The Gist

  • Disruptions can impact a customer's journey. Hiccups in customer service may frustrate consumers and drive them away from your brand.
  • Although inevitable, disruptions can become revenue opportunities. Seamlessly solving customer issues offers a chance to not only win back but secure their loyalty.
  • Creating a disruption plan is key. Coming up with ways to circumvent problems will better equip your CX team to deal with complicated disruptions.

Customers don’t want to be dazzled; they just want companies to deliver on the basics. Consider air travel, for instance; as competitive pricing and business models are relatively consistent among competitors, airlines don’t earn significant points for excessive service.

However, if an airline were to misplace a passenger’s baggage, the customer may seek alternatives the next time they fly. This type of outcome is the unfortunate reality for many brands these days. So, with product distinctiveness rapidly disappearing and pricing becoming the blanket differentiator, what can brands do differently to handle customer experience disruptions successfully?

Don't Let CX Disruptions Stop You

The customer experience consists of consumers interacting with a brand, with a customer journey map acting as the blueprint to visually represent those interactions. A customer experiences a disruption when something unexpected occurs that significantly impacts their journey or their perception of a brand. Encountering technical problems with a product or service or dealing with late delivery times are common examples of disruption — even poor customer service can be a hindrance. These types of interactions can inconvenience and frustrate the customer.

When a disruption occurs, consumers may rate their interactions negatively, which begs the following question: When a single negative experience can ruin brand loyalty, how can you turn disruptions and their costs into revenue opportunities?

The answer is a customer-centric approach. Ultimately, customers have two primary expectations from brands: a swift and effortless solution to their problem. During a disruption, companies should amplify customer effort, prioritize proactive communication and empower customers to prevent brand disloyalty.

Furthermore, it’s essential for companies to respond quickly and effectively to minimize the negative impact. But where do they start? Recognizing signs of disruption is an important step toward remediation. Disruption may look different in different industries. 

Creating Opportunities For Change in Customer Experience

Turning customer experience disruptions into revenue opportunities can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Businesses should understand that during a disruption, every opportunity for engagement is an opportunity to increase brand loyalty. If your business is getting 6,000 support calls a day, you can have 6,000 opportunities to increase loyalty. Business leaders must motivate employees to understand and deliver on this expectation because driving this cultural change requires authentic leadership. So how can you make this happen? 

Communicate, Clearly, With Your Customers

The first step during a disruption should be clear and effective communication. Customers want to feel valued and heard, and providing personalized support can help you achieve this. Businesses heavily invested in software are always collecting data about customer preference, engagement, history, buying patterns and so on. Use this data and provide personalized solutions that address specific concerns. Investments in data capture and analysis software is futile if your employees, especially frontline workers, do not have access to it. Without this information, employees are not equipped to use it to inform decisions to improve customer experience.

Related Article: A Communication Master Class: Boosting CIOs' Leadership Excellence

Learning Opportunities

Create a Customer Experience Platform for Change

Always have a solution ready to solve CX disruptions. When designing customer experience software, it's important to create a disruption management plan. This plan should be a living document that grows with every new encounter your business has with disruptions. Invest in creating a cross-functional team staffed with members from central IT, line-of-business (LoB) departments and digital innovation teams. These teams can help harvest reusable assets, best practices and promote consumption and collaboration to help drive self-reliance while improving disruption solutions through feedback and metrics.

Oftentimes, organizations already have these teams, but they don't share the same goal. CX principles, processes and measurements are integral to successful CX implementations and disruption management. You cannot improve what you cannot measure. Leadership with a clear goal in mind can help build a more robust disruption management team with a clear vision and goals to equip them with the necessary tools to generate metrics for improvement.

Upsell, to Even the Unhappy Customers

Every touchpoint with a customer or potential customer is an opportunity to upsell. If a customer is dissatisfied with a product, offer them an upgraded version or a complementary product that may better suit their needs. By taking the time to listen to your customers and make improvements, you can build a loyal customer base that values their relationship with your brand.

Related Article: How Brands Can Keep Customers Happy During Supply Chain Shortages

Best Practice Recommendations for CX Disruptions

  1. Set a goal: To effectively mitigate CX disruptions, it's crucial to establish clear goals to help to focus your efforts. For instance, a specific goal could be to decrease the time it takes to reach customers by 25% during a disruption. Being specific provides a clear direction for your efforts and enables you to measure your progress.
  2. Analyze: Taking a comprehensive view of your CX strategy is crucial to ensure you're meeting your evolving business needs. As they change, your CX strategy should be reevaluated to see if it still serves its intended purpose. If it doesn't align, updating your CX strategy may be necessary.
  3. Build a harness: To create an effective disruption plan for your CX strategy, it's crucial to build a framework that guides your efforts. This framework is known as a harness and helps to streamline your disruption plan toward your immediate needs rather than attempting to solve hypothetical problems. Developing a straightforward and concise plan is essential for a successful CX strategy — and a well-designed harness can help achieve this. Your harness should include specific metrics to ensure your adherence to a well-established CX disruption plan.
  4. Monitoring: What sets a successful CX disruption strategy apart is its commitment to ongoing monitoring and improvement. Customers are increasingly willing to provide feedback to enhance their favorite brands' experiences, so it's important to actively seek customer feedback and integrate data analytics into your metrics. Doing so provides valuable insight to continually improve your CX disruption strategy, and ultimately, improve customer satisfaction.

Final Thoughts on Turning CX Disruptions Into Opportunities

Turning disruptions into opportunities is a philosophy, not a science. CX is a window to the soul of your business — it should be transparent, caring and full of empathy. Software is built to improve lives, so a well-executed customer experience is the best way to make a positive impact on consumers.

However, CX is not perfect and it doesn’t have to be. It just needs to have mechanisms in place to handle the unexpected gracefully while continuing to uphold the core principles of your business: service excellence.

fa-solid fa-hand-paper Learn how you can join our contributor community.