Everyday, there is yet another news headline about the cost-of-living crisis and the impact it’s having on families and businesses across the UK.
The pandemic effect drove customers to utilise more e-commerce models, to demand an “always on” model expecting higher customer experience, and to become fickle with their loyalty. The new challenge of rising costs puts more pressure on organisations to attract and retain not only customers, but the right teams to deliver a memorable customer experience (CX).
In March, the economy shrank, sparking fears of an impending recession; people are spending less and avoiding using their cars, as fuel prices remain stubbornly high. The latest GDP figures don’t yet consider the hike in energy costs last month.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), around 9 in 10 (88%) adults in Great Britain reported their living costs had risen over the past month, and real wages are expected to drop by 1.2% this year.
The current situation we find ourselves in has been likened to the “perfect storm” – the increasing cost of living, economic pressures, and an uncertain future. So, what does this mean for all things CX?
The cost-of-living crisis puts an additional pressure on an industry that has already been hit hard. How we react to this – and ultimately re-emerge following it – will be reliant on strong people, processes, and an unwavering focus on CX.
Strong partners can help to weather the “perfect storm”
Where brands partner with organisations to deliver their CX / contact centre, the differentiator for a winning partner should be the focus on people. How does this organisation look after their people?
The strength of a partner’s employee satisfaction (ESAT), employee Net Promoter Score® (eNPS®), diversity/equity/inclusion (DEI) programs, etc. ultimately reflects how your customers are treated.
A low wage, “rack ‘em and stack ‘em” approach won’t drive the customer experience that will attract and retain customers, and grow your brand. The world is very different from 10 years ago (arguably, even 5 years ago), and customer experience should be at the heart of every business.
The impacts of the cost-of-living crisis will drive an increase of vulnerable customers, as well as a more demanding customer base that wants to see true value for money in the service or product they purchase.
Our CX teams need to be equipped to deal with these vulnerability challenges and, not only resolve it for the customer, but also foster an outlet for them personally when conversations are tough.
Changes will need to be made to how organisations look to attract and retain employees. A career with progression opportunities and a good work-life balance with incentives and benefits are what retain people. Cultivating support in mental health, good mentors, and sound internal networks that offer help or opportunities just to “pass the time of day” with someone is vitally important in what is a hard job to do.
Transforming our approach to nurturing a team of CX professionals needs to shift dramatically, and we can’t achieve this alone. We need the support of partners and brands to help make the difference.
In an industry where margins are tight and growth is important, costs are squeezed in a race to the bottom. This is not sustainable in this current environment. If retaining and attracting customers is the crux of your business, then providing the right CX backed by the right employee experience (EX) needs to be valued as an investment.
A long-term view on the future growth and opportunity of the business won’t look to squeeze CX costs (ultimately front-line salaries) but will create a future-focused, customer-centric view that will generate revenue through memorable customer experiences and employee experiences.