The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way many companies do business overnight. Businesses have shut their doors or reduced operating hours, shifting traffic to overburdened websites and call centers. Employees are adjusting to working from home or navigating the challenges of working on the front lines of a pandemic. As a result, customers are adapting to new ways of shopping, banking and receiving medical care.
Amid all this change, business leaders need clarity about what’s happening on the ground. That’s why your customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) programs may be the heroes your company needs—even in the post-COVID-19 world.
If your company focuses on making the most out of your experience programs, you can be proactive in times of crisis and take transformational steps forward when it’s business as usual. The work you do now to listen attentively to feedback from employees and customers will help you guide your organization through the current crisis and beyond.
Here are several tips to help you make the most of your experience:
Zero in on Unusual Trends
If you’ve made widespread changes due to the pandemic or to other operational shifts, you’ll likely see your CX metrics shift across the board. Focus on the metrics that are changing the most, and look at the key drivers in relation to each other, not just at overall change. For example, maybe your ease of doing business score has gone down because fewer employees are working at stores and interacting with customers. Keep in mind that some changes may be seasonal rather than crisis-related. Make sure to compare current data to the same time period last year to identify seasonal trends.
Look for Opportunities to Act Quickly
Because the impacts of COVID-19 are changing constantly, the value of any response has a short shelf life. If it will take months to incorporate a new data source into analysis, don’t wait—make use of the data you have now. Prioritize problems you can address quickly through short-term workarounds, quick shifts in CX strategy or a temporary allocation of resources. For example, many banks that have reduced branch hours during the pandemic have shifted branch staff to call centers to handle increased call volumes.
Share Insights with Stakeholders
To act on the opportunities you’ve identified, you’ll need buy-in from leadership. When you present your findings, don’t just share data and statistics—tell a story about what your customers and employees are experiencing now and how that may impact satisfaction going forward. While short-term fixes are important, leaders are also interested in initiatives with a longer time horizon. Make sure to highlight any areas where your company has opportunities to innovate in ways that last beyond the current crisis, for example, by building out digital workforce management capabilities.
Double Down on Employee Engagement Strategies
At a time when nearly half of American workers are afraid to go to work, companies must prioritize listening to and addressing their employees’ needs. How your company handles this period will determine whether employees return to regular work as advocates or detractors—and disengaged employees are on average two times more vocal than happy ones, spreading negativity throughout the organization. To avoid this outcome, listen to and empathize with employees who are struggling with the changing nature of work. Provide your employees with the tools and resources they need, and offer flexibility as they adjust to the new normal of our everyday lives.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the rapid pace and broad scope of change to business practices that is happening right now. Fortunately, CX and EX programs can offer the insights and guidance your company needs to forge a clear path forward. By listening carefully to feedback from both customers and employees, your organization can successfully navigate this crisis—and any others that occur in the future.
Looking for more guidance on how to harness the power of your CX and EX programs in trying times? Check out our latest webinar, Revealing the Power of Experience Programs in a Time of Crisis.