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How can the current health crisis act as a catalyst to introduce a more human set of experiences? ( part 2)

Blog
11th June 2020


At Gobeyond Partners, we have been discussing the distinct phasing of operational responses that business should make in response to the crisis we’re currently experiencing. We call this The Crisis Curve.

As businesses take back control after and start operating in novel ways, there have been many opportunities to deliver a more human experience.

COVID-19 has undoubtedly accelerated digital transformation programmes and the implementation of elements such as AI and intelligent automation in response to changing customer needs. However, these systems have their limitations, especially during an epidemic, and can magnify what the customer is truly missing – a human experience which is built on true empathy.

By truly understanding our customers’ needs we can build a new way of doing business which truly supports all people.

 

Differentiated communication builds strong connections with customers

Brands have completely reinvented their communication in inventive ways to provide new forms of support for their customers, whether by mobilising consumer communities or providing mini challenges across social media platforms.

By maintaining this form of customer commitment, they are preparing for the customer experience of tomorrow – a closer relationship where listening, empathy and kindness will reign. Crisis communication has advanced a form of relationship that is less commercial and more focused on attentiveness and sharing.

 

Accelerated redevelopment of our organisational models

With the rapid shift to working from home, new managerial practices have been forced into existence. Continuous training, coaching and other forms of on-site support have been digitised in record time, with increased frequency to overcome the social distance involved.

New forms of community have emerged, all of which are helping to redefine a social model in which employee wellbeing is as important, if not more important, than the level of performance and quality of delivery.

The performance of collaborative tools and the capabilities of technological infrastructure – the implementation of which was until recently considered a long-term endeavour – has rapidly developed to support this transformation.

 

Refocusing on people

Moving forward, businesses must be more conscious of customers’ situations, and form stronger relationships by listening and empathising with them to build trust long-term.

The time when each interaction had to have a measurable ROI, in terms of sales or incremental satisfaction, is hopefully behind us. What if the intensity of relationships became a key marker of the customer experience, with ROI or satisfaction taking second place?

We should recall the Schumpeterian teachings on the ‘gale of creative destruction’ as we consider how current disruption is reinventing the way businesses operate. The rapid change we are experiencing raises questions on how we should better deploy and balance the human and technological solutions we have, to define the future service we deliver.

As we continue to develop our responses to this crisis, there are two key factors to consider:

  1. The power and limitations of AI

Out of a desire for comfort, a love of innovation and the related economic savings, we have accepted that some of our customer relationships and decision-making capacity will be delegated to algorithms and automated agents. However, they have not filled the connectivity void we are currently facing.

These channels are not one-stop solutions for complex challenges but should be seen as complementary tools.  Thus a colleague who can trigger, at their pace and when needed, the use of AI to automate certain repetitive tasks (in the same way as they would use a knowledge base to provide reassurance on a process) seems to us to be a more desirable future. Especially as it can reduce some of the re-work and customer misunderstanding commonly seen from poorly implemented AI. A hybrid model is within our grasp and can deliver the best of both worlds.

 

  1. The opportunity to establish truly multichannel customer journeys

Barriers and organisational silos that were perceived as immutable objects have dissolved, enabling brands to offer better responses to their customers’ challenges. The rapid redeployment of certain experimental components or complete customer itineraries (such as the launch of mobile applications dedicated to crisis management, the simplification of user itineraries, and growth of video-assistance) is a positive signal for the entire sector. When everyone in your business comes together around a common goal – to deliver a better experience for customers – rather than focusing solely on performance of their individual functions, the idea of omnichannel really starts to become a reality.

Decision-makers have the tools they need to decide how we should evolve for tomorrow. Whether we are consumers, brands, remote customer relationship operators or customer experience consultants, we should all strive to refocus on people and providing a more human experience.

The spirit of trust, listening and kindness that has prevailed over recent weeks and months will continue to drive us in our future relationships. Theodore Monod suggested “utopia is not the unattainable, but the unrealized”. I believe we are now in the process of realising the utopian vision for tomorrow’s customer experience.

 

Read the first instalment here.

 

Matthieu Caron – Head of Customer Insights & Analytics – Gobeyond Partners France

 

 

Read the 1st installement here

 

Matthieu Caron – Head of Customer Insights & Analytics – Gobeyond Partners France


Article by: Leslie Choffel

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