Invoke Insights • April 2020
Right now, we are in an enormous shifting pattern in the way we purchase goods and services. Over the past several years we’ve been trending toward less human interaction to transactions that require little or no contact with another person. In the last two months, the pace of this trend went from a casual jog to an Olympic sprint.
New Workings Habits, New Norm
Many experts have said that It only takes 6 to 12 weeks to form a habit. By the time we get back to business as usual, it won’t be business as usual. Businesses will have formed new work habits and consumers, both B2B and B2C, will have developed new buying habits. This change is going to radically impact how all of us conduct business. Every business owner and executive team is now, or soon will be re-evaluating which staff members/jobs truly need to be physically at the office and which ones could work remotely or fill the role as a contract employee.
All businesses are challenged with finding ways to sell to their customers with limited human interaction. This is the new reality and it is not going away.
For example, Carvana, an on-line car buying dealership, has eliminated the car salesperson by creating an online sales process in conjunction with their car vending machines. You simply shop online, arrange for paying or financing, and let them know where you want to pick up the car from one of their vending sites. Simply visit the site, enter your code and you receive your car. No human interaction required.
Little Caesar’s Pizza allows you to order on line, pay on line, then go their store and enter a pin number to get your pizza kept in a heated locker. No human interaction required. For both companies, human interaction is there, but only if needed or wanted.
The challenge for marketing and CX professionals is more complex than ever before. How can you still make that experience excellent at every step of the journey? Executive leadership needs to recognize this “new normal” and invest their time and company resources to get ahead of the new challenges we’re facing. It needs to be more than just talk.
Research done by the Tempkin Group has shown that senior management recognizes the need to implement a customer experience program involving a strong online presence. Yet the reality is there is little support behind any efforts to move their companies in this direction. There’s an abundance of meetings, suggestions, and opinions about what to do, along with lots of excuses why it can’t be done right now. Not doing it right now is no longer an option!
It All Depends…
“Business as usual” will look more like what’s happening right now, more than what it looked like even just 3 months ago. So, what can we do? That depends…
As a CEO or business owner
Don’t just say this is something your company needs to do, YOU have to be the driver on this initiative and it has to be one of your top priorities for the year. Seek internal recommendations to handpick individuals within your organization who are passionate about serving your customers. Find someone to represent the main disciplines in your company. Let them identify how to better serve your customers. Give your CBO or CMO, the power to lead this team and think unconventionally.
As a CBO, CMO or leading CX at your company
Your team knows what it will take to make customers happy, but they may not have the tools, resources, or decision-making power to do anything to make the necessary changes. So NOW is the time to let your team explore options, outside resources, and unconventional ways to resolve issues outside of “this is how we have always done it.” Help them understand this is a company wide cultural change. Guide them and give them the tools and power to show their staff that everything they do impacts the experience their customers have. Everyone impacts your customer, even if they personally never interact with them on a 1 on 1 basis.
As a department leader for CX at your company
Right now, the role of your job and the impact it has is not just extremely important; it’s critical to the future health of your company. You are not only the cheerleader and advocate for promoting this effort, you are THE example everyone is looking to for guidance and encouragement. Your actions will absolutely speak louder than your words. Empower your team to make smart judgment calls. The best example I have for this is to imagine you as the customer on the other end of the call, email, or text. What is the response you feel is fair and appropriate and how would you want to be treated. Empower your staff to make decisions based on this mentality rather than a corporate mandate.
As an outside CX agency or consultant
You have the luxury of seeing a side of the company that internal staff will typically never see. Even with all the data available and the VOC interview results that a company compiles on their own, they will still have a limited view of their customer. What people say and what they do are not always in alignment. Your goal is a difficult one, yet very straightforward. Your goal and contribution, is to truly understand what the customer is saying and what motivates their buying actions. Again, it comes down to understanding, at the individual level, “What is in it for me to buy from this company?”
What you do in your organization, whether you work in a Fortune 500 company, small business, non-profit, social activity group or are a solo-entrepreneur working out of the basement; your level of success will depend on the how easily, seamlessly and painlessly you make it for your customers to stay connected with you. Are you working on a plan?
At Invoke Marketing, we help small and mid-size businesses accelerate their growth and develop discipline around business & marketing strategies, execution and tracking. We can help you navigate this time of transition to come out on top as a market leader. To learn more, visit our website at Invokemktg.com