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Coronavirus Response Can Improve Your Customer Relationships

Author
Mobiquity Inc.
Publication Date
17 March 2020

Coronavirus Response Can Improve Your Customer Relationships

Technology has increased our ability to do so many things – and all faster than ever. With COVID-19 now present in more than 140 countries, everything from corporate trade shows to sporting events and family vacations are being affected. Organizations and individuals are coming up with strategies to keep people safe and healthy, while not losing sight of their goals. And technology is taking a front row seat to many of the plans being created in response to the evolving news around the world.

Technology becomes imperative amidst call for social distancing

In the US, Amazon is looking to hire 100,000 people to keep up with delivery demand. #HIMSS20 cancelled its trade show, which reported an expected 45,000 attendees from 90 countries. (This is one in a very long list of cancelled corporate events.) Starbucks has temporarily paused the use of reusable cups

In Europe specifically, the cancellation of Mobile World Congress came in early February and the fate of Money 2020 and the Cannes Film Festival are both yet to be determined. With Italy, Spain, France, and The Netherlands now enforcing strict lockdowns, it’s likely these events will be forced to cancel or reschedule. 

And then there are other parts of the world, such as Australia where more events are going virtual, such as Salesforce’s World Tour Sydney and the second annual Trailblazing Women Summit, originally scheduled to kick off in California.

Finding the silver lining 

"We don’t grow when things are easy; we grow when we face challenges.” -Anonymous

In this unprecedented time for millions of people, we’re seeing a response unlike any other to the coronavirus. Companies are using this opportunity to put programs and initiatives in place to lessen the burden for their employees and customers. We’re seeing technology taking on a new role as it becomes pivotal in helping organizations remain efficient; and that’s not a bad thing.

For example, many companies scheduled to attend HIMSS are hosting virtual webinars to share the presentations they planned to present live in Orlando. The AWS Amsterdam Summit will move to a virtual event and live stream its sessions to the public. Starbucks is honoring the discount offered to reusable cup users, despite the temporary suspension, while encouraging people to use their app for mobile orders. Food delivery carriers Deliveroo and Glovo are offering contactless deliveries, following in the footsteps that other companies like Instacart and Postmates have mandated.

All of this shows that conversations and connection can continue in business when the right tools and support are in place. (Just look at how teachers and parents are embracing digital tools to support children’s learning outside the classroom and in the safety of their homes while we all practice social distancing.)

What’s the opportunity for your business? 

All of this has us thinking, what are the potential benefits that come from needing to temporarily change the way you do business? With a shift away from in-person meetings and group functions, where is the opportunity to continue – or even improve – certain aspects of your business, such as customer satisfaction and loyalty, brand awareness, and even revenue  generation? With so much technology at our fingertips, here are a few ways that teams make the most of it, for themselves and their customers, during this time of change:

  • Optimize your mobile app: Does your business have a mobile app? Are you able to share live, real-time updates with your customers? Do you have a place that customers or employees can communicate with you quickly and easily in the app should the need arise? With the demand for company-based, employee-only mobile apps increasing, your organization can allow employees to clock in anywhere, streamline workflows, collaborate with coworkers, and develop their professional skills. Think about how valuable this could be in times of change. Similarly, B2C companies that enhance their mobile apps with real-time information about crises can increase customer trust and brand loyalty. For example, real-time updates about flight schedules or stock market data from your bank. Lastly, think about the opportunity to develop new, creative connections with your business and potentially new revenue channels. What can be purchased or accessed through the app now that you didn't offer before? What new loyalty program can you offer that drives even more engagement? All of these ideas present opportunities that you can leverage to enhance your customer and employee relationships.

  • Put your data in the cloud: While some businesses have spent decades in an on-premise environment, there are so many reasons to move to the cloud. For one thing, you eliminate the need for employees to be on-site to access apps and relevant company data. In addition, you can scale data usage up or down at any time depending on your needs. This is especially useful in a crisis situation, when you want to scale up, while still having the option to scale down once things return to normal (and to remain cost-efficient). For example, a company with a majority of its staff working from home or a phone carrier that wants to give customers the ability to ramp up usage during a time of need.

  • Add flexibility to your website: Similar to mobile apps, your website can be a valuable tool. Maybe you are a restaurant that has been temporarily closed and want to offer customer incentives when you are back up and running. Perhaps you want to add mobile ordering to your site for new curbside pick-up or delivery options while diners can no longer eat on premises. Or maybe you are an insurance provider that wants to offer customers additional packages during an outbreak. The point is, if you can’t easily communicate via your digital channels, you’re missing an opportunity to maintain relationships with your customers and employees. These are great capabilities to test and enhance before change is upon you.

  • Incorporate conversational AI into your digital strategy: Whether it’s an Alexa voice skill, chatbot, call center, or other conversational tool, ensuring that you have the appropriate messaging when customers or employees have questions is a good way to strengthen your company’s ability to respond when information is needed quickly. Additionally, this could present a new business opportunity. Could an Alexa skill offer customers a new way to make a purchase or upgrade their service? Could a chatbot deliver important updates quickly to information seekers? Consider the value that conversational AI can have on your customer experience and business as a good place to start. 

These are just a few examples of the many ways that technology can offer you relief in times when customer experience is critical. What opportunities exist in your business? How can innovation enhance your user experience? How do you keep employees and customers engaged and which of these tools could offer you even better engagement? Start thinking about how you can leverage digital tools to create meaning for your business, customers, and brand. It’s a good time to evaluate the ways that your company can optimize and innovate for better customer experiences. 

How are you using technology to offset the challenges posed by the novel coronavirus? Do you need help thinking through your strategy? Let’s talk.

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We believe that addressing customer challenges gives you opportunities to delight. Using our proprietary Friction Reports and  strong industry expertise, we dig deep into customer sentiment and create action plans that remove engagement roadblocks. The end result is seamless, relevant experiences that your customers will love.