Brands have adapted their customer experience (CX) approaches dramatically in the wake of COVID-19 to continue serving customers at a high level. Changing consumer behaviors demanded digital acceleration. Some CX changes that have been embraced by consumers are increased flexibility, personalization, and choice. As organizations look to the future, what can they expect from the ever-changing CX landscape?
AI and personalization drive digital acceleration
Digital innovation accelerated in the wake of COVID-19. Brands adopted new technologies that they’ll likely continue to use beyond the end of the pandemic. One example of this is chatbot technology, which is helping businesses automate and streamline customer queries.
In their April 2020 piece “Conversational AI in the Era of COVID-19” IDC reports, “Conversational AI solutions have been a natural choice for disseminating health information and help businesses remain agile by increasing service availability during the coronavirus pandemic and will play a critical role in transforming customer experience, empowering employees, and enriching business insights.”
AI, machine learning, and other digital channel enhancements will continue to support real-time, personalized support and engagement even post-pandemic.
Live-to-digital opens new revenue streams
Standup comedy demands in-person appearances and rigorous travel schedules. Yet big names in the field have adapted via technology to perform interactive virtual shows — and some producers suggest that this may be a revenue stream that continues post-pandemic. Passport Shows is hosting Stream of Consciousness, an interactive improv show with stars of Whose Line is it Anyway?. Guests pay for a single ticket per viewing and then the performers use technology, including projected backgrounds and the ability to appear “on screen” next to guests.
As interactive experience technology grows and audiences become accustomed to it, the entertainment industry is likely to offer “at-home” and “in-person” options moving forward.
Digital consult models drive product sales and services
The beauty industry pioneered digital consults for a few years already. For example, customers need only to tweet at Warby Parker for advice on the best pair of glasses. However, Glossy reports that several brands, such as organic beauty brand Credo, have incorporated tools to provide live advice and support. In the article, Credo CEO Dawn Dobras shares, “Online customers who shop using Credo Live are 15 times more likely to make a purchase versus those who don’t.”
Professionals go digital to provide product consults, educational content such as makeup lessons or support dying hair at home, and specialized classes on developing advanced skills. These brands are raising customer expectations of good shopping experiences by incorporating education, real-time product support, and value-added content into their customer interactions.
Robotics go customer-facing
Brands have experimented with robots in various roles for years, but more recently they’ve become customer-facing at scale. In a Forbes article, Phil Duffy, vice president of product management and marketing at Brain Corp reports that the use of Brain-OS powered robots increased 13% from January 2020 and is expected to continue to rise.
From UV sanitizing robots to those designed to disinfect hospitals and public buildings, a number of brands have found ways to leverage robots while keeping employees safe. In other cases, robots provide contactless checkout, scanning shelves to prevent out-of-stocks, and processing deliveries. These efficiencies are unlikely to be lost as brands get a better idea of which roles require the human touch.
CX innovations that allow enhanced flexibility, personalization, and safety help brands serve customers. But many of these also offer positive improvements to the customer experience that are likely to continue into the future.