The past six months have brought with them a great deal of change. Many businesses saw major disruptions as they managed the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 shutdowns.
For some, this meant putting non-priority projects on hold. For others, it meant rapidly shifting resources – literally overnight in many cases – to serve employees and customers now doing almost all of their working and buying online. Other changes have been less obvious. Among them is the shift in how some businesses are approaching their overall customer experience.
Building awareness and loyalty with customers pre-COVID-19 was challenging enough amid the ever-growing expectations, the explosion in e-commerce and the rise of digital technologies, which forced the bar of what makes a good experience higher with each passing year. The challenge now is how to make the customer experience feel seamless at a time when the world is anything but. There is no one-size-fits all solution, but there are ways of re-assessing how to provide an optimal customer experience that can help leaders strike the right balance between deepening an existing relationship while also realizing their objectives. Here are a few that have worked for me and my team.
Focus on providing immediate, tangible value. In the days after the shutdowns first took effect, customers received messages from companies committing to supporting them through the difficult times. Reassuring communications were an important first step, but just as critical is the follow-through. In my mind, the most effective way to demonstrate to a customer that they are being truly supported is to offer them tangible value tailored for our current environment, and that’s easy for them to access.
My focus is on helping protect companies from cyber criminals, ensuring they have the right security strategy in place that balances the right technology and training. For us, a natural way to serve our community in the weeks following the onset of the pandemic was by making our catalogue of security courses available to them for free. A lot of our training is driven out of Ottawa but the program is of course global. The move clearly struck a chord. Course registrations jumped by 80,000 worldwide in the weeks following the announcement, not surprising given what we know about the landscape today. In a report we conducted this past summer, 83 percent of organizations said they found the shift to remote work to be moderately to severely challenging. This was at least in part due to the security implications of extending the secure network to include the home, and at a time when cybercriminals were becoming more aggressive.
The lesson here is to seek ways to provide resources to customers that will be helpful to them today, and in doing so, further gain their trust.
Aim to educate…