Many businesses had to innovate to carry on trading during the pandemic. The biggest shift was to online and digital services. But as we learn to live with Covid and restrictions are lifted, will we still be as willing to sacrifice face-to-face interactions for digital, particularly if those online transactions are unsatisfactory?
On a recent family trip to London, we experienced some fantastic – and some dreadful – digital client experiences. And it seems that I’m not alone; in many cases, the pandemic has polarised client experience.
Poor user experience
Our London trip started with an incredibly frustrating experience trying to book our rail travel online. I ended up with three pending transactions on my debit card and struggled to find a customer services phone number to speak to someone to get help. (As an aside, businesses making it difficult to find their phone numbers to put customers off calling them is something I’m seeing more and more. A big customer services no, no in my book!)
I ended up going to our local station where the customer services advisor couldn’t have been more helpful. In fact, she found us a better deal than the one I was trying to purchase online. The next time I’m booking rail tickets I’m going to give the website a miss in favour of face-to-face service.
Placing food and drink orders via an app was one of the innovations that helped many restaurants and cafes manage social distancing. However, being forced to continue using an app that was clunky and difficult to use without the option of giving our order to a member of staff is another stand out customer experience fail from our trip. I wonder if I’d have been so frustrated if the app had been easy to use?
Technology has the potential to help businesses deliver exceptional client service, but it needs to work well and make customers lives easier not more difficult.
As well as ensuring your user experience, and customers’ digital journey is as simple as possible, if something goes wrong, it must be easy for your customers to find help.
At the start of the pandemic consumers were understanding if calls took longer to be answered, or service was not as high as it used to be. But 18 months on, we are much less tolerant. Covid is no longer an excuse for poor client experience.
Businesses will need to work hard to keep standards high particularly if they are moving to a hybrid working model, which I discussed in my last blog. This is a particular issue for customer service teams. Research from Gartner, Inc. found that 70% of customer service and support employees wanted to continue to work from home at least once a week.
The pandemic has changed the way we view customer experience forever, and there is an opportunity for businesses to stand out by delivering exceptional service, both face-to-face and digitally.
Rhian Huxtable is a client experience director at Insight6. If you’d like help to enhance your customer experience or find out what your clients think of you, please get in touch. Call me on 07810 516887 or email Rhian.firstname.lastname@example.org