How COVID-19 will change the customer experience

We’re all customers, and we’ve all experienced good and bad customer service at some point. During the pandemic, with many of us working remotely we’ve all become increasingly dependent on the services and goods we can access from home, and as such the quality of the customer service we access has been even more noticeable. Yet with the growth of digital during Coronavirus and social distancing measures in place for some time, is customer service changed forever?

We wanted to explore this further during the sixth Lunch and Learn webinar on ‘How COVID-19 is disrupting marketing and sales’ with its focus on good customer service as a differentiator. How can organisations offer good customer service at a time when resources are at a premium?

Through this webinar series, we’re bringing together groups of learners, alumni and other JGA stakeholders to learn together about how the world of business is changing during the Coronavirus pandemic.

We had 2 excellent speakers at this event: Hannah Kowszun, Head of Fundraising at charity and think tank New Philanthropy Capital and Stephen Solademi, MD of SOS Creativity.

Our key learnings from the webinar were:

  • Innovation is necessary now, not a nice to have. Hannah talked about how we are starting to see this more in customer service, and how this has unleashed the innate creativity of people who work in marketing and sales. For example, pitching for projects on Zoom may change the pitch process fundamentally. Why would you fly half way around the world for a 30 minute meeting? What company will sign off this expense, even once the pandemic is a distant memory?
  • People can build strong relationships online. Stephen pointed out that it’s no longer necessary to meet people face to face to have good, productive working relationships. There’s also a knock on impact on productivity- you could potentially fit more new business pitches into a day if you’re doing them via Zoom as opposed to having to get the tube between meetings.
  • Good customer service now includes automation. Hannah pointed out that automating certain processes can help generate powerful insights. From segmenting your email list to testing new email subject lines to noting customers’ particular topics of interest in your CRM, capturing the right data and trying new types of content will help you understand and build stronger relationships with customers, tapping into the power of digital and data.
  • Use social media to build a community around your brand. As with many other communications, customer service is no longer a linear thing. Digital has driven this change. Customers for some organisations now want to be part of communities of shared values (think of clothing brands, and also charities). Stephen pointed out that you don’t need to be on every social media platform, but you need to be on every social channel that your customers are on, and resources need to be prioritised accordingly.