We are all consumers. I would hazard a guess that your buying habits have changed in the last two months. Whether it's a pandemic or a natural shift in consumer behaviors, businesses have to be ready to heed the call.
Today, I thought I would share some examples of the new customer journeys that have been put into place due to the COVID-19 crisis. These are all from my personal life, but I would challenge you to find similar situations in yours to fully understand the impact a new "post-COVID" journey may have.
Read on for some new customer journeys that came about due to the pandemic.
I don't know about you, but I LOVE shopping. I have all girls in my family and retail therapy was a thing. A bad day turned into a shopping trip more than once. And, I love the tactile part of shopping. I'm not an online shopper; I like to feel the material, try things on (to my husband's chagrin), and take a thing home with me.
That experience? Not a thing right now. Even when it comes to my essentials (like groceries), I have a list, I'm in and out, and I don't overly interact with sales associates. So, is this destined to be my shopping experience from now on?
The fact of the matter is, people still WANT that original experience; they just aren't sure how to get it right now. So, retailers are changing how that experience is offered to create the same feeling. Retailers are now offering private shopping appointments. Everyone likes feeling like a VIP, so a special invitation to your favorite store where you know you'll be safe, shows that you still care about providing an "experience". Plus, technology is available to send invites, manage appointments, send reminders, and check-in at the store. Put it all together, and you've got a pretty snazzy new customer journey that supports your customers who want to buy.
For an example of one such solution, check out the Retail Fast PassTM.
How much have you been driving lately? Do you think you're getting the most out of your car insurance? Most insurers didn't think so either, and started giving premium rebates where it made sense.
Quite honestly, that's an easy one. Let's look at the impact that the pandemic had on the in-person interactions; like appraising activities and worker's comp treatments. When it comes to a claim, there are still some things that need to be done by a person. Appraising damage is one. Physically treating an injury is another. When people have a high level of uncertainty around being near other people, telling them that they have to be as part of their claim doesn't help their anxiety.
What does help is being empathetic in your communication with them, and fully explaining all of the procedures in place to keep them safe. You may have noticed, even if it's only in email, that the commentary coming from businesses is much more REAL. An authentic sharing of a plan to keep you safe. Communication has always played a big role in creating lasting customer relationships, and this humanizing of insurance is a great improvement to the policyholder journey.
When it comes to my banking, I've done most of it online for years. An actual interaction I do depend on is getting advice from my financial planner. A couple times a year, we sit down and have a conversation about where I'm at, and whether we need to make any tweaks to support where I'm going.
Historically, financial companies have done a great job at automating transactions. But what about now when I need a true interaction?
Similar to the example in insurance, I've seen my financial institution (and others, from large banks to small credit unions), reaching out PROACTIVELY. Book a meeting. Review your mortgage terms.
I feel like they're FINALLY trying to be authentically helpful.
This is a great differentiator between simply using technology, and using it to help your clients. I love to speak about "helping people do a thing". Your people, your processes and your technology have to align to actually HELP people, and thanks to the pandemic, we're finally seeing it in the financial sector.
One of my favorite sayings is, "there's no comfort in the growth zone, and no growth in the comfort zone". This crisis has sent businesses of all kinds directly into the growth zone, whether they were ready for it or not. So, we can either take advantage of the opportunity to provide our customers a continually better experience, or we can go the way of the dodo bird (extinct). I know which one I choose.