Today, consumer experience is one of the most crucial differentiators. From attracting new customers to engaging and keeping them over time, more and more businesses are now focusing on experienced-led customer journeys and interactions. As a result, adopting a customer-centric approach is almost mandatory for building a successful business.
However, let’s not forget that today’s consumers are spoiled for options and that every business is competing for the constantly dwindling human attention span. The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated this challenge even further by bringing about an unprecedented change in consumer behavior and expectations.
Uncertainty about the future has transformed how consumers interact with brands, as well as consumer expectations overall. Consumer expectations have increased during the pandemic, indicating the need for brands to make consumer interactions more relatable and personal. But this may be an uphill task for customer support teams considering they have to deal with tons of customer requests during the pandemic and the post-pandemic period. This article will discuss how businesses can meet and exceed customer expectations in the post-pandemic world.
What Consumers Expect in the Post-Pandemic World
1. Time and Efficiency
Talkdesk reports that most customers have higher customer support expectations today than before the COVID-19 crisis; they expect accessible and fast interactions with businesses.
So, the timeliness of customer service can make a substantial difference between a more delightful and mediocre customer experience. Prompt and straightforward responses are what consumers want today.
It’s evident that if you can deliver faster customer support, you have a better chance of meeting and exceeding your customers’ expectations. However, your customer support team can’t always resolve all customer requests quickly. In such instances, it’s critical to communicate with your customers and set clear expectations regarding when they should expect to hear back from your agents.
Also, you must examine your existing customer support processes from a customer’s point of view. For example, what is the typical wait time? How many times do customers have to follow up with your team?
If your customers have to repeat their problem several times, perhaps it’s because of the lack of context. This occurs when you pass customer queries from one team member to another or across different teams. Here, invest in a customer service solution that makes it easier for team members to access customer data, including internal discussions and past interactions around the issue, and so on.
2. Caring and Empathy
For brands with customer support teams, there’s a silver lining post-Covid. You’ve had the chance to build deeper and more meaningful relationships with your customers and the staff that cares for them. Businesses that carry these crucial lessons in the post-pandemic world will benefit significantly.
During the pandemic, customers have become accustomed to a new level of meaningful care and empathy—and they expect it post-pandemic. Thus, understanding and compassion have become the new benchmarks.
Many customer support teams have experienced the same isolation, the same lockdowns, the same emotional distress—and even the same fear of losing their jobs. So, they don’t have to adapt to their customers’ new normal because they’re already living it. So caring and empathy have been easy to come by. They’re front and center.
Once customers have become accustomed to this level of care and empathy, most likely, there’s no going back. So, in the post-COVID world, surface-level conversations will no longer cut it because everyone across the globe has been affected by the pandemic in one way or another.
Often, when you meet your customers’ emotional needs, the cost may become a secondary issue. That’s because the cost is the last thing customers will think about once they receive an exceptional customer experience and their expectations are met. Chad Horenfeldt also notes, “the key to developing long-term customer relationships is building trust with your customers and delivering value.”
3. Proactive Customer Service
The COVID-19 pandemic has also proved there’s no guarantee the next day will be the same as today. So, to thrive in the post-pandemic world, you must redo your customer service mission to meet the unprecedented expectations and pain points in the new world. To experience better results in terms of brand credibility and customer loyalty, make these fixtures part of your strategy:
- Make paying through multiple payment options and pricing models easier. To offer proactive support, provide a range of price points on your product and provide more ways for customers to pay. You may realize this will benefit your bottom line, and it’s worth extending beyond the COVID crisis.
- Resolve customer queries with the first contact. Consumers are busy, and they appreciate a commitment to resolving their problems as fast as possible. So, calling back a second or third time to receive help is a significant burden for consumers who are swamped with additional responsibilities and concerns. Revamp your efforts to solve all customer queries in the initial interaction by training your agents and improving your knowledge base technologies.
- Use more channels to offer support and extend your working hours. For example, your customer support agents should always be available to handle customer queries. You should also address customer concerns before customers realize they have a problem. So, offer 24/7 customer support by leveraging chatbots, live chat, and other instant messaging options.
- Empower your customers to solve common problems on their own. Sometimes consumers want to solve their issues on their own, and you should offer them that choice. For example, provide personalized answers to your customers’ most frequently asked questions, but always clarify that a customer support rep is available to help if they’re needed.
4. Optimized Digital Experiences
With everything shutting overnight during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a drastic shift towards doing almost everything online. Today, customers exercise, socialize, work, shop, and learn online, which has heightened their expectations of digital experiences.
Post-pandemic, consumers will expect well-optimized, easy-to-use, and secure websites. In fact, 88% of consumers say they’re less likely to return to a site after a poor user experience. Consumers have many choices, so you need to look for ways to improve your website’s user experience to avoid losing them to your competitors.
Fortunately, your website doesn’t need to be complex and over the top to impress potential customers—it needs to load quickly, look attractive, and work well to offer your web visitors an exceptional experience. Also, your site must be mobile-friendly.
Security is another concern consumers have, and your site is the best way to build trust with your prospects. To assure your website visitors that your site is secure, you need a trusted payment method, SSL certificate, and security certifications. Using a web builder that provides built-in security features and professional templates is a great place to start. Using a web builder that provides built-in security features and professional templates is a great place to start. A site owner can go with SSL certificates like GeoTrust SSL certificate, Thawte SSL etc. All these SSL certs are available at lowest price from authenticated resellers.
5. Customized Marketing
Consumers are bombarded with advertisements everywhere. Now that more consumers are spending a lot of their time online, it’s daunting more than ever to stand out from the crowded digital space. Consumers are used to filtering out generic Facebook ads, content marketing, and sales email messages. In fact, 72% of customers will only engage with content personalized to their interests.
So in the post-pandemic world, when consumers will be more careful about how they spend their hard-earned money, they’ll expect more personalized connections. As a result, businesses that provide consumers with specific and customized marketing content will stand out and ultimately make more sales.
However, consumers’ expectations for personalized marketing are beyond using a customer’s name in an email. They want to know more services and products relevant to their needs based on their previous purchases and interests. And customers are ready to share more information with you to receive tailored marketing messages.
Exceeding Customers’ Expectations
Consumer expectations and needs are always on the rise, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the bar has only risen. Delivering better customer support experiences is crucial in winning customer trust and loyalty. Thus, it’s not enough to have an excellent product or offer fantastic discounts. How you interact and fix your customers’ issues will determine whether they continue doing business with your brand or jump ship. That’s because the differentiator in this new normal won’t be based on price or product anymore; instead, it’ll be based on customer experiences. Suppose you embrace this new normal and provide exceptional online experiences. In that case, you’ll not only meet and exceed your customers’ expectations, but also you’ll stand out from the competition and exceed your bottom line.
Zight (formerly CloudApp) can help you respond more promptly than ever with visual and high-quality content that offers detailed answers to your customers. It can also help cut down the back-and-forth explanations over email, leaving no room for miscommunication and confusion. With Zight (formerly CloudApp), you can create easy-to-digest content that offers your customers the clarity and help they need from your customer support team. Visit Zight (formerly CloudApp)’s customer support page now to learn how to close customer support tickets three times faster!