Customer Care and Coronavirus

The customer experience (CX) has never been more important. To underscore that rather obvious statement, I’m going to point you to a recent McKinsey & Company article entitled: Adapting customer experience in the time of coronavirus.

I’m also going out on a limb and calling this a mandatory read. Not only for customer care executives, but for all marketers. Because customer care is marketing. We’re seeing that now more clearly than ever before.

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The article lists four actions that can address immediate customer needs, and prepare your organizations for the future. Not surprisingly, the McKinsey authors (Rachel Diebner, Elizabeth Silliman, Kelly Ungerman, and Maxence Vancauwenberghe) are spot on.

Here’s a quick summary, and some additional thoughts:

Focus on Care

Your customers are anxious. Their lives have been disrupted. Anything you can do to make life easier will go a long way. Depending on your business this could be a major initiative, or a relatively minor change. But everything helps. 

Think about ways, large and small, to reach out to your customers, employees, and community. They need your help now. And as long as you’re offering genuine help and not overt marketing, they’ll remember you later.

Meet your customers where they are today

This is a big one. And it’s something I’ve been preaching for a while — long before coronavirus. Our communication and engagement preferences have rapidly changed over the past decade. The growth of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and other social media channels has fueled this change and is, simultaneously, evidence of the change.

And that was before quarantines. Stay at home orders and shuttered brick and mortar touch points have cranked the modern channels amp up to 11. What used to be a “nice to have” has become a “must have.” Practically overnight. Two thirds of Gen X, Y, and Z already preferred modern channels for business connections. As the rest of us are encouraged (or forced) to move to modern channels that percentage will skyrocket. Customers who were resistant to modern channels a few months ago are now on board — they simply don’t have a choice. Now’s the time to accelerate your move to modern channels. 

Reimagine customer experience

We’ll get through the COVID-19 crisis. Eventually. But don’t think for a minute that everything will revert back to how it was BC (before coronavirus). Yes, the pendulum will inevitably swing back. But it will have lost a lot of momentum in the process — it’ll never be completely back to where it was. Expect a new normal that’s more digitally connected and more tech savvy. Once your customer’s have gotten a taste of a digital customer experience, they aren’t looking back. If you’re still relying on 140-year-old technology to care for your customers, you’ll be left behind. 

Build capabilities for a fast-changing environment

This goes without saying, and has been true for a while. Agility is a cornerstone of success. But agility requires information. You can’t make decisions (good ones, anyway) in a vacuum. Fortunately, the same modern channels we’re using for customer care can help you keep your finger on your brand’s pulse. In real time.

Your customers are out there talking about you. To the tune of 90 billion messages, every day. They’re commenting, praising, and critiquing your brand. They’re asking questions — and expecting answers. If you’re not listening and engaging, you’re missing out. Tapping into this conversation stream provides you with unparalleled brand insights. It also creates opportunities to engage directly with your customers. Win, win.

Modern channels are flexible, scalable, and cost effective. The past few months have shown us that they are now the most strategic communication methods on the planet.

Read the full article here.