The Online Customer Experience Matters More than Ever

With millions of consumers forced to stay at home because of the Covid19, coronavirus pandemic, more commercial activity than ever is shifting online. This means brands must pay more attention to the quality of their digital experience in order to succeed.

In a McKinsey & Company report, the authors write that the pandemic has transformed the way that consumers engage with brands, and those changes won’t go away once the virus is no longer a threat:

Customers’ normal patterns of life have come to a halt. Simple activities like a trip to the grocery store or dining out with friends are now difficult, risky, or even prohibited. Overnight, demand patterns have shifted. Overall online penetration in China increased by 15–20 percent. In Italy, e-commerce sales for consumer products rose by 81 percent in a single week, creating significant supply-chain bottlenecks. Customers need digital, at-home, and low-touch options. Digital-led experiences will continue to grow in popularity once the coronavirus is quelled, and companies that act quickly and innovate in their delivery model to help consumers navigate the pandemic safely and effectively will establish a strong advantage.

By using big data analysis of transactions and consumer preferences to generate insights, companies can fine-tune and personalize the online customer experience in ways that enhance consumer loyalty. This requires mapping out the entire customer journey, followed by addressing any pain points and glitches that cause stress and friction for consumers.

Businesses must also consider how to make the customer experience meaningful and positive in this time of crisis. Rick Parrish of Forrester writes that companies have to carefully consider the tone of all their interactions with customers to avoid going off-key in an emotionally taxing environment:

Two moments dominate people’s memory of an experience: the most emotionally intense moment (the peak, whether positive or negative) and the end. If your CX lacks a significant natural peak, look for opportunities to create one that suits this time of crisis. If the experience already has a natural peak, hone it for maximum effect if it’s appropriate — adjust it if not. In either case, be sure to end on an emotionally positive note that, again, is not tone-deaf in the context of a pandemic.

Improving the online customer experience doesn’t just provide a one-time increase in sales. It can make all the difference in retention and brand loyalty. The smartest brands will consider this as they plan for the post-pandemic reality.

Our core values focus on relationship-building and trust. Those guiding principles have not and will not change during this time. So many companies are striving to preserve consumer trust, and we are supporting them in that mission.

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