What if your organization is going through a very tough situation due to economic uncertainty?
Should you stop your Customer Experience (CX) efforts and operations?
“In times of economic uncertainty, the customer experience becomes even more important. Companies need to focus on delivering exceptional customer service, to maintain loyalty and build trust.” – Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
CX is no more an additional component. Your organization needs to be mindful of the CX endeavors because today's customers crave it, and you get a competitive advantage by leveraging it.
When you need help managing your customer experience program in harsh economic conditions, you must understand the impact of economic uncertainty on CX, why you must stick with CX, and how to ensure your CX program works well for your company to handle the situation proactively.
Impact of Economic Uncertainty on Customer Experience
It would help if you had a consistent flow of resources to run a successful business. But unpredictable internal and external factors might affect resource availability which further influences how your organization operates and serve customers with the best experience.
Here are 5 negative impacts of economic uncertainty on the customer experience you deliver:-
1) Ineffective CX Operations
The smooth running of CX operations is crucial for maintaining customer loyalty and generating higher ROI. Lack of clarity in investments due to uncertain economic status results in unproductive CX operations. The efforts put in by your employees and executives to please customers fail and you might not get desired results for both customers and the company.
2) Dissatisfied Customers
High-value customers are neither easy to retain nor acquire. The efforts put into gaining valuable customers also require financial investments. If you are not in a position to fund the CX activities that make customers happy, you may face rejections from the customer's end. Dissatisfied customers can never be good for your financial health. They will leave your brand and provide bad reviews that can affect your sales. And this will definitely hurt your brand image in the long run.
3) Unmotivated Employees
Employees are one of the most critical entities that assist you in enhancing customer experience by directly solving their issues or devising solutions at the back end. Economic disruption in the organization can lower employee confidence and hinder their daily work. Unmotivated employees can not perform at optimal levels, hampering the workflow and ultimately upsetting customers with the ambiguity caused due to underperformance.
4) Competitors Get an Advantage
Suppose your overall brand performance with respect to customers' wants and needs is constantly degrading. If you choose to totally abandon CX operations due to the dire financial condition of the organization, then it will harm your business. In that case, your competitors are certainly going to gain more significant advantages as your customers are drawn towards them, leaving your brand.
5) Weak Customer Support
With a poor monetary status and vision, organizations often tend to compromise on essential elements like their customer support system, which ensure customer perception remains positive. Weak customer care can push them away from your brand. Customers today need quick and relevant solutions to their problems. The feeble customer support system is one of the primary reasons your brand can not deliver a best-in-class customer experience.
9 Pillars That Have Proven to Deliver CX In Times of Economic Uncertainty
An economic downturn is inevitable in this dynamic world, and you need to keep going to survive as the markets, industries, and consumer demands never shut down. A top-notch customer experience is a profitable asset to the company.
These nine pillars of CX have proved to deliver improved outcomes, faster growth, and higher shareholder value:-
1) Embracing CX Technology
CX technologies are those parts of your company's technical unit that assist the CX team in optimizing the processes that concern customers. These technologies help your organization manage repetitive work and generate insight that reveals the expectations of your consumers from the brand.
Besides that, poor financial conditions lower your burden of handling your customers manually. Embracing CX technology will also push you out of troublesome times as it ensures your customers never leave your side and keep supporting your brand.
McKinsey report reveals that the companies that excel at personalization generate 40% more revenue.
Personalized CX is the major customer satisfaction factor that will help you get out of poor economic conditions smoothly. Customers love to receive personalized messages, offers, and interactions from a brand. Further, satisfied customers are willing to pay more for such brands, increasing their revenue and bringing them into better condition in difficult times.
3) Better Customer Service
According to Hubspot research, 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies that offer excellent customer service.
Your brand can deliver excellent customer service to consumers by enhancing customer experience at various customer touchpoints in this department. Customer service representatives need to take care of whether or not the customer is happy with the services. Showing concern to the customer further improves their experience and builds trust in your services during difficult conditions like financial distress.
4) Competitive Advantage
Economic risk on your company is terrible, and with CX, you can stand at a much better place in your niche market. Customers prefer companies that provide excellent CX with their products and services.
They happily invest their money for the convenience they get through the customer experience your brand furnishes. Ultimately, your brand gets the advantage over your competitors when potential customers choose you over them, and already existing customers stay with you.
5) Optimize Marketing Cost
Better CX cuts the marketing cost as customers refer your product and service to others. Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective methods because customers trust suggestions from friends and family members more than advertisements.
During troubling economic times, CX helps save your assets and monetary resources by a significant amount. It generates a powerful brand image that attracts customers and increases Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
6) Crisis Management
Undoubtedly, your brand is going to face many different kinds of issues while facing economic disturbances. CX will take care of your customers for you. It empowers you to handle various customer-related tasks that are running to decrease customer effort while interacting with your brand.
If you have an effective CX system setup, you can focus more on internal operations to manage the crisis. Overall, CX assists you in bringing stability during critical situations such as economic imbalance.
7) Improved Brand Reputation
A good brand reputation is no less than a magic wand that has the power to glorify brand image and increase sales. CX aids you in creating an improved brand reputation by ensuring your customers get entirely comfortable with your brand.
Also, having an enhanced brand reputation through CX helps you showcase how much you care about your customers, and they can stick longer with you even in economic tribulations as you will serve them with the best solutions.
8) Increase Employee Productivity
Productive employees can help you turn the worst conditions into stable ones. But you might wonder how more pleasing CX can boost employee productivity.
When customers feel delighted, they leave positive comments and provide validation that your brand is excellent to collaborate with in the long haul. And these things make an employee happy as they can see the results of their efforts in their daily work.
9) Effective Communication With Customers
CX drives you to communicate effectively with your customers to accomplish the organizational goals of serving them well and maintaining a customer-first mindset. Effortless customer communication assists you in delivering solutions to customers smoothly.
During monetary downturns, when you cannot afford to please customers with tactics that require heavy investments, sticking to CX and communicating well with customers will keep a tight grip on them, so you don't lose them to your competitors.
How to Ensure CX Programs Work in Your Favor During Economic Uncertainty?
During difficult financial times, if you decide not to stop the investment in CX programs, here is how you can ensure it always works in your favor:-
1) Plan for the CX Initiative
Proceeding with a plan will surely save you monetary resources when you are facing tough financial situations. So, you must invest your and your team's time in planning the goals, procedures, and expected outcomes to get the most out of your CX initiative.
2) Track Outcomes of CX Activities
When you are not in the condition to invest in new CX projects, track already existing ones. The CX activities you perform in order to achieve customer-centricity in the organization and develop customer-focused solutions must be tracked to get desired results. Also, you can justify CX investments with small wins and remove/stop unproductive activities at every step.
3) Revamp Flawed Customer Experience Strategies
If you notice a constant failure in your CX projects, there is something wrong with the customer experience strategy you are following. Look for the potential elements of the strategy that is causing the issue and resolve them to validate investments made on the CX program during harsh financial times.
Related Read:- What Can A Leader Do If Customer Experience Budget Gets Cut?
Prove ROI of CX to Stakeholders During Tough Financial Situations
One of the primary reasons that most leaders struggle in terms of investments in the CX program - even when you are not facing difficult times is the lack of support from stakeholders. And during tough financial times, it becomes more difficult to convince them of the investments in the CX program.
Here are a few steps you can take to prove the ROI of CX to gain the confidence of your stakeholders:-
- Reveal the numbers from previous successful CX programs. Show the returns and positive customer metric numbers to the stakeholders.
- Address the query of your stakeholders mindfully. Never try to shut down their problems. Instead, collaborate with them to come to a common point.
- Involve your stakeholders while devising the CX strategy to increase their trust in the upcoming CX program.
- Share the expected outcomes that will positively impact the company's revenue.
To Wrap Up
Delivering a good customer experience is not an easy task. And uncertain economic times make it much more challenging. The thing is, even in this case, you do not have to compromise the delivery of a more satisfactory customer experience as it is no more a secondary factor for customers to make decisions. You can create a separate fund and maintain it independently for bad and unpredictable situations. CX has become a part of a business that must not be avoided at any cost, as it helps get higher returns.
Blur finance conditions badly affect business growth, decreasing customer retention and acquisition rates. The best thing you can do is pre-plan the CX initiative, track activities, revamp strategies accordingly, and gain stakeholders' confidence. Apart from that, it is crucial to understand your customers well.
Related Read:- How to Understand Your Customers During Inflationary Times?