Shifting your Customer Experience Strategy Due to COVID-19

Life is upended, this much we know. The chaos has disrupted customers’ attitudes about brands as a result. According to Amanda Gagliardi writing for Ogilvy, it’s quite likely your customer experience strategy needs some adjustment … and quickly.

Gagliardi urges brands to adopt the AWARE framework to making this adjustment: Assess, Watch, Adjust, Rethink, and Ensure.

Assess the state of your employees and your ability to deliver an experience that will meet customers’ expectations during this time,” she advises. “How are your employees holding up? Have you made a clear plan for their health and safety? Do they have the resources they need to do their jobs and support your customers’ needs during this time?”

This makes absolute sense. Your team can’t deliver a stellar customer experience if they are unwell, anxious, overwhelmed or concerned about their own safety; this is simple human nature.

After assessing the situation and providing whatever resources you can, it’s time to watch and see how your customers are engaging with your brand now. If you find touchpoints that are more engaging than others, focus there to understand why. And reach out directly if you have helpful, useful information that makes sense coming from your brand. (More on what to say and how here.)

Keep in mind the massive shift in how your customers are likely to spend their time. If you can find a way to authentically tap into this behavior shift with branded messaging, take that opportunity.

While there’s no need to throw your entire marketing strategy out the window right now, it does make sense to adjust your approach.

“Even if you’ve done careful and diligent work creating your customer and employee experience artifacts, such as personas, journeys, and service blueprints, chances are that they are going to need some adjustments now,” Gagliardi notes. “At least for a period of time, maybe forever, our world has changed, and customer needs and pain points have likely changed with it. Use the information you’ve gained during the watch period to inform these adjustments.”

As you adjust, think about how you can engage your customers.

Do the changes to your customer behaviors or needs necessitate updated or new solutions or communications? Do your employees need new tools to help themselves be more efficient or to serve a new type of customer?” Gagliardi asks.

Rethink your strategy accordingly to meet their current needs. Then ensure success by measuring your conversion points and other KPIs.

It’s a sound framework to follow if you’re unsure where to start, and the entire article is well worth the read. The brands that take this moment to understand their new relationship with their audience will be well ahead of the pack as we slowly move into the next phase of recovery.