As the dust settles on the COVID-19 shock and recovery is in sight, the ‘New Normal’ is now the reality, and new trends in Customer Experience are emerging.
More than ever, a radical focus on Customer Experience will be the vital ingredient for growth and recovery. Across industries, understanding the customer experience and what drives loyalty in the New Normal is key for brand success.
Resonate’s analysis has demonstrated three key strategies for brand success going into the New Normal. To succeed in the New Normal, brands should build great customer experiences by preparing for the shift to online to impact CX in a big way, understanding new customer personas to drive CX, and using customer interaction touchpoints as the secret weapon in the New Normal. Following these strategies with an empowered VoC program will create a roadmap to industry-leading customer success and growth in the New Normal.
Key New Normal Personas
Customer personas have changed significantly during the COVID-19 period.
Coming into the New Normal, customers are less worried about the safety of engaging with brands and have much less patience if they perceive a brand to be a COVID-risk. Resonate’s analysis finds two new customer personas who will create churn in the New Normal. These are Limited Loyalty Customers and COVID-Led New Channel Customers.
Limited Loyalty Customers are present in all industries analysed and are generally happy with the CX provided. They are often pre-existing promoters who have engaged positively with the brand before and continue to be likely to recommend the brand. However, these customers are sensitive to COVID risk and pick up on failures to adapt the customer experience to the New Normal. If they are unsatisfied with this aspect of the customer experience, they are aware of the variety of different options available if they churn and are much less loyal than in the past, especially where COVID concerns are involved.
COVID-Led New Channel Customers are both unhappy with the brand’s response to COVID and the experience presented. They are commonly customers who have engaged with existing brands in new channels, such as eCommerce. These customers expect the same service they receive from their relation to the brand pre-COVID in the new channel, and often find this is not given. They are especially unhappy and present a high likelihood of churn when this new channel contains a sense of COVID-risk as well: for instance, receiving a delivered parcel where the delivering party crosses social distancing boundaries, or in-person care where strict restrictions such as minimum-space-per-person are not reflected by staff behavior. The combination of these factors creates a high likelihood of churn.
New personas create low-hanging-fruit CX opportunities.
While both Limited Loyalty and COVID-Led New Channel Customers are dangerous for any brand, creating detractors and churn and damaging brand image, they present low-hanging-fruit opportunities for adaption to the New Normal. Limited Loyalty Customers only present a churn risk where COVID-adaption plans are not present or not followed through on. Whether these plans are staff wearing masks and increased sick days or high-tech consumer pathways, making sure they are clearly communicated to customers and followed through is vital to maintaining customer loyalty. Effective, organised plan development and follow through will save churn and image, especially when backed by an operationalised, ground up CX program. Having customer-facing staff on board and equipped to listen to their customers is vital.
COVID-Led New Channel Customers present a strategic, vertical CX challenge. Brands must consciously recognize their pre-COVID CX offerings that brought customers through the door, and thoughtfully adapt these strengths to the developing post-COVID channels. A Voice of Customer program that can give insight to these CX offerings allows companies to understand successes and failures here as customers adapt to the new mix of channels.
Listen to changing customer attitudes to adapt to the New Normal.
Customers are continuing to adapt to the shock of COVID and establish new norms and expectations. These will be influenced by many factors: how worry about COVID progresses, government actions, and changing herd behavior. While the personas and insights in this report are likely to continue to provide an effective framework for approaching CX in the New Normal, being able to listen to up-to-the-minute customer attitudes will provide a significant competitive advantage in the recovery period. Having a front-line that can quickly operationalize customer feedback and turn detractors into promoters while placing Voice of Customer insights at the strategic core of the brand will create industry-leading customer experiences in the New Normal, and a significant impact on ROI.