How COVID-19 Changed Customer Service
This article was originally written by Michele McGovern, posted on customerexperienceinsight.com
COVID-19 Changed Customer Service
What you should do now
B2B customers’ buying habits and interaction expectations changed quickly in the face of COVID-19. Here’s what they expect now – and how customer experience professionals will want to respond.
Bottom line: B2B customers want to feel like they’re having a B2C experience.
“Buyers no longer are willing to accept less from their professional experience as B2B purchasers than they are accustomed to getting from their personal experience as consumers,” say researchers at McKinsey, which recently released a study on customer experience shifts in the wake of the coronavirus.
Where’s the difference now? McKinsey noted these three major changes:
- Spend. Not every B2B has cut spending, according to researchers. About half will cut spending up to 25% in the short-term. But more than a quarter will increase spending by 25%.
- Technology. B2B companies think digital interactions – from sales to service to support – will be two times more important than they’ve been in the past.
- Location. More customers will not be in their offices. As many as 90% of B2B sales have become virtual through online meetings, phone calls or IM. The best part: Many customers and their sales and service professionals think the virtual experience is just as good as – if not better than – the in-person experience!
Help, regardless of ability to spend
Customers won’t spend as much – if at all – in the foreseeable future. But they’ll still want help and attention. Answer their questions and fix their problems as always.
“Transparency and compassion from brands is key in our current environment and moving forward,” says Ryan Maund, Chief Product & Innovation Officer at Sitel Group.
To add value to the experience, which will be appreciated, remembered and rewarded when business gets back to the new norm, aim to:
- Help customers maximize the products or services they have. Pass along tips – via your social media channels, email, snail mail or on YouTube videos you promote in social – on how customers can get more or different uses from their current products and services.
- Commiserate. Don’t complain about the hard times and how it’s affecting you. Instead, help customers process their emotions around the situation and move them toward a realistic outlook. Talk about things you’ve seen work for other customers in similar situations and how they might try those, too.
- Thank customers for their loyalty and pledge to help them through tough times. Give them information that’s important to them financially, professionally and personally. Send links to great content for managing those issues. Maybe you can set them up with free online conferences. Try to connect customers who can create partnerships for space or resource-sharing that will help them survive through the crisis…
….continuing reading here.
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