The world has joined forces to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, but when it comes to businesses, there has been one major difference – customer relationships. Now that the new normal is being introduced, how will businesses have to change the way they relate to their customers?
With a more negative growth outlook for businesses paired with increased customer anxiety, it isn’t too surprising that questions are being raised as to the sustainability and effectiveness of current customer service models. So, how can organisations prepare and what can they expect in the future?
Customer behaviours are changing
Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen several changes in customer behaviour. These are set to continue, at least in the near future.
Customers have been led primarily by anxiety throughout this crisis and are looking for companies to manage continuity of their services in a safe yet efficient way. Now that we are in the recovery phase, customers are still cautious and are looking for a return to normalcy while still remaining protected. As we move forward into the new normal, customers are increasingly looking for comfort and for a return to old pleasures, but businesses still need to keep staff and customers safe without damaging customer relationships.
How can companies cater to these changing behaviours and relationships? Some strategies that are being employed are outlined here.
Virtual as standard
In the new normal, virtual is no longer going to be a choice but instead, a default practice. Customer relationships must move into the online sphere with remote access to services that supply an anywhere, anytime model to customers.
Remote access doesn’t mean that customers should feel disengaged from a brand. Companies must develop outreach programs for customers as well as continuous and consistent communication of the brand’s values and accessibility throughout this difficult time.
Empathy for customers
Organisations which respond empathetically to customers are more likely to win their trust and their loyalty. By offering rewards like free services and waivers and customer engagement activities such as virtual social engagement and gamification, companies can continue to provide effective services for customers and build up positive relationships despite the pandemic and its impact on enterprise.
Preparing for the new normal
Although it’s a challenge to prepare for the new normal and how it will affect customer relationships, it’s something that every company is facing. By reimagining your business processes and your operating model now, it’s possible to impress customers by your response to the crisis and by your excellent customer service in the face of adversity.
By focusing on the management of customers in this uncertain time you can benefit your organisation exponentially. By providing seamless continuity of service to your customers you can continue to enable brand connection and boost customer loyalty. Every opportunity should be seized in business, and even this global pandemic can be harnessed to create key customer moments. So put the interests of the customer first and begin leading the way with your brand into the new normal, fostering positive customer relationships despite the crisis.