Throughout this pandemic, businesses have been wondering how to get customer feedback accurately. They are still trying to get a handle on the ‘new normal’ and the shifting needs of their customers.

Add to this challenge the clear and present need for companies to keep their customers and employees safe and healthy while providing experiences that are in tune with a rapidly evolving landscape. Unfortunately, the pre-pandemic customer experience tools and tactics – long surveys, interviews, complex journey mapping – are either too slow or simply unfeasible to administer given the current climate.

Businesses in the COVID-19 world must revolutionise their industry by:

  • Enabling new tools and new operations to monitor, analyse, and improve customer experiences as they happen in real-time
  • Providing customers with new, highly visible levels of comfort
  • Giving customers new, unprecedented control over their experiences
  • Doing all these steps in a fast, innovative, and always-changing way

Acting on real-time customer feedback

Now more than ever, businesses need to embrace the concept of improving customers experiences as they happen. Surveys are helpful but lag after the experience. Businesses often conduct them far after the opportunity to make the current experience stellar has passed. The only way to improve it in real-time is to act immediately.

Collecting real-time feedback in a low friction manner while accounting for the challenges posed by the pandemic is essential. Businesses need to understand the reluctance on part of respondents to touch things or spend more than a few seconds giving their opinion. Only this understanding will help in building an emotional connection with customers. 

However, collecting real-time feedback is just the start. The next evolution in customer experience is to act on real-time feedback immediately and improve the experience by addressing any concerns as they happen.

Providing customers with comfort and safety

An illustration of two people who are socially distancing.

Covid-19 has changed customers’ expectations and their behaviours. Instead of just showing up and experiencing what businesses offer, they’re consciously weighing in the health and economic cost of making a particular purchase. Going above and beyond your competition is crucial now. 

For example, consider a typical grocery store experience today. Just posting a sign that says ‘Please socially distance” or having employees meter the queue into a store can simply feel like ‘COVID- theatre’ to your customers. What businesses need to do is deploy advanced systems that automatically monitor and display the store traffic, gather customer feedback in a completely touchless manner, and alert employees to act on this information in real-time. This will demonstrate care and provide a level of comfort that customers are seeking.

Giving people more control

Giving customers new levels of control is a hard thing to do – but very necessary. Covid-19 has introduced new anxieties, primarily driven by a lack of control, and companies can aid in loosening this in several ways.

Control can certainly be given in direct ways, like a button that allows the customer to call for a table to be cleaned, or the check to be delivered. It can be provided indirectly as well through increased communication. You can also give your customers the power to apply their own personal comfort level and see if an establishment meets their needs.

Adopting agility in a fluctuating world

Just as software embraced agile development – a never-ending cycle of design, test, learn, adjust, and iterate – businesses in the new normal must embrace agile customer experience. The customer-obsessed companies that will survive and thrive in the pandemic world will be improving customers’ experiences individually, globally, and at blazing speeds. 

If the last few months have taught us one thing, it’s that we are going through times of tremendous uncertainty. Things can change at a very rapid clip. Therefore, to know how to get customer feedback in the COVID-19 world is to adapt to changes. Businesses will come out stronger if they re-engineer processes and incorporate the input from the rapidly changing environment into their critical operations.

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