April 14, 2022
Shana Auerbach, VP, Client Talent Engagement
Anyone who has recently called their airline or cell phone provider has faced a harsh reality. Not only are we subjected to automated telephone systems with endless phone paths, but also too painfully long hold times in search of real-life humans. Consumers nowadays have such little confidence in these electronic surrogates that they either hang up in exasperation or head to social media to find an answer to their seemingly simple problems.
When people think of customer experience(CX), they think about traditional sales and marketing touchpoints paired with the importance of the customer journey (eg: attentive store clerks in well-kept stores and easy-to-navigate apps and websites). However, when executed well, CX investments yielded positive results in the past, including customer retention, acquisition, and increased sales/loyalty.
The world has changed in the way that the consumer interacts with brands. Even before COVID-19, digital servicing was already impacting how we live, shop, work, and play- customers were creating online accounts at brands, and chatbots were widely spreading across companies. Many of the consumer behavioral changes we are seeing today are likely to stay with us for a while. Some have been in motion for years. Many have accelerated, and all of this affects the customer experience. In my role at Blend360, finding ways to adapt to this ever-changing world of customer experience has been a learning experience.
The value proposition around CX is changing as many of the commonplace fundamentals(listed above) are no longer enough for brand differentiation. Companies are reimagining their business through the lens of experience. Here at Blend 360, the health and safety of our Talent Professionals is a top priority. Our Talent professionals offer continuous servicing options for our consultants and client base.
Around The Clock Support
Consumers have increased digital interactions with brands and stores. For example, E-commerce sales in apparel, department stores, and beauty products have increased by nearly an average of ten percentage points since the onset of the pandemic. E-commerce, which has risen from 2 to 3percent before the crisis to 8 to 10 percent during its peak, is expected to settle at twice the previous “normal” level, 5 to 7 percent, by year’s end (Mckinsey & Company). And as such, customers expect to receive support from brands 24 hours a day (24-7-365). If a customer is trying to get help with a website problem and doesn’t receive an immediate response…, they can be turned off and abandon the sale altogether. All businesses, including stores and service providers, should have people on call for non-business hour inquiries. Along with the push of 24-hour online help is the idea that customers should also have the option to text and chat with brands directly when they need assistance.
A result and lingering effect of the pandemic for Companies will be the need to build safety into the customer experience. Rethinking contactless commerce--a shopping experience that keeps physical interaction to a minimum--will be critical to promoting safety across products, services, and processes to put customers at ease. This can be as simple as asking how customers are doing (which is received differently by each generation) or taking the time to walk customers through step-by-step instructions to ensure safe usage of products.
Encouraging customers to provide feedback, analyzing, and communicating back to the customer around feedback is very critical to the CX. Not just sending a survey after, for example, a doctor’s visit, a customer service interaction, or an in-store purchase, decision leaders must go beyond this in letting the customer know how you will use the feedback to improve experiences in the future. Following up with the customer after providing feedback is an opportunity to build the customer relationship and bring the customer into the brand family. You never know when one customer’s feedback can forbode the next CX trend.
At Blend360, we are obsessed with feedback, looking for the best ways that we can serve both our Clients and Consultants in the years to come. Since 2019, we have consistently achieved a world-class 74% Net Promoter score, which shows a consistent trend of positive client and consultant experiences across the board I believe that the reason for this is that Blend has always looked to improve how we serve our employees and clients. People are at the center of everything we do, from the solutions we provide to the subject-matter experts that drive those solutions. And even though things may have changed drastically in the past 3 years, and may change even more in the years to come, the customer will always come first at Blend360.