a unique opportunity to influence the long memory (D. Kahneman, J. Riis University of Pennsylvania, 2005) of your customers. Take advantage of this unique opportunity. Quantify and highlight the economic and business impact that these changes have brought in terms of revenue to your company. Today more than ever, customer experience managers can play a key role.

Do you remember where you were on the 15 of August 2001? I guess no. But I think you will remember very well where you were on the 11 of September 2001. Why? Several cognitive biases are explaining this situation. For instance, ue-dependent forgetting’ which is the failure to recall information without memory cues. The term either pertains to semantic cues, state-dependent cues, or context-dependent cues.

But remember, if you do something extremely negative or extremely positive and unexpected to your client now, he will surely remember it for the rest of his life. You have a chance here to gain the loyalty of your customers and to make them remember your brand in an extremely positive way. But also the risk of the opposite.

Let me give you an example. A colleague of mine was supposed to fly back and forth with two different airlines, one going, the other coming back. They both canceled their flights. The first, flag carrier canceled and did not return the money paid in advance. The second, a cheap airline, sent a link and invited the colleague to postpone the flight whenever he wanted in the future at no extra cost. His comment was: “Whenever possible, for the rest of my life, I will never fly with that national airline again!”. Do you see the chance you have today to earn the loyalty of your customers? It is unique!

Brands that take proactive steps to address customer concerns demonstrate customer centricity, which earns customer trust and builds relationships. This is especially important at a time when customer needs and sensitivities are so great. By making early decisions to protect customers, brands decrease anxiety and solve problems before they develop.

As a Customer Experience Manager today you have a unique opportunity to act in a profound way to make your customers remember your brand for the future. Make it clear to your C-levels. Turn adversity into a unique opportunity to support your customer. Today you can invest in something unique. You can invest in building strong relationships with existing customers, but also gain new customers who will remember you positively for years to come. Remember, this situation will not be forever and final. The true value of managers can be seen in difficult times. You, as a Customer Experience Manager, can carve out a space of great value for yourself, and promote the true value of the Customer Experience within your company. It’s a unique opportunity, don’t waste it!

Do you remember Fred Reichheld’s old mantra “Surprise and delight”? Today, in this COVID19 situation, you can achieve it with relatively low investment and a high Net Present Value. You can win the loyalty of your customer for many years, considerably increasing the Customer Lifetime Value of your customers, and thus the value of Customer Equity on your balance sheet. What the customer does not expect, in a positive way at this time, will be remembered in the customer’s long- term memory, and will have a very high value in return.

Remember: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” (Maya Angelou)

Some best practices:

  • Unipol-Sai, the Italian insurance company, will return one month of automobile liability policy to its customers. The agents have been assured unlimited liquidity, while employees are on full salary.
  • Zappos customer service for anything. The CEO decided to give universal help through its customer service. He describes it this way: “The world is changing a lot. It is for us too. But the one thing we DO know is we love helping people. You may know us for our great service. But our hope with Customer Service for Anything is that we can offer up our fantastic customer service team to help you in any way that we can – no purchase required.”
  • The popular fitness app FitBit is pushing an extended free trial of its premium model to 90 days. Much of their user base is now stuck at home, and probably much more conscious of the number of steps they take in a day, their exercise routine and general health and wellness.
  • Uber, a company that moves people is asking you not to move but Uber will provide: free transportation to frontline healthcare workers, free meals on Uber Eats to first responders and healthcare workers in US and Canada, waived delivery fee for independent restaurants, and moving free critical supplies with Uber Freight.
  • Airbnb powered by the new mantra “We may be apart, but we’ll get through this together”. The company has practically reinvented its business model. Leveraging existing technology, it reinvented it by offering three main services: Online Experiences, Monthly stays, and Frontline stays. Particularly interesting is the product promo, which is the true “revolution” of the Airbnb business model: it has converted its hosts into providers of online experiences. You can spend a day in the life of an Olympic champion, attend a tango concert, catch the tricks of a magician, and much more.
  • getAbstract the knowledge compression company offers free access to his service for 3 months during the lockdown. I find it a very generous offering with, of course, a freemium approach. I think the hope is to convert free in pay accounts later.

Your business context is and will remain uncertain. But if you get moving now, you can ride the waves of uncertainty instead of being overpowered by them. Taking into account the 2008 recession, research by McKinsey & Company has shown that leaders in customer experience management have created 3 times the return for their shareholders compared to laggards.

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Customer Experience leaders must, therefore, position themselves in a way that helps their organizations to better understand and respond to the behavior of customers affected by the crisis.

In a downturn, cutting costs is inevitable. But that does not have to come at the expense of a good customer experience, which can create substantial value. Today more than ever, the analysis of the Voice of the Customer and all the insights you will be able to provide to your organization is fundamental. Don’t underestimate your contribution to changing and digitizing your organization and, indirectly, your customers’ experience.

Traditional customer analysis techniques, such as surveys, often have an interval of 18-24 days between launch and reading the results. At a time when conditions can change from hour to hour, which may be too long to provide a useful perspective. sandsiv+ can help you:

  • Quick and fast Customer Feedback surveys from whatever channel your client wants to answer
  • Integration of indirect voice of the customers such as social networks, feedback website, public API, internal systems, email traffic data, etc. Real-time topic detection and sentiment analysis to immediately address customer concerns and new customer journey ideas
  • Share immediate insights across your whole organization
  • Total Customer Journey view considering physical experiences
  • Fully support your organization in the digital transformation
  • Delivered in our cloud or the cloud of your choice: Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, AWS, and many others

Your initiatives need to have a bottom-line impact. To show this you need to speak Net Present Value, not NPS. A Net Present Value (NPV) analysis helps you decide and communicate the best among a portfolio of competing initiatives. When you can show how CX adds direct value to the bottom line, you increase your power at the leadership table.

You must be in a position to show the value of your program. My suggestion is to get immediately familiar with this key performance indicator you should integrate as soon as possible in the CX dashboard you usually share with your C-Level:

Revenue drivers:

  • Number of new customers: how many new customers in the period, better if you can allocate them to the different CX initiatives.
  • Number of repeat purchases: number of purchases allocated to existing customers with correlation to CX initiatives.
  • The velocity of your conversion: how fast (e.g. number of days) you can convert customers in your funnel correlating them with CX initiatives.
  • Number of referrals: how many new customers or repeat purchases from a referral.
  • Average Revenues Per Unit: total revenues/customer base.
  • Churn Rate: total number of lost customers/customer base.

Cost drivers:

  • Total number of open tickets
  • Number of new support tickets at 1st level
  • Number of new complaints at 2nd level
  • The velocity of ticket handling: how fast ticket go from open to solved Number of returns tickets: number of tickets open from the same customer

Remember you need to show a clear correlation between your CX initiatives and all the above mentioned KPIs. It is mandatory to demonstrate the positive P&L of all your activities.

If your CX Dashboard solution allows you to do that, such sandsiv+ VOC VISUAL, for instance – then include the data in your platform, alternatively move the data in a Business Intelligence tool.


Conclusions:

  1. For many years the customer experience community has always stressed that outside-in – the concept that business processes must always be considered from the customer’s perspective – is a fundamental aspect. Today more than ever, putting oneself in the customer’s shoes is something fundamental. Not considering this aspect puts the relationship with your customer at risk.
  2. You need to immediately identify potential gaps in your supply chain from a COVID-19 perspective. Adapt your customer communications immediately to mitigate any potential friction in the customer experience. If possible, modify part of your supply chain processes.
  3. Consider those actions that allow you to acquire, and especially help, customers of your competitors who are in an ambiguous situation. Act immediately with the primary objective of helping. Remember that by doing so you will build relationships of trust that will last over time, beyond the COVID-19 emergency.
  4. Identify those business actions that will enable you to help the community and people. At this time, and in the future, positioning yourself with a social profile is crucial.
  5. “Show me the money!”. All your CX initiatives are irrelevant if you are not able to demonstrate the increased revenues or cost reduction associated with CX. As historical examples such as the 2008 financial crisis show: the upside financial potential is great.

Customer Experience And COVID-19: Get Real Or Go Home
Author:
Federico Cesconi

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