How customer expectations have changed after COVID

The impact of COVID-19’s unprecedented “stay at home” order has pushed many customers to either shift their behaviours or change habits entirely.

We are seeing long-term brick-and-mortar customers switching to ecommerce as well new customers taking chances on digital-first businesses. Numerous industries are feeling the impact, the latest being grocery store giant, Kroger, who announced that its digital sales grew by 92% in the first quarter,  and were up triple digits in the first three weeks of the second quarter.

Do we know if these changes will stick? Not yet.

Do we know if we still need to meet our customers’ expectations? Yes! Businesses need to provide top-notch service, now more than ever, to attract and retain customers.

An increase in digital communications is adding pressure to CX teams

COVID-19 has forced an increase in digital communications, which has translated into anxious customers with more questions than ever before.

According to the Special Covid-19 Edition of the CMO Survey, 85% of marketers report an increased openness among customers to their digital offerings, and 84% believe customers place more value on digital experiences than before the pandemic.

Experts’ advice on adapting support strategies to handle increased inquiries

What do these numbers mean for CX leaders? It means that your CX strategy needs to be executed flawlessly.

Analysts agree. McKinsey, in its aptly-named report, The COVID-19 Recovery Will Be Digital, recommends refocusing digital efforts toward changing customer expectations as the FIRST step in your 90-day recovery plan. Similarly, Gartner recommends focusing on meeting customers’ changing needs as one of 5 major actions to help customers through the crisis.

Automation as the solution for efficiency and cost-savings after COVID

Experts agree that this is not the time to disappoint your customers and that customer needs are accelerating. At the same time, businesses are being asked to do more with less, which makes it harder to meet these new customer needs.

McKinsey’s advice is to focus on solutions that combine both efficiency and cost. McKinsey’s report recommends: “rightsizing the IT cost structure to new demand levels and reinvesting the freed-up resources into customer-facing digital solutions and critical decision-support systems, first and foremost.”

Benefits of automation as the frontline of support teams

Customer expectations and behaviours have changed, but they still want to be valued and understood. Using automation and personalization as the pillars for your support strategy is fast, cheap, and omni-channel. When you automate most customer inquiries, you are able to:

  • Radically diminish the costs associated with customer support
  • Free live resources from having to deal with very frequent, mundane transactions and requests so they can be available (without wait times) to support mission-critical customer inquiries
  • Gather important data to offer a consolidated view of the customer, over time and across channels
  • Introduce personalized up-sell and cross-sell opportunities

Learn more about how automation can help increase resilience in your support team

To learn more about best practices and how automation and conversational AI Ada can help you come back from COVID 19, check out our COVID guide here.

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Thought Leadership September 21, 2020 by Brooke Granovsky