The best laid plans of many businesses were thrown out the window this year as the coronavirus upended everything seemingly overnight. We checked in with three different companies to see if they've adjusted their customer experience roadmaps as a result. Here's what they had to say:

1. Segmenting the Customer Experience

"Towards the end of 2019 we spent around a week putting together a detailed road map to improve our CX with the intention of boosting customer love and reducing our refund rate," said Mark Webster, co-founder of AuthorityHacker. "We've come a long way since then but there's still plenty more on our roadmap."

The company broke customer experience down into five stages: Pre-sale, sale, post-sale, onboarding and engagement. By segmenting it in this way, the company has been able to slowly improve each section of the business one at a time, Webster explained. For example, for pre-sale, the company looked at things like brand awareness, advertisements, site layout, free content (e.g., blog and podcast) and more.

“We're currently moving into the post-sale stage of the CX.” Webster said. The focus here is on what happens immediately after a customer hits the "buy" button. What sort of communication do they receive? What can be done to alleviate potential buyer’s remorse? How do we make them aware of the support we provide? Taking action here is especially important in the current COVID-19 environment as people start to question every purchase. "Now more than ever, we'll be focusing on reaffirming their decision in every way possible. This is what we'll be spending the majority of the next few months on,” he continued.

The company will also look to improve its onboarding of customers, Webster said. The focus will be on explaining how customers can achieve the best results, making sure they are fully equipped with everything they need and reaffirming that the company is ready to help.

Engagement is the final step. "This is where we'll really push them to use our products and promote them organically. We want to create an open dialogue with them and make it easy for them to engage with us and share their thoughts and feelings. And once that's done, it'll be back round to the beginning, pre-sale. This cycle is constantly evolving as our product changes and new ideas come about," said Webster.

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2. The Three-Tier Content Approach

“My firm practices a three-tier approach these days when it comes to customer experience, each centered around sending educational digital content,” said Ty Stewart, CEO and president of Simple Life Insure. “We feel in these uncertain times where a sense of 'normal' has been tossed out the window, content touchpoints that educate and empower our clients should be the priority. People crave that agency more than ever."

The first touchpoint tier is for prospects in the discovery phase. The company has created what it states are user-friendly guides covering some of the most fundamental topics for life insurance.

For example, the company offers customers articles like the "Best and Worst Life Insurance Advice" and "Life Insurance for Dummies." The goal is to elicit trust and familiarize people with basic life insurance knowledge rather than coming across as "salesy" by pushing a quote immediately.

Learning Opportunities

The second tier of content dives deeper into information designed to help the customer research and purchase the most relevant policy for their needs, Stewart said. “For example, we'll create touchpoints that explain term versus perm life insurance, key person insurance for businesses, and understanding the health class rating, to name a few. All of this aims to push the prospect toward getting the right kind of policy quote while still feeling completely in control.”

The company’s third CX tier emphasizes how to make the most of a policy, as well as continues with touchpoints that feed up-to-date info that may affect policy types. These include discussing things like dangerous hobbies which could impact your rates, as well as tools to compare numerous policies from various providers.

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3. Shifting to Find Customers

“We've had to adjust our customer journey and associated roadmap to accommodate for a drop in organic traffic over the last two months," said Dan Bailey, president of WikiLawn, an online marketplace that connects people with the top lawn care professionals in their area.

“Our roadmap used to be very straightforward, but we've altered it to take the scenic route, so to speak," Bailey said. While some customers still find the services via an online search, the company has had to become more proactive in its outreach.

So now the company’s customer roadmap includes online advertising (typically Facebook ads) which point to a landing page offering the customer free content in exchange for their email address. Wikilawn puts these prospects on a segmented list and uses a drip campaign designed to put forth the company’s brand while providing value. Finally, the option to convert to a customer is added.

“If the potential customer falls off of this roadmap, we retarget them via a pixel on our site as well as Facebook ads specifically targeted to our subscribers,” Bailey added.