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Managing Customer Experience During COVID-19: A Contact Center Perspective
Rahul Poddar Global Director - Customer Lifecycle Management, HCL Digital Process Operations (DPO) | May 19, 2020
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There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has been the greatest humanitarian crisis of the modern age. In the course of a few months it has taken control of everyone’s present with a definite hold into the future as well.

In this era of unprecedented uncertainty, the need to ensure normality has been of foremost priority. As people everywhere feel increasingly vulnerable, organizations have to make an on-going endeavor to retain and nurture the relationships people have with their brand. As such, the challenge of customer experience management is almost as important as ensuring efficient operations.

As important as customers and CX is to any brand, perhaps more important are the employees and partners that make it possible.

Relationships foster Trust

Business is all about relationships, and importantly with the customer and the brand. It takes a long time to nurture and develop a sustainable business relationship with customers. Today’s world is all about world-class customer experience management across every touchpoint in the customer journey.

There are established metrics, which drive outcomes and then these become the new benchmarks focused on measuring and improving customer experience. However, as the world finds itself mired in crisis, upholding and managing these expectations and standards becomes a major challenge.

Driving CX during a Crisis

Organizations need to reframe their perspective on customer experience (CX) during this pandemic. This new perspective will then drive the way CX leaders think about the roadmap for the current crisis and the ‘new world order’ that comes after. This includes,

  • Being extremely proactive in their customer interactions, organizations need to relook their channel strategy and establish an omni-channel reach out strategy. This approach serves multiple purposes beyond simple customer service. By being more proactive and ensuring accessibility they can let customers know that the brands are committed to customer support needs despite the crisis. This form of reliability and reassurance can help drive more business and deepen long-term relationships.
  • Upskill your workforce with remote training programs, organizations also need to ensure that they need to take the ‘customer focused’ culture in your organization a notch higher and one of the critical steps there is to upskill your support teams. As the first line of contact for your brand, these teams need to be trained on the value of empathy that can help them appreciate the various pain points and anxieties of the customer journey. By adopting remote training programs, organizations can ensure that their support teams in work-from-home set-up are doing their best to empathize and care about the end customer.
  • Equipping your team with right digital interfaces, in the course of this goal, equipping your team with the right tools can help ease this transition as well. If nothing else, this current disruption has highlighted the importance of digital experience and transformation. By adopting better user experience (UX) interfaces for employees, such as unified desktops, or intelligent support assistants, organizations can make their workers more productive, multi-skilled, and greater generators of value for the brand.
  • Accelerate adoption to an evolved digital ecosystem, for most organizations in the middle of a digital transformation, this is the right time to accelerate adoption and evolve their digital channel ecosystems. In the case of CX, this includes the adoption of Bots that act as social and visual interfaces for customer contact while also holding fort as a critical touchpoint when workforce management is an issue owing to the crisis. But it’s not just about using technology as a replacement for human workers, rather it is to enable them. Alternate channels like availability of video calls with agents or using VR technology for customer support in remote troubleshooting can amp your customer delight equation. The key is to be more accessible, provide self-service which works, and integrate it with intelligent analytics to keep up to speed with the customer journey. By doing this, organizations will not only lay the groundwork for future acceleration in a post-crisis world, but also promote customer loyalty.

The holistic value of digitalization extends not only towards improving customer experiences but also streamlining enterprise operations. For CX, this involves changing the way we measure it and by enabling personalized digital experiences for customers.

Invest in your People

As important as customers and CX is to any brand, perhaps more important are the employees and partners that make it possible. After all, we are all human, and our support teams face the same anxiety and vulnerability as our customers. Organizations need to enable their employees and partners, which requires new investments in tools and technologies.

As more and more professionals adapt to a work-from-home model, organizations need to invest in remote training programs that help manage stress, promote well-being, and impart education on new ways of working. At the same time, it’s important to up-skill them, tie up with educational and professional institutes, and provide the option of ramping their education and professional qualifications.

Our Commitment

At HCL, Customer Experience is at the core of everything we create or innovate, be it with our employees, partners, or customers. With more than 19 years of experience in enabling our clients embark on new frontiers in customer support across industries, we believe we can bring in the right balance in process excellence and innovation to help you establish your digital support journey. The current crisis does not need to be an obstacle in how you can innovate to connect with your customer.

Contact us to learn how we can help your business do the same.

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