Customer Experience In A Recession: How CX Leaders Win

An overhead view of three rowers

Guest Post by BG Weiss

The length of any recession is uncertain, but your CX strategy doesn’t have to be.

Customer experience in a recession is not without precedent. High-performing CX teams during the 2008 recession did two things: 

  1. Differentiated parts of their CX strategy 
  2. Balanced top- and bottom-line growth across the business. As Gartner points out, “Focusing only on cost-cutting has historically come at the expense of top-line growth.”

The holidays are right around the corner and customer service leaders everywhere are under immense pressure to deliver the same results without the same budget. Seasonal demand always calls for extra staff due to the influx of support tickets but with budget cuts, customers get the short end of the stick. 

Long response times and bad service experiences drive customers to take their business elsewhere. When it’s 7 times more expensive to find a new customer than to keep a current one, the value of happy customers becomes central to CX strategies. 

So, how do customer support leaders reduce service costs and increase the quality of customer experience in a recession? 

For starters, digital acceleration can work to deliver deep cost savings and eliminate operational inefficiencies. Here are 3 must-haves for every CX leader during the recession:

Rethink the Way You Use Human Labor

As service teams feel the budget pinch slap, the first step they should take is to rethink how their teams’ skillsets are being used. Is your in-house support team dealing with repetitive tier 1 and tier 2 tickets while escalations end up in the backlog? Are employees burning out? 

Optimizing team member efficiency and job satisfaction is critical to recession-proofing your department. Repetitive ticket types are perfect for AI automation due to its ability to resolve them with consistency and ease. The best part? It reduces pressure and repetitive strain on your human support staff; allowing them to dedicate more time to building relationships with customers and resolving more particular and high-value queries. 

When agents can focus more on what they do best, it not only elevates the quality of service but also reduces the risk, and cost, of burnout

Related: It’s The Little Things That Improve Employee Experience

The More You Know, The More You Grow Your Customer Base

By leveraging AI in your CX strategy, you can know a lot more about all your customers; AI captures and identifies key points of customer context so support teams can deliver personalized interactions at scale, 24/7. 

This makes your customer interactions more satisfying while helping your team to improve, automate, and even eliminate operational inefficiencies that contribute to top-line growth.

Brands that leverage personalization are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t. When brands fail to deliver personalized service experiences, customers are 4 times more likely to leave for a competitor. Customers have countless companies fighting for their attention and dollars; If you’re not meeting their needs, other companies will and your profits will go down with it.

A Time to Embrace Sentiment

The more you understand and acknowledge the emotional experience of your customers, the more likely they are to feel cared for by your brand.  

Like in any relationship, this will create trust with your customers and create brand loyalty. Advanced Natural Language Processing technology can identify when customers are happy, satisfied, frustrated, or flat-out angry, based on the language they use.  CX leaders can leverage this information to prioritize response times and provide an optimal service response. 

With intelligent automation, engagements dynamically change according to customer sentiment, geography, products, lifetime value, service history, and dozens more parameters.

Customer experience tools are not ‘a nice to have’; they are means to survive in an economic downturn. At the end of the day, brands are nothing more than the experiences they provide. Thus, customer experience in a recession becomes even more critical. How will you invest in yours?

BG Weiss is the Chief Revenue Officer of Thankful, customer service AI built for retail and ecommerce brands. Photo credit: Unsplash.