During an economic downturn—or worse—recession, companies must prioritize minimizing costs and optimizing investments to survive and stay competitive. A key (yet underrated) strategy to recession-proof your business is to prioritize the importance of customer experience (CX) and to create consistent, effective, and exceptional customer retention strategies.
Servicing your current customers with an efficient customer-focused experience will lead to retaining customers and acquiring new ones.1 Finding ways to improve customer satisfaction (CSAT) and customer sentiment (NPS) can help your business thrive in downtimes—a driving force behind recession-proofing your business.
Effective CX goes beyond providing a good product or service. A successful CX strategy involves deeply understanding the customer's needs, wants, and pain points—tailoring the experience to meet those criteria.
There are critical aspects of your delivery model that can help you focus on the importance of customer experience. However, a recession is not the time to do a complete customer service transformation, as that could be both costly and time-consuming. Instead, the best approach is to improve specific components of your delivery model while keeping your spending under control. Look for areas that can be enhanced by your existing staff or with minimal investment and will significantly impact your customer experience.
Here are a few key considerations on how to recession-proof your business and maximize the importance of customer experience:
1. Start at the Customer Journey
The best place to start lies in communicating and resolving issues with your brand that tarnish the customer’s journey. The goal of realizing the importance of customer experience is to reduce customer effort and allow customers to connect with you however they prefer and in many ways. You should ask yourself:
Understanding areas of improvement in the customer journey allows you to make the most economical decisions, ensuring a favorable return on any investment. This also leads to identifying opportunities related to agent improvement, channel usage, and self-service.
Identifying key aspects of your delivery model can positively impact your customer experience with minimal or no investment.
An example is shifting your product messaging from a “want” to a “need.” To recession-proof your business, you need to stay relevant in your customers’ lives, so they keep looking for your brand when they need you. To achieve this, you must develop trust and retain your customers, beginning with understanding their needs at different points throughout their journey.
2. Upskill Agent Capabilities
Start looking internally at your contact center for training opportunities. Whether you are managing your customer service in-house or with an outsourcing partner, upskilling your agents to handle more contact types and channels can make your customer experience more efficient.
A key area to consider is measuring their familiarity with the contents of your Knowledge Base (KB). Upskilling agents can be done by in-house staff through dedicated training resources or experienced Team Leads. Training can be chunked up into segments or scheduled during slower times during the day. It is also an opportunity for agents to advance their competencies and become more valuable to your company.
Implementing a people-first strategy reveals the importance of CX to your company. Happy and highly skilled agents give excellent customer experience.
3. Review Your Channel Mix
Providing various contact channels is crucial to customer satisfaction. Your customers want to be able to connect with you how and when they want to.
Are you offering the channel access your customers want? You will lose customers if they do not meet their preferences.
Reviewing your channel mix is an opportunity to shift contacts to less costly channels. For example, deflecting voice calls to text or email can significantly lower costs and improve the customer journey. Many customers prefer text and email channels, as they can choose how and when they want to contact you. With new technologies emerging, such as chatbots and apps, you may need to add more channels. Examine your costs per contact by channel to gain insight and improve your bottom line.
4. Empower Your Customers Through Self-Service
Upskilling your agents and optimizing your channel mix can considerably improve your customer experience. However, the most significant way you can reduce your customer’s effort, improve their experience, and impact your bottom line is by implementing self-service options that allow customers to handle issues when and how they want to.
Review your delivery model based on what you learned during your customer journey review. Put the customer in charge of issue resolution. Can chatbots/Interactive Voice Responses (IVRs) or other self-service capabilities be used to answer the most frequent service calls despite some cost investment?
Self-service technologies result in higher effectiveness and efficiency rates and will reduce costs in the long run.
In addition, they reduce strain on contact centers, as agents can focus and attend to more urgent and complicated matters that are more likely to require a human touch and extra empathy. Weigh the improvements you may gain with self-service options against the cost of implementation and the timeframe it takes to return your investment.
5. Recession Proof Your Business with Us
Recession-proofing your business allows you to review your delivery model internally and define ways to become more efficient for your customers and your bottom line. Outsourcing your customer service can help you in more ways than one.
Even during an economic downturn, TaskUs strives to put our best foot forward. Recognized by the Everest Group as the World’s Fastest Business Process (Outsourcing) Service Provider and highly rated in the Gartner Peer Insights Review, we offer end-to-end excellent, low-cost, recession-proof CX strategies.
We have developed TaskUs Optimizer, a risk-free customer experience consulting model and solution to help companies evaluate their business, explore opportunities, and optimize their customer support operations, all while reducing operating expenses significantly. We collaborate closely with our partners, bring in BPO experts, and share our extensive proficiency in frontline and back-office support.
Recognizing the importance of customer experience is vital in how to make your business recession-proof. By building customer loyalty, utilizing cost-effective marketing, and differentiating from the competition, a company can set itself apart and remain successful even in tough economic times.