The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruption to business activities globally. The ongoing massive spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) globally has inevitably changed lifestyles and day-to-day business activities. Likewise in Indonesia, where physical distancing measures have been broadly applied, and several large cities have imposed restrictions on mass mobility. The public has been called on to work from home, study from home and worship from home.
While physical stores are closed, agents are unable to get in touch with contact centres directly, and we are also seeing widespread disruptions to the supply chain of goods. This change in business activity presents an existential crisis for almost the majority of companies worldwide. One of the biggest challenges is providing a consistent and valuable customer experience (CX). Policies and procedures change from day to day in line with the latest developments. Customer service teams are striving to compensate for a rise in customer concerns over COVID-19.
On the other hand, customers still expect high-quality services and to receive information that is relevant to their circumstances, timely, and of course true (that is, not a hoax). Therefore, one of the areas most affected by the COVID-19 crisis is the strategy of redefining how your business will maintain the best customer experience in difficult circumstances.
Uniquely, the COVID-19 crisis has been a key aspect to the faster move towards digital experiences for customers outside the physical store. Most Indonesian brands, in retail for example, have temporarily closed their physical stores in shopping centres as a result of government and company intervention with the aim of protecting their employees and customers.
Over the next few weeks, it will be very important to take a nimble approach to the customer experience strategy and plan to tailor this in real-time to any changes in customer and employee needs. In addition, it is important that the CX team has access to the latest information and is also empowered to work from anywhere while still being able to provide a high-quality customer experience.
The first step that can be taken is to start shifting quickly to digital channels, combinations and collaborations including chat, messaging and bot conversations (chatbot). Such technological innovations can provide high-quality services with real-time customer conversations but also allow you to activate your workforce from anywhere. During this period of restrictions on social and physical distancing in a bid to avoid the spread of COVID-19, customers now prefer to interact with companies directly via mobile applications using the most convenient and efficient means of communication, either through the help of automation, chat or audio. Companies are required to make it easier for consumers to use the most suitable channels in increasingly specific customer conversation topics. Digital platforms like this, both on existing websites and in mobile applications, can of course also broaden a business’ reach to customers beyond physical stores, which have become increasingly difficult to visit due to the government’s appeal for the public to adhere to physical distancing measures.
An important second step is to enable technological innovation in order to maintain customer experience and customer service operations, particularly when there are problems or difficulties related to products or services. If customers cannot find solutions that are quick and satisfactory during this critical period, there will be a significant reduction in productivity, business image, and even customer confidence. This means that corporations need to equip themselves with technologies that have collaboration features such as screen sharing, live annotations, video recordings, and remote controls for interactive assistance and problem solving. Technology solutions for CX will help customers get the best support and resolutions available, without even having to meet physically. In addition, this technology will enhance a company’s ability to use contextual data and historical information to solve sales and service problems, both quickly and efficiently. Telkomtelstra understands that customers are in the midst of preparing for unlimited digital interactions that are tailored to their specific interests and needs, especially in this period of uncertainty with the ongoing pandemic. Our latest Digital Customer Engagement Solution, with the support of Oracle technology, is ready to help businesses in Indonesia provide transformative customer experience innovations and meet current customer expectations. Interaction channels in applications and in real-time help corporations and organisations engage customers at key moments in their personal journey and provide a proactive, unimpeded and memorable experience that improves customer loyalty, retention and satisfaction.(*)