As businesses head into and plan for 2021, Customer Experience could well play a central role in recovery from COVID-19.
Business as usual is a term that was last coined confidently at the start of 2020. Regardless of industry or geography, there’s a good chance your business plans for 2020 needed a major adjustment since then. Heading into 2021, there’s still much uncertainty. Your customers’ needs probably look a lot different today than they did in 2020. Also, work from home will be around for some time going forward and is even predicted to stay, albeit in a more hybrid form with office work.
So how are we planning for 2021? In various research SPARC has executed amongst consumers and professionals, several themes emerge. They include the acceleration of digital transformation initiatives and making Customer Experience a top priority. More than ever companies realize they need to be agile, customer-centric, and collaborative to face the challenges that form the ‘business as usual’ for the foreseeable future.
Surviving or Thriving?
From research we know about 25% of the companies have laid off, furloughed, or reduced employee hours or pay since COVID-19. On the flipside, we’ve seen about on in 5 companies recording major financial growth and additional hires as a result.
We see a ‘great divide’, with industries such as hospitality, event management and travel being completely ravaged by the pandemic. Some have however discovered new opportunities to thrive and flourish in these new circumstances. Delivery services, online gaming and virtual conferencing platforms, for instance, have seen a huge growth in demand.
Surely, beyond sheer good fortune, there are certain clearly distinguishable factors that are helping companies to face these new and daunting challenges with resilience and success.
Why customer experience is a top priority
Customer Experience has been a key business differentiator for years, but 2020 has underscored the need for companies to listen and take action in service of their customers, whose needs are changing as rapidly as the circumstances around us.
From sending more customer surveys to increasing the focus on customer retention, organizations are making CX a higher priority today. Customers have been more open to answer our online, mobile first, CX Surveys with response rates increasing by as much as 55%.
According to research, 87% of people say customer feedback has become more important today than before COVID-19. Companies are also listening to customers in new places, with 60% of survey respondents reporting they’ve added new touchpoints.
Many organizations today are scrambling to keep pace with customers’ expectations, so perhaps it’s unsurprising that customer-centricity is correlated with success since COVID-19. Studies found 86% of CX professionals whose organizations have seen financial growth during the pandemic say their executives consider CX data “extremely” or “very valuable”.
As we’ve started 2021 with new plans and a bag full of learnings from 2020, SPARC will continue to help organizations pivot and adapt to new circumstances. Based on solid research, customer feedback and strong data based insights, we aim to guide them through these difficult times. It always helps to keep a close eye on customer feedback and ensure business decisions are grounded in data.