COVID-19 has upended both consumer behavior and the way that employees work. To adapt and win in the future, businesses need to pay close attention to changes in customer expectations. And they must give their employees the tools they need to succeed, no matter what working arrangements they find themselves in. In this article, we’ll break down two of the ways that the world has changed. And we will talk about the tools businesses can use to succeed in this new environment.
How customer expectations and working arrangements have changed
In the past few months, customers who traditionally made purchases physically are now more comfortable making purchases online. According to McKinsey, businesses across different industries have seen a 10% increase in their online customer base. Businesses need to adapt by giving team members the tools they need to offer seamless digital experiences.
Concurrently, businesses have learned the importance of flexibility, as many teams have been forced into partially or fully remote working arrangements. While some businesses may be planning to bring their workforce back to their offices, it’s important to recognize that unforeseen events may show that businesses need to be flexible in the future.
Here are five tools that can help your business better connect with your customers and increase flexibility.
To offer an experience that feels seamless, businesses should expand beyond traditional communication channels like email and phone and offer channels that enable immediate responses such as live chat. These tools can help businesses get in touch right away whenever customers need help from a representative, eliminating the need to wait on hold.
Businesses across different verticals started doing video calls with customers for the first time during the pandemic. This mode of communication has several advantages over traditional phone calls. Video calls allow customers to see employee’s facial expressions, lowering the possibility of potential miscommunication and helping to improve the quality of the overall experience.
Answer voicemail automatically
Of course, there’s another area where phone calls fall short: wait times. Research shows that the average customer spends 43 days of their life waiting on hold. This kind of negative customer experience is unnecessary with tools available to businesses today. Instead of relying on customers to wait on the line, businesses can invest in tools that send automatic text messages to customers when a call is missed. That way, businesses can get the conversation started even when no team member is available.
Another key element of effective communication is collaboration between different departments. A customer might contact your business to schedule an appointment or to get in contact with your billing department over a previous payment. Regardless of the reason why they are contacting you, team members should have access to the tools that allow them to turn these queries to relevant departments quickly and easily.
Whether your employees are at home, in the office, or in the field, they should be able to get in contact with your customers easily through their mobile devices. Consider software solutions that provide mobile notifications for customer queries and allow employees to respond immediately.
When we emerge from this crisis, both the way employees work and the expectations of customers will be significantly different than they were before the pandemic. By embracing digital transformation, businesses can surpass changed customer expectations and deliver fantastic experiences.