The scale, scope and speed of the global pandemic has caused voracious change.
Businesses, large and small, have been affected. Most organizations went through unprecedented transformation with herculean efforts at an accelerated pace. Entire segments such as restaurants and cafes simply had to close or move to deliveries only. As we slowly settle into the fourth quarter of the transition, we need to begin thinking about what the first quarter of a post-pandemic world will look like.
The initial response was not about managing customer experience during a transition. Business had to focus on continuity with minimal disruption. This meant serving customers was front and centre. Can we still sell, serve and support? The customer’s experience across the value stream, channels and touchpoints was hardly part of the equation during the transition.
Meanwhile, customers naturally lowered their expectations and increased their tolerance of a different normal filled with questions and ambiguity. With some changes in processes, most businesses were able to continue serving customer.
Now that we have weathered the storm to a great extent in serving our customers, we need to prepare for the post-pandemic period and begin to think about managing the customer experience in a different future. Some key questions for CEM excellence are emerging among businesses at both strategic and operational levels.
Some strategic questions:
- How do we build constructive resilience and capacity to create mastery in Aikido?
- How can the organization achieve a coherence and alignment between authority, power and volition, vertically and horizontally?
- How can we scale at greater speed and less effort during ongoing change and transformation?
- What is our social responsibility towards employees and communities we are in?
- How can we integrate implications of global transformation into CEM strategies and operating model?
Some operational questions:
- What is the customer’s journey in the new normal?
- Will the customer experience the brand promise (old/new) across channels, locations, touchpoints?
- How do we decide on new technology, e.g. AI, BOTs, NLTs?
- Is there an impact analysis of new technology on the CX index across channels, locations, touchpoints?
- What skills and KPIs do we need to develop for the new future?
- What are the new/additional factors and specific attributes related to customer expectations?
- How has the weighting/importance of various factors changed?
The road for excellence in CEM for the post-pandemic period needs to begin with not just asking a different set of questions but also evaluating and changing the underlying assumptions that drive our questions. The time is right to begin the exercise as we prepare for Q1 of the new post-pandemic world.
This article was written by Vafa Akhavan, instructor for Schulich ExecEd’s Achieving Excellence in Customer Experience (CX) Management program (starting June 10 in the Virtual Classroom).