As we move past one year of the pandemic, has your customer experience focus changed to reflect evolving circumstances? As many businesses struggle to meet the changing needs of their customers, others are thriving and reaching all- time highs. Let’s look at restaurants as an example. Many restaurants that prided themselves on the dining room experience had to switch their focus to build a new experience based on take- out and curbside pickup. In other words, they had to completely rework the customer experience, and in some cases they were starting from scratch. This included every aspect of the customer journey, including using new technologies for food delivery services like DoorDash® and Uber Eats, among others. This led to price changes as companies sometimes charge up to 30% for their services.
As restaurants built out new experiences through technology, they were also building outdoor dining spaces to mimic the indoor experience and keep customers safe, engaged and coming back. Customer engagement has proven to be difficult over the last year and will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future.
So how do you keep customers engaged with your products and services when so much is changing? I will highlight a few areas to focus on that will help you through the journey:
- Always be willing to listen, brainstorm and adapt to the changes that are happening around you with your customers, your employees and all aspects of your business. For example, supply chain problems have caused many restaurants to adapt and make changes to their menus.
- As you continue to build your new journey map and engagement strategy, you will start to gain credibility with your customers and your employees for listening and adapting to the new challenges.
- Focus on the process and not the outcome. This will allow you to be flexible when needed, and to respond quickly to unforeseen circumstances.
- As things continue to evolve and change on a daily basis, communication with your customers and employees is key to building engagement. By building strong and consistent communications, you remove any uncertainties that might arise.
- Being okay with uncertainty will allow you to accept the changes for what they are, without resistance. It will enable you to find the opportunities hidden in each change. This can help you grow and expand customer engagement in ways you might have never imagined.
- Make small changes and celebrate the small wins. During these times we are all looking for reasons to celebrate, not only with our employees but with our customers. This can be achieved by engaging your customers in your celebrations, which will untimely make them more involved.
By staying focused on the six strategies above as the environment around us continues to change, you can drive more customer engagement with your products. By embracing the uncertainty of coming out of a pandemic, you can create a culture with your employees and customers that will allow you to thrive in whatever conditions you are faced with.
There are many things that are still unknown, but having a strong foundation and culture can help keep us all thriving.
Michael serves as the Founder and CXO of ECPJ Advisors, assisting companies in developing an organized and aligned approach that puts the customer at the center of everything. Using a customer-focused outside-in approach to insights, innovation and diversity, ECPJ advises executive leadership on experience management (customer, employee, product, and inclusion), journey mapping, data management, business/process management, and life-cycle revenue generation.