As difficult as COVID-19 may be for businesses, no one has been hit harder than the customer. Between lockdowns, financial uncertainty, limited financial aid, and ever-changing government rules, trying to navigate even the simplest tasks as a consumer has become difficult.
Thankfully, businesses are starting to try to change that. Leaders across the landscape understand that if they want to start posting pre-pandemic numbers, they need to streamline the customer experience as much as possible. If you’re hoping to reshape your business to the benefit of your customers, take a look at what’s going on in these key industries first:
People are wary of going to the doctor these days, and the medical world has responded in kind. Telemedicine has made it much easier for patients to get the care they need without putting themselves in danger along the way.
Doctors’ offices aren’t the only facets of the medical world that have gone online, however. More and more people are now using digital pharmacies as well, procuring everything from birth control to insulin at the click of a button. Though it’s difficult to say what things will look like by the time COVID-19 is over, the convenience of telemedicine will likely be here to stay.
E-commerce, like telemedicine, grew rapidly as people became concerned about the dangers of leaving their homes. The ability to get the goods you want without ever having to leave the couch is a tough thing to pass on, and many firms are willing to bend over backwards for their customers if it assures their loyalty moving forward.
The biggest customer experience innovation in e-commerce is the rise of personalized commerce: a digital shopping experience tailored to suit every individual consumer. The algorithms that drive personalized commerce can help connect people with products they want at prices they can afford, boosting overall spending in the process. In the future, more and more companies will be looking towards this model as a reference point for their own platforms.
Nationwide reopening has begun, but not everyone is gung-ho to jump headfirst back into pre-pandemic habits. In order to attract customers back, restaurants have had to amp up their customer service to the max, ensuring patrons that every possible precaution is being taken in order to ensure their safety.
By and large, these strategies have worked: outdoor dining in New York City, for example, has proved so popular that the mayor has already announced it will be available next summer as well — COVID-19 or no COVID-19. Restaurants are at the frontline of customer service during the pandemic, and business leaders of all sectors could take a few pointers from what they’ve done.
4. Financial Services
In March and April, stock markets hit unprecedented lows before setting record highs just months later — now, there are indicators that suggest another crash may be looming. Shareholders the world over are feeling a kind of whiplash, and they’re relying on their financial advisor to set their minds at ease.
For financial advisors and account managers, this entire ordeal has been a customer service nightmare. All kinds of common logic about stocks seem to have been thrown out the window, and it’s been left to them to explain it all to their clients. The most successful among them, however, have figured out a way to explain these phenomena constructively and earn their clients’ trust in the process.
Just like the other industries on this list, supermarkets were asked to adapt to COVID-19 on a dime — and adapt they did. Many instituted customer limits, social distancing rules, and hours specifically for the elderly or impaired. Perhaps the most lasting development, however, is digital grocery shopping.
Between April and June, online grocery sales grew by $3 billion across the country, nearly doubling in size over the course of just a few months. While it may be a necessity for some, grocery stores whose online platforms have the best customer experience might find that their customers prefer digital shopping well after the pandemic is over.
6. Hotels and Hospitality
As with restaurants, hotels may be something of a luxury, but they’re not a luxury customers are willing to give up easily. Travel may have plummeted, but hotels in tourist hotspots are still being asked to accommodate large numbers of guests safely and efficiently.
Though the hospitality industry has always had a guest-first mindset, the pandemic has amped that attitude up even further. Never before has the wellbeing of guests been taken so seriously, and most customers will find themselves unwilling to return to the way things were before after this is over.
No matter what industry you’re in, your customers need you on their side now more than ever. Follow the example of these sectors and develop a pool of loyal clients in the process.
Image credit: Edward Jenner; Pexels