Top 5 Methods to Navigate the “New Normal” of Customer Engagement
The pandemic interrupted and changed the way we live, connect and work. Companies large and small rushed to rethink and activate business continuity and customer engagement plans. As the pandemic takes hold, some companies are quickly realizing that their tactics are not adequate to meet the immediate challenges presented by changing medial guidelines, government mandates and customer behaviors, let alone provide a foundation for a long-term strategy. Many are finding that they need to “rethink their rethinking”.
I’d like to share a few best practices from some of our global clients on how they are protecting customer relationships and their brand. I know that there are dozens of articles out there on how to navigate the “new normal”… Here are the top 5 methods that we have helped our clients deploy quickly to maintain customer engagement. I’ve seen first-hand that they have an immediate, positive impact in the real world.
1 – EMPATHY, EMPATHY, EMPATHY!
Keep the Customer at the Center. Remind employees at all levels that it is a stressful time for the customer and to continue to go the extra mile with a heavy emphasis on empathy. Enable them to handle difficult and emotional interactions by (virtually) providing updated soft skills training and leveraging technology to automate manual effort (check out this great blog on Salesforce Service Cloud Voice). Proactively call long-time, high value customers to check on them. When possible, offer free services to long-time customers. The customer will remember -and respond- to how they were treated by you during this important time.
2 – Continually monitor customer sentiment
“We’re opening!, no wait we’re rolling back”…”We have it under control…we’re setting new daily records” ….”I want to buy 10 of your widgets…hmm, I think I better wait”. Customers are on a mental and emotional roller coaster. Align explicit feedback (contact reasons, surveys, online ratings) with implicit feedback (buying patterns, subscriptions, churn) to identify the customer’s sentiment and engage accordingly. Keep them informed on what YOU are doing to ensure their safety and satisfaction based on current, science-based information and guidelines.
3 – Your employees are your customers too
Refer to points 1 and 2. For some, working from home can be digestible for a short period of time, but as this work dynamic extends, employee sentiment and performance may start to change. Conduct regular, virtual meetings and ensure a true “open door” policy to keep a pulse on their state of mind. Review employee performance reports for sudden changes and trends. Proactively and empathically reach out. Your employee experience has a huge impact on your customer experience, and you have a huge impact on the employee experience.
4 – Leverage customer data that you already have
You are already sitting on a ton of customer data. Now, more than ever, is the time to unify and action that data to create memorable experiences that will drive a lasting, trusted relationship with your brand. Hyper-personalizing Marketing campaigns, low-effort digital service options, proactive issue identification and intervention…all now have a more deep and lasting impact on your brand!
5 – Re-imagine your digital experience
This is the perfect opportunity to re-imagine your digital channels to find new, creative ways to engage with your customers to keep them satisfied, informed and advocating for your brand. Create and/or bolster community forums and social media. Explore Virtual / Augmented Reality (VR/AR) to help customers experience your brand. Deploy digital forms and robust self-service. Customers who were once digitally resistant, have had to adopt this way of engaging with your brand. Make it as human as possible. What’s important to consider is that this enhanced digital way of engagement will be the new normal… as companies continue to invest and improve their digital experiences, and more users continue to like, enjoy and trust them.
Have you had to rethink some of your customer engagement plans over the last few weeks? I’d love to hear about it.
And if you’re struggling to create or deploy a solution that’s right for YOUR business, contact us. PolSource has a comprehensive, proven Success Framework and unified teams with decades of experience creating tailored solutions on the Salesforce Customer Success Platform.