Panicked customers, ‘indifferent experiences’: CX Network charts COVID-19 response challenges

Data and analytics remains a top priority but it needs to be cleaner, and the cultural challenges are ongoing

CX professionals should focus on scrubbing their data to work with technologies like artificial intelligence and be mindful of how the size of their customer base is changing as they adapt to the realities of the pandemic, according to a report released by CX network.

Released Wednesday, The Global State of Customer Experience 2020 includes responses from more than 200 CX professionals, including interviews and quotes from executives at Microsoft, the Australian Red Cross and many others.

While some of the key priorities of CX pros have not changed much compared with previous editions of the report, its authors noted that the shift to digital customer experiences has caught many organizations off guard and they have struggled to adapt.

“Lack of agility to the new landscape created by the crisis has cornered some brands into providing frustrating, indifferent experiences to panicked customers, with some customers suffering eye watering load times for webpages only to be cut off by the provider without explanation,” the report says.

While AI and other technologies may be able to assist with troubleshooting, personalization strategies and more, CX professionals will likely need to do some prep work first, the report added.

“Data scrubbing is crucial to the success and reliability of sophisticated analytics systems like artificial intelligence (AI). The rule is: if the data going into AI systems is of a bad quality, the output of the systems will be of the same quality.”

Those working in CX will also likely need to boost their analytical, storytelling and sales skills to explain what brands need to do and get the support to execute, the report said. This will be part of a difficult balancing act, where one director of customer experience quoted in the report said there may have to be a tolerance for higher churn rates in order for organizations to protect the profit margins they need to survive.

360 Magazine Insight:

What’s most valuable in the CX Network report are not the top-line stats but the direct and often candid feedback from practitioners, some of whom give very specific examples of how they have used strategies like personalization to connect better with customers amid the crisis.

Not surprisingly, the top challenge cited was a lack of a customer-centric culture. This has probably heightened the difficulties that have affected CX since the novel Coronavirus outbreak began. An organization that doesn’t prioritize customers will probably be slower to address siloed data and outdated customer profiles, for example.

One of the best parts of the 25-page report is an in-depth profile with the head of Amazon’s Voice of the Customer, program, Sean Cramer, who emphasized the importance of “data tagging” messages within feedback loops so that any communication back is accurate.

“The last thing you want to do is notify a customer that you have made changes with something but you, in fact, have not yet made any changes,” Cramer is quoted as saying.

There’s also the matter of making sure others in the business are hearing what customers say. According to the survey, only one per cent said customer feedback always reaches the relevant departments within the organization.

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