Transform Customer Experience
The Covid-19 pandemic prompted tectonic shifts in everything about the workplace and how business gets done. Responding to the pandemic pushed companies to move quickly in responding to shifting customer needs while also caring for employees. The unforeseen global disruption forced everyone to find creative solutions, overcome process barriers and reduce spend.
As challenging as 2020 was, organizations everywhere stand to reap the benefits in 2021 and beyond. According to a recent McKinsey Global Survey of executives, companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions as well as their internal operations by three to four years. This crisis had the unexpected benefit of migrating customers to digital operations, including many who had previously resisted innovation.
Business leaders should build on this opportunity to accelerate shifts toward digital-first models. In my own role working in employee relocation and talent mobility, we have taken advantage of these pandemic-driven changes to improve the entire customer experience.
1. Unlock the benefits of remote work.
The shift to remote work has been an unexpected boost for customer-focused professionals. Rather than being confined to offices, many are fielding customer inquiries at home. Although working from home comes with stresses of its own, many workers are benefiting from new technology that empowers better customer service and more success in their roles.
The flexibility and creativity that many workers are experiencing now offers them more time to focus on customers’ needs. As a result, many customer-service representatives, account managers and other workers have become much more flexible and empathetic. Even in job roles that were previously thought of as not being suitable for remote work, the reality is that many employees are going above and beyond what was thought possible and creating better customer experiences. Partially as a result, organizations are adopting flexible work models.
Seeing this, many companies, including my own, are expanding this model by further investing in Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) as a stronger mobile strategy in 2021, building a more united workforce with better security and scalability, as well as creating communication-enabled business processes.
2. Make a positive face-to-face impression via video.
Travel and in-person meetings and conversations became restricted during the pandemic. We know that eye contact is critical in relationships and facilitates openness. We’ve learned that video is not just a growing expectation of remote employees, but a viable business-improving tool in customer engagement. Similar to the majority of organizations, my company is seeing the positive aspects of using asynchronous communication, such as “video voicemail” (e.g., Loom) and synchronous communication (e.g., Microsoft Teams, Zoom).
Regardless of which format is in use, it’s critical for business leaders to help their employees with training, equipment and techniques to ensure the best impression with clients. A few small tweaks to lighting, camera angles, sound or microphone will make a huge difference in the impression your employees make with your clients or other meeting participants. As video communication and artificial intelligence become integrated into meetings, we will continue to remove language and cultural barriers and develop quantifiable workplace and client success.
3. Fully leverage data analytics and visualization.
The need for data to make all business decisions has been on a growth trajectory, but we saw the need for data analytics really take off in 2020. Organizations everywhere needed real-time insights to make critical business and life-saving decisions. IT leaders must lead the way in guiding decisions about how to invest in data and analytics capabilities and upgrade key data functions.
It begins with seemingly simple things, like better dashboards and reports to influence decision-making. Data visualizations make insights easier to understand and more memorable. For example, in the early stages of Covid-19 shutdowns, all of our corporate clients needed immediate data on the status of their employees who were involved in an active relocation. Data needed to be sliced and diced in multiple ways, e.g., relocations by policies, current budget spent, extensions needed, immigration issues. The combination of visualization charts and tabular views allowed clients to quickly survey the landscape of their relocation program.
4. Use creativity to build supply-chain resilience.
This pandemic has raised awareness of the importance of a resilient supply chain as well as the highly complex nature of global manufacturing and services depending upon a limited number of suppliers. In the relocation industry, we’ve seen a host of creative new solutions from our supply chain — from shippers shaking longstanding operation procedures to movers providing new DIY options to housing providers jumping into sanitization services. We have gained additional insights into leveraging cloud-based technology for collaboration, such as connecting with digitized freight platforms for pricing and capacity and offering nontouch services like video survey for moves.
Although the pandemic has negatively impacted many businesses, many are turning the corner, as we are in my company. The investments in customer service during the pandemic are paying off in areas such as customer survey return rate and service satisfaction — which hit an all-high in our business in Q3 2020. Leaders can turn the pivoting necessary in 2020 into long-term beneficial changes and better partnership with clients that lead to sustainable customer-service advantages. It’s an opportunity we all have: to make a difference in the organizations we serve.
Original source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2021/01/19/four-ways-business-leaders-can-transform-customer-experience/?sh=6bf7a4cc2a60