Investing in Customer Experience for a Post-Pandemic FutureBy Kelvene Requiroso Print
Even as business returns to normal, some things will remain forever changed. And customer experience will be more important than ever.
A lot has changed in more than a year of remote work and social distancing. The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the world in a number of unprecedented ways, affecting not only workplace environments and social interactions, but also consumer behavior. Our shopping and buying patterns have changed, from necessities to banking to entertainment. More people are seeking a better customer experience with a business that meets their specific needs.
One of the challenges a business faces during and after the pandemic is how to respond to these changing customer demands, in everything from application development to overall customer experience.
Defining customer experience
Customer experience (CX) in many ways is already at the forefront of business, serving as the direct intermediary between a company and its customer base. And as the world continues to evolve, engaging with clients more effectively and building strong relationships is necessary to remain competitive.
While the focus of user experience (UX) is the direct interaction between the user and the product or service, CX emphasizes every aspect of the business, encompassing company, brand, sales process, delivery, pricing, and so on. It’s about a customer’s interactions, or touch points, with the whole business.
Thus, an application, for example, must be useful and usable, simple and attractive (aesthetically pleasing), easy to access and quick to navigate, and with credible content. It is where UX and CX meet.
Investing in CX
CX stands out as essential to satisfy customers and build brand loyalty. Devising effective strategies to optimize customer interactions and drive desired business outcomes increases growth and profitability.
Before the pandemic hit, Gartner surveyed customer experience leaders, out of whom 74 percent expected a budget increase in 2020 as businesses began to see its impact and value to an organization. And CX is again considered one of the top priorities in 2021.
Also read: Retooling Supply Chains After COVID-19
Anticipating the new normal
Customer behavior is not going back to its pre-pandemic level. It has changed dramatically. People have created new patterns and lifestyles — human interactions, shopping and buying, sports and entertainment, education, and even religious events. So much has been done online during the pandemic, and will continue to be so in the future. More than ever, human activities and experiences are mediated by mobile applications.
As business returns to normal, many of these new online and mobile touch points will remain, these new ways of doing business, and doing it all well will require focus and prioritizing.
In the new, post-pandemic "normal," CX and UX will be the competitive battlefield where businesses will need to spend resources to maximize users' mobile experiences — making them simple, realistic, and easy to use. It will be worthwhile to rethink customer experience.
Customer mobile experience
In times of crisis, we have developed a resilience and ability to adapt to changes. It’s not for the sheer convenience and easy access to goods and services, but out of necessity. Having an exceptional customer experience at these new touch points increases the chances of clients going back and paying for more. CX takes the center stage, defining the success of a brand or business.
A mobile application has become the face through which a company interacts with its customers. It allows businesses to understand their customers better. With predictive analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML), customer mobile experience is maximized.
Providing a better customer experience requires a deeper understanding of what the customers need and value. It calls for analyzing their behavior, abilities, motivations, and limitations. The goal is to improve the customer’s interaction with the business and build people’s perception of a product or brand through a mobile application.
Prioritizing customer experience
As the cyber world and the physical world seamlessly integrate, harnessing the power of data and digital technologies to provide better customer experiences will be the name of the game. Businesses harvest customer data and content (preferably within the rules of compliance laws). Advanced technologies, such as the cloud, AI, ML, 5G, and edge computing, will only continue to enhance CX. Easy access to information and quick data processing enable faster decision-making.
Businesses have always needed to connect effectively with their customers. With CX as a top priority, the chances of capturing a market more effectively and generating revenue increase. Allowing collaboration between customers and developers can bring an app farther and make customer experience better. The focus needs to be on the impact an app makes on the end user. Combining technology, expertise, and customer experience increases the ability of a business to address that.
Making customer experience a top investment priority offers promising returns in customer acquisition and retention – and in the process, securing a post-pandemic future.
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