The coronavirus has taken us by surprise and has definitely changed the rules of the game. However, as quarantines around the world come to an end, we ask ourselves: What will the new normal look like? And what will be the impact on the post-coronavirus customer experience?
In this article, we answer these questions and explain what customer experience managers must think about when redefining a post-coronavirus strategy.
The impact of COVID-19 on customer service
With the spread of the coronavirus, the world we knew ceased to exist from one week to the next.
An economy of isolation has replaced a collaborative economy, and customers' priorities and expectations have completely changed. Now more than ever, they expect omnichannel solutions empathy, self-service and resolution, all at the same time.
Faced with this situation, businesses and their customer service teams were also affected. First, they had to switch to working remotely due to the quarantine. Second, they had to deal with an unprecedented level of demand, as well as constant changes in volume of customer support.
What have companies done to ensure business continuity during this time? Among other strategies, they used cloud-based technologies, shifted to digital channels, implemented automated tools like callbots and self-service tools, and constantly evaluated the experience they were delivering.
This probably set the stage for the new normal after the coronavirus.
Strategies for the post-COVID world
We are still experiencing the first shock of the crisis. We are meeting with companies that are changing their strategy to respond to the problems encountered during the pandemic.
But the virus and quarantine will not disappear without leaving an impact on society, including the customer service industry.
We will soon be facing a second wave of change, characterized by companies making deep, structural and long-term transformations to their strategy in order to adapt to this new reality.
As we begin to emerge from the emergency and start the new decade anew, what are the big transformations we need to explore to make our customer experience strategy fit the new world? Let's take a look at some of the upcoming trends.
AI and humans: from division to collaboration
In a post-COVID world, these tools will be a key partner in helping companies and people create lasting connections. Here are some of the smart technologies available today that already complement human work:
- Callbots and conversational flows: The pandemic has shaped a consumer who wants immediacy, self-service and less bureaucratic hassle. That's why the Callbots will continue to build their presence in the market, solving problems immediately and continuously.
- Agent Empowerment: AI in customer service has so much potential to enhance employee capabilities. This includes letting technology learn from your best agents, providing customer history and using AI tools to suggest answers to questions.
- Machine learning and predictive technology: Data allows for real-time reporting and statistics. Combined with a deep analytics tool, customer service departments can then better understand the quality of their service and how consumers are currently engaging with their brand.
Asynchronous conversations: prioritizing customers' time
Consumers do not want their time dictated or determined by anyone but themselves. If the problem is not extremely urgent, they prefer to call a Callbot to get a quick response and go about their business.
Asynchronous communication does not require both parties to be present and speaking at the same time. It allows conversations to be initiated, paused and resumed (from the same or another channel) as the customer's life changes.
When they use them, companies benefit in three ways: providing 24/7 service with a limited team; investing less in their own channels; and offering flexibility to service teams during peak demand.
Experiences that adapt to customers
Providing a good experience is no longer enough. Now more than ever, companies must understand their customers and adapt to them. To do this, they must understand and meet their current and future expectations.
What does this mean? Solving problems instantly, providing an omnichannel solution and personalizing the experience based on a deep understanding of customer preferences and needs.
More integrations and more collaboration
The 2010s were marked by process automation and the integration of more tools and solutions to make life easier. But as a result, the data they collected ended up being split into silos.
As a result, companies relied on human operations to ensure that there was a universal view and that all data was linked.
So, post-Coronavirus, more and more companies are focusing on a solution or channel that can work seamlessly with existing ones when deciding to purchase new technologies or add new channels.
Safety and compliance are non-negotiable
With the increase in personalization, data usage initiatives, remote working and new international privacy regulations, there is a renewed focus on compliance and customer security.
Data privacy regulations, encryption of sensitive data, restricted user access and authentication are just some of the terms that customer relationship managers will have to get used to in the coming years.
According to a report from Adobe, 32% of consumers own a smart speaker and 44% access their voice assistant daily.
In 2022, we'll see more brands exploring and experimenting with this type of application throughout the customer journey, such as Callbots for phone support, voice prompts in text chats that help explain complex requests, and more.
Customers are the responsibility of the whole company
The days when customer service was solely responsible for communicating with customers are coming to an end. The pressure is now on the entire company; the customer experience has become a universal responsibility. This creates new challenges, including empowering employees to do what's best for the customer, decentralizing communications and rewarding those who challenge the status quo.
The Post-Coronavirus Customer Experience: The Next Steps
There is no doubt that the post-coronavirus customer experience will be different. The industry is currently facing an unprecedented challenge.
At Locutawe offer special rapid integration services to support companies with customer service challenges. You can find out more by making an appointment with one of our experts.