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How Customer Experience has Changed since COVID-19 and How to Fix It

Customer experience has been forced to evolve

It's a something we have all heard by now: COVID-19 has changed the way we live our lives and it's up to us how we move forward. While this may apply to nearly every facit of our lives (minus the COVID-19 part), the truth that lies within it is undeniable.

Now, let's view this from a consumer's perspective. Customers are now faced with a change in how they interact with businesses. However, it is up to those businesses how they want to move forward. The backbone of any company are their customers and it is important to provide them with an experience that elevates beyond just providing them with a digital channel. Instead, companies should be looking beyond that and towards providing customer experiences that mirror that of in-person ones.

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional."

An aspect of digital services that is often overlooked is the customer experience. During the current global pandemic, companies are beginning to realize just how important this can be and how an experience with their digital channels can either result in a new onboarding or in a lost opportunity.

To help increase the number of converted customers, and keep the existing ones, businesses must look to enhance their customer experience through their digital channels through a few key areas. This is especially important when considering the impact COVID-19 has had on business outcomes.

What follows are 3 key changes that have been experienced since the start of global lockdowns and ways companies can shift the changing tides in their favor.

Change #1 – Digital-only Interactions
With customers choosing to stay home, creating a personalized experience has become a bit of a hurdle for companies worldwide. What customers get now is typically a generic page that everyone gets to see instead of an experiece that is tailor-made for each individual customer. This tends to alienate the customer as they feel as though they are not being spoken to directly and instead are getting the same message that everyone else gets, which can hurt the outcome of their visit to your digital channel.

Fix #1 – Personalized Experiences
Through the right tools, companies are able to provide customers with the personalized experience they expect from a business' website in 2020. What this means is customers can get, among several other things, information and products suggestions that are relevant to their needs. For example, a female banking customer who is now starting out her professional career out of college will only be displayed banking prodcuts that suit her lifestyle with offers and benefits that meet her needs. More often than not, customers gravitate towards personalized experiences like this and will have a higher chance of resulting in a new customers.

Change #2 – Communication
A common frustration, even before the COVID-19 outbreak, is speaking with customer support. From the customer's perspective, it can often be a battle to get their questions and concerns addressed from the first try, especially while trying to navigate through the call center's maze of number prompts that may or may not lead to the right person. Additionally, communicating with a sales representative in-person is often the best and fastest way to get problems resolved, but this is currently a difficult task to complete with a lockdown in effect.

Fix #2 – Digital Customer Interactions
As technology has evolved over the past decade, it has become a lot easier and significantly more convenient to communicate with others through text. Chatting with customer support has increasingly become the go-to method for customers to get the help they need. More companies than ever before have chosen to provide this method of communication in an effort to tend to more customers at the same time while also creating effciency for customer support departments. While it is not the same as talking to someone in-person, the convenience factor is definitely a bonus for customers.

Change #3 – Loss of an In-store Experience
For the most part, the ability to visit a company's branch has been taken away from them, essentially removing an entire channel for them to experience. This means that the primary form of "visiting" a company's store or branch is through digital means. An approach companies may feel to be the right move is to bolster their website with features. While this is not the wrong approach to make, there is one that helps smoothen out the customer experience from start to finish.

Fix #3 – Omni-channel Approach
As mentioned earlier, customers now have one way to interact with companies and that is digitally. Companies now have the chance to truly create an experience without any hurdles for the customer and that is through an omni-channel approach. This will help create a unqiue journey for the customer as they have the freedom to move from device to device when they choose without losing any progress they've made prior to the switch. While seemingly a small addition to the a company's digital experience, it is definitely one that customers remember as they use your service and recommend it to their family and friends.

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