New remote work standards after the pandemic
The pandemic introduced many businesses to work-from-home, and the most employee-centric companies are thinking critically about the optimal role of remote work. Many studies have found that remote work makes people more engaged, satisfied and less likely to quit. Remote workers also often work longer hours – not surprising since the average American spends 54 minutes a day commuting. Granted, the impact is not exclusively positive: remote work does introduce some unique operational challenges as well.
Moving forward, the key will be recognizing that telework does not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition.
For many jobs and companies, the goal will be to find the right balance of telework and on-site work post pandmeic. What many knowledge workers need is spurts of unstructured interaction, followed by hours of quiet time to execute - time that’s often more productive done away from the office to remain engaged and creative. Whether you work in a contact center or marketing agency, finding the optimal combination of telework and on-site work will vary from department to department, job to job, and person to person after a pandemic.
Many employees are even reconsidering the cost-of-living in large cities, long commutes, and whether they’re more productive from home or in the office. On the other hand, many employee-centric businesses are reconsidering real estate and leasing costs, sharing smaller collaborative working spaces, and rethinking how many a days a week certain employees should work on-site (serving as an accommodation for employees and strategy for optimal productivity). Google, as one example, recently extended their work-from-home policies until 2021.
Increased digital communication and remote collaboration
Optimal productivity in a remote setting is centered around digital communication, of course. In our latest CCW Digital Market Study, we asked customer experience, contact center, and marketing leaders:
Which of the following are meaningfully impacting your customer contact performance (including, but not limited to, your situation amid the Coronavirus pandemic)?
Increased use of collaboration tools (Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, etc) – 65.79%. Increased emphasis on digital channels – 52.63%. To give one detailed example of what this could like:
Centrical, provider of a holistic employee engagement and real-time performance management platform for Fortune 500 companies, today informed me of an integration with Microsoft Teams. Organizations on Teams will now be able to use Centrical to motivate, train, and help employees set and pursue performance goals directly from the Microsoft communication platform.
“A major operational challenge the COVID-19 pandemic has created for large businesses is being able to manage the experience and performance of the great number of employees...Centrical for Teams helps to create a ‘new normal’ for connecting employees with their managers, to each other, aligning on goals as well as having the drive to perform,” said Gal Rimon, Centrical’s Founder and CEO.
The Centrical for Teams integration provides companies with a proven-effective way to create a routine for employees’ new workstyle but with familiar elements they will find reassuring, during and after a pandemic. Leaderboards, challenges, and missions are all there as is the ability to recognize and reward stellar performance, regardless of location. Along with that, it lets organizations rapidly reskill or upskill employees to handle shifting roles and responsibilities by way of quickly deployed remote learning programs.
Omnichannel marketing and 360-degree customer view
Employee engagement and internal communication are key for any business, but so too is the communication with your customers, and what technologies you're using to do it. For that reason, companies are beginning to focus now more than ever on omnichannel delivery to provide customers a uniform experience across various touch points. For example, customers may start interacting with your brand on Twitter and continue the conversation elsewhere. Their experience on both of these platforms should be seamless. That’s only possible through integrated systems.
Enabling uniform customer experience across multiple marketing channels helps to build brand consistency and loyalty. Brands should implement a digital customer experience strategy across multiple integrated channels where their prospects already are. Cloud implementation for an omnichannel 360-degree customer view will continue to surge after the pandemic.
The phone will remain the primary means of customer engagement, but that doesn’t mean it’s not part of the omnichannel approach. For example, companies can use call analytics software to uncover the path that customers take when interacting with them. Using call tracking software, brands can then determine where their prospects originate from, which platforms they prefer, the average interaction period, and other data that can be used to improve conversion quality and CSAT metrics.
An omnichannel approach also allows for better predictive analytics uses for consumer intelligence, statistical algorithms, and machine learning to predict future customer behavior. In 2021, brands will increasingly use this insight to deliver more personalized experiences, whenever and wherever customers choose to connect.
According to Internet Retailing, 69% of consumers expect a personalized experience from brands. However, only 40% of brands actually deliver personalized experiences.
Consumers expect personalized communication through whichever medium a company uses to reach them, be it a newsletter, email, SMS, IVR, and more. Hyper-personalization and predictive analytics through an omnichannel approach will become the standard for most customer experiences.
CX transparency and online security measures
In the digital age, honesty is the new currency… a marketable one too. Research from Sprout Social indicates that 86% of consumers prefer brands that are honest (especially when it comes to their personal data). When it comes to your customers’ personal information, you want to deliver personalized services and recommendations of course. But you don’t want to earn the reputation as the Mark Zuckerberg of your industry.
Consumers care more about their interaction with brands and use various platforms to reach out to them. Brands will have to be proactive in engaging their audiences in their voice to cultivate trust in this omnichannel experience, all while securing customer privacy and personal information.
As Shep Hyken, NYT, WSJ bestselling author and CX infleuncer recently stated in Forbes, “Eighty-six percent of consumers think that the companies they do business with could do more to protect them from fraud. Add in that 28% of Americans don’t believe that brands are doing enough to manage their personal information securely, and you have a big trust problem.”
As seen in TechRepublic, email attacks began increasing at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, and they have only surged in recent months. Researchers have observed a 667% increase since the end of February, when COVID-19 truly emerged as a global pandemic.
Between March 1 and March 23, researchers detected 467,825 spear phishing email attacks, and 9,116 of those detections were related to COVID-19, representing about 2% of attacks, the company said. In comparison, a total of 1,188 coronavirus-related email attacks were detected in February, while just 137 were detected in January.
As cost-effective self-service technology advances, there’s greater risk for both customers and customer experience departments. Deloitte, KPMG and many more leading financial consulting firms preach the importance of customer experience - key areas to address include cyber security, data protection, personalization, frictionless ease-of-use, and more.
Here’s an example of the fintech industry that summarizes this trend in customer service:
Consumer use of mobile finance, banking and insurance apps jumped 71% in 2019, months before a pandemic took place.
Now, mobile banking across the globe is currently undergoing surgical reconstruction, centered around APIs and personalized customer experience to accommodate fluctuating consumer demand...thanks to COVID-19 ramifications of course.
Japan and South Korea saw jumps in usage of 85% from December of last year to March of this year. In the U.S., it’s been 35%, according to a report from Liftoff and App Annie. These changes in mobile banking and frictionless self-service will be permanent, many predict.
The recent stimulus payments in the U.S. have doubled new mobile banking registrations, according to FIS, a financial software and services provider. And surprise, consumers want to access it, and spend it. As consumers are quick to deposit and transfer stimulus checks, those who have not been familiar with mobile banking have quickly adapted to the digital side of personal finance and online self-service, greater reward and greater risk.
While fintech accounts for only 5% of all app installs, it’s the second largest category in terms of number of different apps. In other words, there’s fierce competition for financial self-services attracting customers since there’s a wide array of easily accessible mobile banking services available to them. How does one stand out?
Fintech is just one industry example, but it shows a trend in not only general technological advancement, but an emphasis on self-service, showing us a greater need for marketable competitive advantages, such as customer data security. With a robust amount of options of digital banking apps for consumers, delivering personalized services and customer data protection becomes one of the industry’s most marketable differentiators between customer-centric service providers, a trend consumers value now more than ever.