COVID-19 has changed the customer experience — perhaps forever. That’s one takeaway from Customer Experience in a Post-COVID-19 World, a study from Precisely, conducted with Corinium.
For starters, 86% of CX leaders in this study have updated their strategies because of COVID-19. With good reason: 79% report that the pandemic has increased digital interactions with their brands, and 50% say customers now demand seamless, integrated digital experiences.
Moreover, only 31% believe customers will return to the old way of doing things after the pandemic.
In line with this, businesses are eyeing a range of CX-related investments for next year. Email is way down the list, but personalization is even further toward the bottom:
Invest in data integration, integrity or enrichment technologies —60%
Integrated multichannel CX platforms — 46%
Chatbots with "live takeover" functionality — 42%
Chatbots that use Natural Language Processing — 37%
Digital self-service platforms — 37%
Interactive voice-response phone systems — 33%
Interactive and personalized video — 32%
Email communications — 30%
CRM systems — 28%
Customer analytics platforms — 24%
Marketing or communications personalization — 13%
Social listening or media monitoring tools — 13%
Behind all this is the fact that 83% of the respondents have been hit with serious disruptions, with 51% describing them as major.
The biggest issues are with marketing and sales and product usage journeys — 71% report them.
In addition, 70% cite issues with reordering or renewal, 66% with issue resolution and 62% with needs identification.
Among the customer journeys, the one facing the most major upheavals is onboarding — 50% report it. Second is marketing and sales (over 40%) and third product/service usage ((30%).
The biggest challenges overall are:
- Prioritizing key investments
- Securing company-wide support for key investments
- Securing budget for key investments
- Reimagining existing customer journeys
- Ensuring business processes are changed and new CX tools are adopted
- Measuring the business impact of CX initiatives
- Securing executive buy-in for the CX strategy
Two caveats about this survey: First, it is a UK study. Second, the sample size is only 101 CX leaders. That said, the challenges are similar to those reported in the U.S.,and globally, and could be a harbinger.
How are CX leaders assessing customer needs? Here are the ways:
Customer feedback surveys — 53%
Digital customer analytics — 49%
Social listening or media monitoring tools — 48%
Focus groups — 48%
Dashboards built into our systems — 39%
Employee feedback — 28%
Is your firm planning on putting money into CX? Greg Van den Heuvel, executive vice president and GM of Precisely, notes that “these data-driven investments are about engaging people in a personal and interactive way — across different channels of engagement — to ensure they get to the answers they need quickly.