8 pieces of post-Covid CX advice you can’t ignore
We recently sat down with eight customer experience (CX) experts from The Drum Network to diagnose the current CX moment. If the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic were characterized by a scrabble to digitize everything, where are we now, and what are the smartest CX minds doing to make their brands stand out with customers? Our experts shared their one piece of advice you can’t miss.
John Stauffer, senior vice-president, Merkle: customer care is an opportunity, not a cost
Given everything that’s happened in the last couple of years – Covid, the impact on the supply chain and all of that disruption – many customers are more likely than ever to need a customer care touchpoint. A lot of our clients are still in the mindset of seeing customer care in any form – whether it be calling, email or even tweeting – as a cost center to be managed and minimized. Some even have KPIs like how fast you can get people off the phone.
But many of our clients know that if you have a disgruntled customer and you’re able to resolve their issue, their net promoter score is higher than the average customer. If you’re able to resolve their issues, that’s a way to turn people who are detractors into advocates. So customer care is truly an opportunity center.
Helen Darlington, founder and director, Woven: the dawn of the value-driven era
I read something a while ago that’s stuck with me: you should even expect the ice cream truck that rolls through your neighborhood to reflect humane treatment of animals, clean air and community-giving.
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There will be an increase in customers relating to brands whose values match their own. We’re at the dawn of a new value-driven era. Every brand should embed the expression of their values in every experience. That way, the brand will be known to stand for more.
Christopher Godfree, head of client services, Across the Pond: the limits of digitization
Coming out of the pandemic, some companies have pushed digital products on to consumers in a way that wasn’t necessarily in their best interest – switching customer service for bots, for example. Looking ahead, there will be an advancement in those technologies (AI and in bots and so forth). But we can’t let that increased digitization remove the human touch.
It’s harder to do, admittedly, with more and more digital tools available. That can make it easier for brands to get away with not having to invest so much, but the human touch will always be what ultimately brings people back. So don’t switch out the human touch. Don’t let digitization remove the humanity from your brand.
Stephen Schutzman, partner, Known: earning it every day
Your brand is everything at every single touchpoint, wherever a consumer or an employee or an investor will see it or feel it. And if it’s not consistent, if you don’t hold up the expectation of your brand – across the entire lifecycle, every touchpoint – your customers will see it. And it won’t be true.
You’ve got to make sure that all of the parts are connected internally, and that the brand is consistent from across every touchpoint. And that you are living in a state of constant learning and iteration. And that you never think that you’ve succeeded or that you’re there or that you’ve earned your customers’ loyalty; you’ve got to earn it every single day, and continue to be better and improve every step of the way.
Sharon Wright, associate director, Space & Time: focus on building synergies
The key is really taking the time to understand who your customers are, and what their full customer journey is. Data analysis is important – use it to identify patterns and refine a strategy, and be responsive and agile.
Build synergies. We’ve got to be collaborative between teams – sales, marketing and product teams – and use that to enhance CX everywhere.
Ross Tulloch, principal service designer, Foolproof: humanize everything
It’s all about humanization. Think of your product – whether it's an app, website or anything in between – as a real person. If it were brought to life right now, what would it look like? How would it talk? What tone and language will it use? There’s a reason Alexa is called Alexa. When you ask it to play a song, or find a recipe, it feels more natural, more empathetic, more human.
Chris Barnes, head of experience, Omobono: don’t approach CX as a monolith
CX today is so broad, it can be quite overwhelming. There’s a lot to do if you’re going to map the entire customer experience. Start small and experiment with small changes, as opposed to thinking that you need to fix absolutely everything at once in a massive program. The smallest changes can have the biggest impact.
Maria Bain, senior strategy & insight director, iCrossing: time to listen
Listen to your audiences. Understand what they need, where they’re coming from, how they’re behaving across digital platforms, and be there for those moments authentically. Don’t try to be something that you’re not or push an agenda that’s not true to the brand. I think we are getting more savvy about greenwashing, for example, which can actually be a detriment to the brand if you get caught out.
And don’t be afraid to diversify your CX touchpoints – be where they are, rather than being channel stagnant. Be agnostic, and follow your user rather than the channel silo.
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Merkle is a leading data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company that specializes in the delivery of unique, personalized customer experiences across platforms and devices. For more than 30 years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with Merkle to maximize the value of their customer portfolios. The company’s heritage in data, technology, and analytics forms the foundation for its unmatched skills in understanding consumer insights that drive hyper-personalized marketing strategies. Its combined strengths in performance media, customer experience, customer relationship management, loyalty, and enterprise marketing technology drive improved marketing results and competitive advantage.Find out more
Take decades of digital experience. A deep understanding of human psychology. Powerful, real-time social insights. And voila. Beautiful, effective solutions driving engagement across the entire user journey - from love at first sight to partners for life.Find out more
We’re a global, independent creative agency helping tech brands create a better world. How? We make the complex, human.Find out more
Known is a modern marketing company that pairs Ph.D. data scientists with award-winning creatives, expert research teams and strategists who leverage machine learning, AI and the company's proprietary media operating system, called Skeptic. Known is anchored by two decades of groundbreaking market research and data science capabilities, which uniquely empower our marketing strategy and acclaimed creative groups, who produce some of the most innovative, cutting-edge creative work in culture. The result? Marketing that is predisposed to succeed and be persistently optimized, directly impacting clients' bottom lines.Find out more
Space & Time is a growth marketing agency, enabling clients to secure optimal value from every part of the customer experience and their marketing investment. We form long-term partnerships with clients through our business empathy and commercial alignment, working within fully managed, hybrid or in-house models to deliver best-in-class expertise across media, technology, performance creative and training, driving market-beating long-term growth outcomes.Find out more
We are specialists in experience design. We create value for you by creating value for your customers.Find out more
The Marketing Practice is a leading, global B2B agency that delivers growth right across the funnel.Find out more
iCrossing is a digital marketing agency that works with businesses to create a real step-change. Setting it apart, iCrossing is owned by Hearst, the world’s largest independent media, entertainment and content company. Being part of the Hearst family gives iCrossing access to Hearst audiences, data, consumer research and category experts which allows iCrossing to better spot new insights, trends and inform direction for its clients.Find out more