2020 was a challenging year for everyone, but there is hope in the new year. With the introduction of a vaccine for the coronavirus, populations worldwide can feel hopeful that, slowly but surely, normalcy will return. Unfortunately, the difficulties of 2020, for businesses and their customers, are not quite over yet, so 2021 will be a critical year to improve customer experience. Below we outline five strategies to look to as we ease into 2021.
1. Start small to support your teams
2020 wasn’t only a difficult year for your customers, but your employees must also be considered as you set goals for 2021. Aim to accomplish quick or small wins to boost morale incrementally rather than setting lofty targets that employees may struggle to reach. If you can deliver speedy results with small actions, your teams will have an easier time meeting objectives. Small CX goals can include updating your customer journey maps, refreshing your survey design, or focussing on improving a single metric. Rather than biting off more than your teams can chew at once, try tackling one ambition at a time in the short term and congratulating employees on short-term successes.
2. Re-examine journey maps and customer needs
Circumstances for so many people have changed in the past year, so your understanding of your customers’ needs and identities may need a bit of an overhaul. Priorities have shifted, and our way of life has changed, so how a customer interacts with your brand has likely evolved. Safety and cleanliness may be more important now than price for some customers, for example, and it is crucial to examine what matters most to customers in the current climate. This could mean sending a needs analysis survey to your customers to see how their lives have transformed in the past year so that you can adjust your strategies to meet their new expectations and desires. Using empathy and research, put yourself in their shoes to readjust your understanding of their needs and the journey they take from start to finish with your brand.
3. Strengthen personalisation
Consider opportunities to augment CX in your business with added personalisation. Personalisation is an essential tool to improve customer loyalty and retention and decrease levels of effort. It is of particular importance to the online experience, which has never been more important with so many people stuck at home and with many businesses closed. Consider where you can strengthen personalisation to make interactions more seamless for customers. The best way to do this is to ensure the data customers have provided you with overtime is integrated into your various systems, from your contact centre to your customer service processes, and even your surveys to make interactions faster and easier. People are as busy as ever and will appreciate the time saved when they don’t have to type out their credit card details or search for their account numbers. Use personalisation to add value to the customer …
4. Offer options and flexibility
2021 has kicked off with a lot of uncertainty, so it is important to extend any flexibility you may have offered your customers (and employees) from 2020 into the new year. We are not out of the pandemic yet, so remaining mindful of varying customer needs such as extended return times and payment plan options. The more flexible you are, the more appreciative your customers will be. This gratitude will translate into loyalty in the future, so it helps rather than hurts your business. When you cut your customers a break at their time of need, they will appreciate it and spread the word of your brand’s kindness and empathy. Taking a hard line with customers could engender you with a poor reputation when they expect your support more than ever.
5. Take the time to thank your customers
Many businesses have struggled in the past year, so it is now more than even that companies can be grateful for their customers’ continued support. By thanking your customers, you show them that they make a difference in your business and are valued. One of the main reasons customers churn is that they feel under-appreciated, so thanking them for their loyalty can go a long way. Offering small discounts to loyal customers or spotlighting supportive customers on social media can make your brand stand out as genuine. Engaging with your community of customers and showing your gratitude is another step that will make your customers value you in return.