Guest Post by Jay Purohit
In the short time since the outbreak of COVID-19, the world has been overwhelmed and left reeling courtesy of its ramifications.
Businesses have never been more vulnerable, and in the ensuing aftermath of the epidemic, many of them have been forced to dash-to-digital to maintain continuity as employees retired to their homes. Around the globe, this has also caused a reevaluation of what customer experience means.
Especially in the current situation, a user’s immediate interaction with a brand can have a lingering effect on their sense of admiration and loyalty towards it. With a large number of people being furloughed, a primary indicator of their customer experience will be how their favorite brands deliver services that sit well with their needs today.
There are three strategies that businesses can implement to improve the online customer experience:
1. Focus on the Basics: Consistency and Personalization
Today more than ever, people need consistency of services and personalization to traverse through a wacky terrain of unforeseen challenges. As the world progresses deeper and deeper into the pandemic, a new set of behavioral elements emerge. According to a recent Nielsen research report, the most prominent of these shifts in consumer attitudes is increased online shopping.
However, this trend also affords online retailers a tremendous opportunity to be enterprising in their efforts to respond to novel demand signals by keeping abreast of customer desires to personalize and radicalize their entire customer experience. This proactiveness is termed as customer behavior analysis, and it helps you understand how your customers interact with your company.
By segmenting consumers into buyer personas according to their common characteristics, you can observe each group at different stages of the customer journey to evaluate their engagement with your company.
Customer behavior analysis offers a deep insight into the factors that inspire your audience to buy from you. Take Amazon, for example. The pioneers of customer behavior analysis, they were the first online retailer that provided personalized suggestions and recommendations to customers who came to buy from them.
They quickly became known for their product recommendations for their customers, and it paid off big time for them, with Amazon reporting that 35% of their revenue came from these recommendations. On the other hand, customers also chimed in favor of the personalized experience, with 56% of them saying that they would return because of the satisfaction it provided them.
2. Make Way for Shared Experiences
The everyday pattern of normal life has come to a grinding halt been in the wake of the pandemic. Demand patterns have metamorphosed, and simple activities have shifted online. However, while customers are increasingly opting for digital and zero-touch options, digital-first experiences don’t come naturally to a lot of them.
Consequently, there is a dire need for organizations to innovate and adapt their delivery model to accommodate this shortcoming on the consumer’s behalf should they wish to keep their patronage.
One brilliant way of helping consumers where they are is with the help of co-browsing. Co-browsing helps you interact directly with your customer’s screen with a button’s click. You can gather query context by sharing the screen of the customer and guide them through the parts of the touch points in the buyer’s journey they find the most complex.
In fact, co-browsing-aided support interactions are so successful that Forbes reported satisfaction ratings at 89.3%. Speaking about the benefits of co-browsing for their business, Norman Alegria, Director of Guest Care at The Dufresne Group, a premier Canadian home furnishing retailer, said that it helped them bridge the gap between the online and in-store customer experience.
While co-browsing cannot exactly duplicate the in-store experience, it helped them replicate it so that sales reps could assist customers by highlighting features, assisting them with payments, and draw their attention to crucial information like furniture measurements, terms & conditions, returns policies, and more.
3. Augment the Human Experience With AI Tools
While digital delivery has become a norm among even the most digitally-hesitant customers, their digital experience is still woefully limited, thanks in large part due to their ineptitude with navigating the digital landscape of their buyer journey. To assist customers and augment the human experience even further, many companies are accelerating the rapid development of AI tools like chatbots to ensure continuity of services.
Chatbots are software that simulates conversations with users via text-to-speech in lieu of assuming direct contact with a human agent.
Chatbots can not only process a large number of customer requests simultaneously but also provide them with instant responses, help them with solutions to basic issues, resolve grievances, offer answers pertaining to common order questions, all the while maintaining a consistent brand tone to deliver a seamless customer experience.
Aside from their direct benefits, they also cut down customer service costs by 66% while speeding up turnaround time by 500%.
The most famous example of successful chatbot implementation is the leading beauty brand, Sephora. Sephora wanted to augment CX by harnessing the limitless potential of smartphones to engage shoppers and help them with buyer problems.
To this end, they sought out a chatbot that could help them automate consumer interactions while enhancing their experience at the same time. The immediate effects of deploying the chatbot saw them increase customer satisfaction indefinitely, ultimately leading to an 11% increase in appointments.
Customer experience has assumed a novel meaning and has acquired deeper layers to it in the overwhelming aftermath of COVID-19. How brands care for their customers and take measures to innovate and redefine their customer experience will build better relationships with them that will impact their fortunes beyond the pandemic’s passing.
Jay Purohit is the Community Manager at Acquire, an expert marketer, and a CX enthusiast.