Building CX Resilience During COVID
By Mohamad El-Hinnawi
For the past year, COVID-19 has presented an entirely new challenge for people in every country around the world. The uncertainty stemming from losses of income, employment, businesses, and, of course, lives has given us all pause for thought. However, while the challenge posed by COVID-19 is still an ongoing concern this is an opportunity for organizations to be optimistic, implement positive reform and emerge stronger.
Optimism is different from positivity. And optimism is not naive either. Optimism accepts the truth of reality and looks forward to a brighter future.Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek
COVID-19 can be the spark for organizations with customer experience on their agenda as it requires quick adoption of new ways to do business in the midst of a fluid situation. Organizations can acquire new CX skills, develop essential practices for the new normal and put into action many initiatives that had been overlooked in the past.
In his Wall Street Journal bestselling book ‘Loonshots’, physicist and business executive Safi Bahcall explains how finding success through maintaining the status quo can result in neglecting ideas to improve operations. Profitability builds comfort and comfort leads to a decline in the desire to take risks and innovate.
In the current environment, organizations can break free from rigid procedures and use the unpredictability to develop a new approach to the six main disciplines of customer experience which is both agile and resilient.
1. Customer Experience Strategy
In the same way governments focus on the objectives that matter to a nation when managing crisis, organizations must focus on how to manage customers during that time. The way a crisis is handled helps organizations better understand their core strategic objectives, realign processes and become more accessible, convenient, credible and a trusted name in the industry.
2. Organizational Adoption and Accountability
In a crisis, organizations have no choice but to adapt to the current situation in order to survive. Organizations must perform under the restrictions of a new normal. Embracing different ways of working presents new perspectives to stakeholders, which in turn helps them empathize with their peers by working in cross-functional environments. Buy-in on addressing the emerging challenges becomes much easier, and the focus of keeping the business running becomes clearer.
3. Experience Design
Designing experiences is a rigorous process that requires CX professionals to utilize different tools to meet or exceed customers’ expectations. The importance of creating personas, customer journey maps and value proposition maps cannot be underestimated. The design process can often take time, and can lead to plans becoming obsolete by the time a product is launched. Organizations will, therefore, be obliged to go to market faster with an initial incarnation of the policy focusing strongly on the core product and release updates later. Without the luxury of time, crisis becomes an opportunity to be comfortable offering the minimum viable products (MVP).
4. Voice of Customer
Organizations have the opportunity to streamline their Voice of Customer propositions and reduce the fatigue they cause customers by only asking what is relevant and needed. Endless surveys, irrelevant questions, and the fight over Net Promoter Score (NPS) rests on situations like this and the benefit is that customers might be more objective when they are also only answering questions about what matters to them and the services they require.
5. Metrics and Measurements
COVID-19 has seen the health service step up their reporting standards with clear, concise and meaningful statistics to reach the public consciousness in an honest way to convey the reality of the situation. Massaging statistics to create a more photogenic picture of the battle is of no benefit to anyone. Focused, straightforward metrics have helped stakeholders monitor the situation and CX professionals can resolve to focus only on the metrics that truly matter by resisting the urge to measure every strand of data.
COVID-19 presented an opportunity to stress-test a quickly adaptive and transformative culture with an agile mindset. Governments and businesses are adjusting their processes, digitalizing their services and developing new digital products; the mantra that “everyone is responsible” has penetrated all levels. CX transformation requires a similar culture that aligns on goals, focuses on the end results and overcomes siloed perspectives and departmental resistance.
COVID-19 opened new roads for greater empathy, resilience and anticipation. Ideas that were once dismissed have been revisited to suit the changing times, breakthroughs in technology have come about through necessity, and strategies that were too simplistic or too complicated to implement have changed industries. The sudden shift in our daily lives left no other choice but adapt and re-imagine how customer-centric business is done in a crisis and adopt many innovations as examples of best practice for the future.
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