The outbreak of COVID-19 is harming businesses across the world. While some industries, such as travel and restaurants are directly impacted, also quite a few small businesses in other industries fight for survival. The same applies to freelancers, performers and countless non-salaried workers.
There are obviously also industries, whose business is continuing despite the pandemic: people still need groceries, housing, telecommunications, banking services etc. However, the fast spread of COVID-19 has left many organizations frightened of a possible economic decline or recession. In response, some businesses are implementing budget cuts that will go into effect in the coming months.
When money is tight and the world is going through a pandemic, how can a business properly manage their customer experience management (CXM) resources wisely?
In this guide, we’ll explore everything you should know about allocating and managing your customer experience program when times are tough.
First, let’s break down exactly what we mean by “customer experience management resources.”
What are Customer Experience Management Resources?
Customer experience can be defined as the impression you leave on your customers based on any interactions they have with you. Customer experience covers every single aspect of the customer journey, from brand exposure to purchasing a product, to finding support when facing problems and to even writing reviews of those products.
Customer experience management resources essentially gather all of these essential touchpoints and provide tools, software, apps, etc. to assist in monitoring, managing, analyzing and improving customer experience. Many businesses have multiple tools and systems, some of which are designated for specific touchpoints.
Because businesses tend to have multiple resources, allocating them in a way that will be smart in a possible recession while ensuring that all CX touchpoints are taken care of can be tricky. Let’s look at some best practices.
1. Prioritize your CX initiatives and objectives
Prioritizing your CX initiatives through the use of customer data is extremely important. Focus on the improvements that make the biggest difference while keeping in mind the limited resources. Maybe now is not the right time to renew the whole product architecture. Perhaps that needs to happen only when the times are better, and the budget allows. Or, if everything else is irrelevant and your customers won’t be satisfied without the product architecture change, focus on that. Leave the rest to consider later.
The secret is not to panic and forget everything but to understand what makes the biggest difference and commit to improving that. The prioritization should not be done based on company internal politics but on facts: what drives your customer experience down most? What improvements are the most relevant ones to achieve your objectives, e.g. drive your customers to be more loyal, reduce your churn rate etc.?
Keeping the ultimate objective in mind, remember to share strategies and best practices across the organization. If business leaders from different parts of the organization come together and share their strategies for affordable customer experience improvements, the impact is overall bigger than if everybody works on their own.
Read more about how to prioritize your CX initiatives then check this article:
How to prioritize customer experience initiatives.
2. Use the right customer experience management tools
Using tools such as Lumoa to automate your CX management program can help you save and allocate resources more cleverly.
Lumoa can help you automatically generate, keep track of, and act on insights from all of your customers, as well as your employees and markets. It’s essentially an intelligent CX platform that is powered by AI to help businesses make better decisions based on customer experience. It’s also highly predictive and very simple to use. It helps you in prioritizing where to focus and saving human and monetary resources while doing so.
Take a look at the feedback gathering, analytics and any other customer experience management tools you’re using currently. Are you spending a lot of money each month for outdated programs or programs that you just aren’t using? Now might be the right time to switch to a better and more impactful CX management tool.
3. Focus on value
All businesses should be working to prove the overall business value of customer experience. That means proving that there is a return on investment (ROI) occurring consistently with customer experience initiatives.
The truth is that many businesses simply don’t invest a lot of money into customer experience, because it can be seen as an “optional” aspect of running a business. Typically only scraps of funding will be put into customer experience resources. However, customer experience is a broad concept. If your customer support team needs to be more available or your branding needs to effectively appeal to your target market, those aren’t “optional” things to invest in. They significantly impact your business.
The best way to know if you need to invest in customer experience resources, or if the resources you’re using are effective, is to audit your resources to see if money is actually coming in. If not, it may be time to cut those resources and look for something else.
Learn more about business value and ROI of customer experience here:
Business Value and ROI of Customer Experience: the-step-by-step-guide
4. Don’t rush into risky decisions
It’s important that businesses and organizations do not go into any rushed decisions that are not beneficial in the long-term. It’s incredibly important to keep working on the long-term goals for customer experience – recession or not.
This means that your management teams will really have to go back to tip #3 and see what is tangibly working and what is not when it comes to your CX resources. This is the best way to make a decision on how to allocate your CX resources. Don’t panic and simply drop them all or cancel certain resources because “more important” aspects of the business need protection. CX is important, so be smart and calm about what your next steps are.
5. Remember that customers are willing to pay more for excellent CX
This may be surprising, but it definitely is true. Many customers, particularly millennials, are willing to pay more money for excellent customer experience. We’ve established that CX initiatives usually don’t get the funding they deserve and boast a limited budget.
However, your target demographics may not care so much about paying extra money for customer experience. We keep going back to the audit we recommended for testing your resources’ ROI, but this is so important. When performing your audit, look at the demographics your business caters to – it may simply not be worth funneling a lot of money into new CX resources if existing resources are doing fine.
You may not even need to invest more in your existing resource to scale – we’re talking about a recession here, and the goal is to spend less money in the event of a budget cut.
6. Break down your business needs in the context of CX
Once you know your CX goals, objectives, and initiatives, you’ll need to look at all of the factors that affect much each initiative is really worth to your company. All actions you take will have their own set of downsides and upsides. We wrote about this process in-depth here, but here’s a quick summary of the business needs to consider:
Cost to fix. What is the cost going to be to make this new change?
Time to fix. How much time will it take to make this change?
Effort to fix. What amount of effort will it take to complete this change?
Resources needed to fix. What resources will be needed to make this change, and will using those resources take away from other important projects?
Overall impact. What is the end benefit? Is it worth the costs? (This is where your in-depth audit comes in to determine ROI.)
7. Consider low-cost customer experience resources
If you’re spending a lot of company money on licenses for tools and applications, you may want to consider switching to a low-cost customer experience tool or even free resources. Just understand what your needs are: you cannot replace a comprehensive CXM tool with a cheap survey tool and expect your human resource needs to stay constant. They won’t. But keep in mind that for any clunky, expensive and outdated software platforms there are typically more affordable SaaS tools available. Lumoa is one of those affordable and easy to use solutions.
If you are used to spending money on consultants and research agencies, who build surveys and reports for you, now could be the right time to save a significant amount of money. You can cut the cost to a fraction by moving from these methods to fully automated CXM tools.
Even learning can happen without consultants. For example, LinkedIn hosts a number of high-traffic groups that marketing specialists frequent to discuss issues of customer experience strategies and management. Taking advantage of these groups may be a great way to learn where your pain points are, rather than consulting an expensive consultant.