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The Customer is still the King! – Rethinking customer experience during and post the pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought significant changes to how businesses are run globally. With extended lockdowns, growing uncertainty and new social-distancing norms, customer behavior and their spending levels have drastically changed. It is important for businesses to understand these changes and adapt to them in order to survive.

In this article, we explore some areas where businesses should invest time and resources in order to thrive in a post Covid-19 world:

  • Focus on care and concern: Show your customers that you care, not in a marketing gimmicky way, but in a genuine way. Integrity, trust and staying true to your business’s value and purpose will go a long way. Customers appreciate businesses that care about the safety of their customers and employees. Customers also value brands that are working towards helping the community during this crisis. Cottonelle, one of the world’s largest toilet paper producers, delivered direct message to ease customers’ concerns and discourage panic buying in the US. The brand urged customers to “stock up on generosity” and launched a campaign called #ShareASquare in partnership with a US based charity, United Way. Walmart launched a one-minute ad with a powerful message "to America, from our associates" that included videos of five Walmart employees signing the Bill Withers "lean on me" initiative. It was a powerful message to remind customers that they were not alone in this uncertain world.

  • Go digital: Covid-19 has forced many businesses to digitize their core business model. Customers have become more digitally savvy. Organizations will need to invest in new digital methods of engagement, contactless payments and data privacy and security.Restaurants and cafes suffered tremendously in the initial months of the pandemic and were forced to have an online presence to deliver food to customers’ homes. Many restaurants launched their own websites and apps to order online, while many registered with third-party delivery aggregators. At the same time, those who could not digitize their offering went out of business.Migrating customers to digital channels can not only help businesses save money (such as saving rental and other costs associated with operating a brick and mortar stores) but also help them scale up their operations significantly in the future. One of the tools that you can use while migrating to an online platform to ensure a seamless customer experience is a customer journey map.

  • Invest in technology and systems: During this period of uncertainty, many businesses are looking at ways to reduce costs and budgets. Instead of reducing spending budgets, businesses should invest wisely in data analytics, technology and systems to be able to deliver a seamless customer experience now and also in the long-term. Building analytics capabilities will help businesses predict customer behavior, buying patterns, spending habits and changing dynamics. This will help businesses become more agile and deliver a superior customer experience by focusing on the right areas. The pandemic caused a surge in usage of social media. This provides an opportunity for businesses to analyze insights from social media to understand customer needs. Similarly, investing in technology such as AI-powered interactions and chatbots on websites and apps will help replace or complement traditional, in-store customer experiences.

Covid-19 has forced businesses to make significant changes, but with each crisis comes opportunities. Businesses that will be able to build sound customer-centric strategies and invest resources towards the right areas, will not only survive the pandemic but also thrive in a post pandemic world.

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