Building CX Endurance in Times of COVID

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COVID-19 is currently presenting the highest level of uncertainty among the global population. Losses in lives, jobs, businesses are increasing and the news contradict about how the situation will develop.
In a recent post on LinkedIn, Simon Sinek shared his perspective on the difference between being positive and being optimistic. Sinek says:

Optimism is different from positivity. And optimism is not naive either. Optimism accepts the truth of reality and looks forward to a brighter future.

On an optimistic note, COVID-19 can be a bootcamp for organizations that have customer experience on their agenda, as it requires quick transformation and adaptation to new norms. Organizations will be presented with opportunities to acquire new and essential CX skills, or put into action many others that have been oppressed by their comfort zones.

In times of COVID, organizations have a chance to build endurance in the six disciplines of customer experience*.

CX Strategy

Similar to how governments are focused on the objectives that matter in managing the crisis, organizations are focusing on how to manage the expectations of customers during that time. The way this crisis is being managed will help organizations realize the benefit of maintaining focus on strategic objectives. It will also help them realize the main CX strategic guidelines that will help them achieve their objectives, like being accessible, convenient, credible and a trusted advisor.

Organizational Adoption and Accountability

In crisis, organizations have no choice but to adapt to the situation in order to survive. Organizations will perform according to a new norm not limited to shuffling the roles of their employees to extend the service and overcome shortcomings, and also utilizing new and different ways of working, presenting different perspectives to stakeholders across the organization which in turn will help them empathize with their peers and have more stamina for working in transforming environments like those of CX.

Experience Design

Designing experiences is a rigorous process that requires CX professionals to utilize different tools like personas, customer journey maps, value proposition maps and much more to design experiences that meet or exceed customers’ expectations. This takes a lot of time, investments and operational plans that might be obsolete when launching the product or service to the market – given the fast pace in the business environment.

Organizations will be obliged to go fast to the market with initial iterations that focus on the core products or services, and would need to launch continuous iterations within a short period of time.

Crisis is an opportunity to be comfortable with minimum viable products (MVPs), given there is no luxury of time and also, and there are conservative customer expectations.

Voice of Customer

Your loveliest part!

The unlimited number of surveys, relevant and irrelevant questions, and the fight over NPS rests in situations like that. Organizations have the opportunity to cut down on the fatigue they cause to customers and only ask what is relevant and needed.

The benefit: customers might be more objective as they are also evaluating the jobs they needed to be done – basically, what matters.

Metrics and Measurements

The healthcare capacity, number of tests being done, number of positive, critical and recovered cases, and deaths. Focused, straight forward metrics that will help governments monitor the development of the situation and track the performance of the healthcare system.

CX professionals can observe and focus on those metrics that matter. It is a golden opportunity to avoid paralysis by analysis.

Culture

An opportunity to stress test a quickly adaptive and transformative culture with an agile mindset is present in crisis time. Governments and businesses are adjusting their processes, digitalizing their services and even developing new digital products in a homogeneous manner with a focus on a common goal.

Just like “Flatten the Curve”, “Everyone is responsible” is bought-in by stakeholders across different levels in organizations. CX transformation requires a similar culture that aligns on goals, focuses on the end results and overcomes organizational siloes and departmental islands.

Crisis time often allows for more empathy – a key enabler for CX practices – whether between an organization and its customers or within the organization itself. Eventually, time will pass, and the crisis and its consequences will be managed.

Optimistic CX professionals will put the lessons learned through this crisis into action at their organizations after it’s all gone.

*The six disciplines covered in this article are adopted by the Customer Experience Professionals’ Association (CXPA) as the disciplines of the Certified Customer Experience credential (CCXP).

Photo source: Gustavo Fring from Pexels

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