Customer experience will be the reason businesses survive COVID-19 


customer experience for businesses after COVID-19

Small Business

By Gillian Mackay

As Australia continues to manage the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, survival remains top-of-mind for businesses in every market. Businesses that emerge from the lockdown period more or less intact will have a second problem – how to regain traction in a recessionary environment.

Planning for the future now using precise and actionable customer insights will see businesses bounce back faster post-COVID.  

Customer Experience (CX) data collection and analysis is baked into the operation of most businesses. Maximum business-benefit comes from mastering the art of using insights from this data to create seamless experiences where customers feel valued, heard and validated.  

Turning information gained from new technology like artificial intelligence, machine learning and image recognition into innovations that improve the customer experience will gain businesses a competitive advantage in the coming months and years.  

Analysing customer insights  

Fueling innovation in any business begins with CX intelligence. Firstly, consider all the data sources you have available to understand your customer experience from a holistic perspective. These data sources might include survey responses, customer feedback, or online reviews and comments. Secondly, think about how you might use a CX business intelligence tool to uncover deep insights and the root cause of any customer pain points or dissatisfiers from all of these disparate data sources. Having both comprehensive data sources and a means to analyse data efficiently will help you move from the question “what does the data say” to “what does this mean for our business?”. This is the pivotal point where you can use deep insights to drive CX innovation.    

Tackle the specific issue 

Identifying problems is one thing—knowing how to fix them and getting buy-in from key stakeholders  is another.  

Though this process is almost never straightforward, properly packaged CX intelligence gives teams specific goals to work toward. “Fixing product defect A” is much more tangible than “reducing customer dissatisfaction.” Tools that can produce insights with specificity, context, and detail can save time, costs, and cut to the core of any product issue.   

The Coffee Club, Australia’s largest homegrown cafe group, was able to devise an improvement strategy fueled by CX intelligence. Analysis showed the company that customer dissatisfaction was being driven by one key factor: the composition of one brand of paper straws. The Coffee Club promptly switched to a new, better straw provider, innovating a solution that showed its customers that their concerns were heard.  

In another instance of CX data-driven innovation, a major pizza chain used  intelligence tools to act upon customer feedback about order speed and quality. These tools enabled the chain to learn that some of its locations’ pizzas didn’t meet quality standards, and solved the issue by quickly retraining employees at those locations. Some of these issues stemmed from order speed, so the chain created a new pizza app and tweaked its pickup options to quash those problem areas.   

Maintain momentum through innovation 

Fixing a problem is a good start, but how do businesses sustain CX intelligence-driven product innovation? Proactivity is the key. To create a culture of CX-driven innovation, businesses must be willing to not only collect data (relatively simple) but to act on it in a transformative way (not as simple!).  

Mass customer feedback can be overwhelming, and is best made manageable by modern tech tools like experience platforms that allow businesses to identify problem areas and develop specific improvements. Businesses can then spend  less time  searching for problems and more time innovating solutions.  

CX practitioners who constantly stay on top of innovation opportunities will have a much easier time turning data-driven insights into meaningful innovation. Bedding this process down as an essential and iterative part of business operations will drive product innovations that are aligned with customer expectations and experiences, leading to better retention and word-of-mouth marketing among customers.   

In an environment of evolved customer behaviour, delivering experience-enhancing product innovations is a must. Ensure that your business has the tools, expertise and customer-centric culture to both survive a downturn and accelerate sharply in recovery.  


Gillian Mackay is Head of Consulting, APAC, at InMoment.

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