Every time I turn on the news, I hear about the potential of a recession. There seem to be so many conflicting opinions it reminds me of that old joke.
‘What happens when you put ten economists in a room? You’ll get 11 opinions.”
Having lived through many recessions, I have seen time after time what happens. People cut back on what they perceive as the ‘nice to haves’ like training and conferences, and many businesses would include Improvement in their customer experience on this list. How confident are you to deliver an excellent Customer experience (CX) in 2023 as we enter these turbulent times?
Do you consider the glass to be half full or half empty?
I recently conducted a really interesting webinar with Verint where we looked at the 3rd year of some significant research they undertake called the Engagement Capacity Gap. This is looking at the state of readiness of organizations to deal with customers’ growing expectations.
In this year’s report, it reveals people’s fears towards these difficult economic times and the level of confidence they have to improve the CX in 2023.
The new research reveals two distinct groups. People with high and low levels of confidence. Which are you?
The highly confident people seem to have been able to do the following.
As a result of this, the research reveals this makes them:
- 3.2 times effectively engage customers on digital channels
- 2.9 times be highly effective when giving customers a path to self-service
- 2.9 times successfully implement CX automation strategies
- 2.8 times improve experiences using customer feedback
On looking at people with low confidence, we find, organizations that lack confidence in their abilities often retract from customer experience improvements during recessions, allowing fear and short-term cost-cutting concerns to guide their decisions. However, this myopic approach can be self-defeating, as it needs to pay more attention to the critical role customer experience plays in building brand loyalty, attracting new customers, and retaining existing ones. Ultimately, these organizations may suffer as they have failed to invest in customer experience automation and other vital improvements.
On the other hand, businesses that perceive recessions as opportunities to innovate and refine their customer experience strategies can reap substantial rewards. By optimizing digital-first engagement, fostering workforce engagement, and improving experience management in the face of adversity, these organizations can create a competitive edge and pave the way for long-term success.
A key area of focus during a recession is customer experience automation. By automating processes and leveraging AI-driven tools, organizations can streamline customer interactions, reduce expenses, and enhance overall efficiency. For example, automated customer service solutions can handle routine inquiries and tasks, enabling human agents to address more complex issues requiring empathy and specialized expertise. This blend of automation and human touch can dramatically improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, even amid economic uncertainty.
Moreover, recessions can serve as catalysts for organizational transformation, prompting businesses to reassess their priorities and strategies. Companies that invest in bolstering their customer experience during such times can pinpoint inefficiencies, discover new opportunities, and devise innovative solutions to meet customer needs. These endeavors not only help organizations weather the storm but also allow them to emerge stronger and more competitive once the recession subsides.
In times of economic downturn, maintaining robust communication and support for the workforce is crucial. By cultivating a culture of engagement and well-being, companies can empower employees to deliver exceptional customer experiences, even when faced with adversity. This sense of connection and resilience can create a virtuous cycle as content employees contribute to content customers, ultimately propelling growth and success.
To sum up, organizations that embrace the challenges of a recession and view it as an opportunity to innovate and invest in customer experience will be better positioned to prosper in the long run. By honing digital-first engagement, workforce engagement, and experience management, businesses can build a solid foundation for lasting success. Low-confidence organizations that retract from customer experience improvements during difficult times risk falling behind and jeopardizing their future. The choice is clear: investing in customer experience is not a “nice-to-have” but an essential strategy for navigating the uncertain waters of a recession and emerging stronger on the other side.
Written in partnership with Verint.