After years of immense growth, there are signs of economic headwinds across industries, with higher interest rates, stock market declines, pandemic challenges, labor shortages, global political instability, and more. Firms are becoming more risk-averse and deliberate in their spending plans through the end of the year. Any investments need to have guaranteed results.
So how can companies continue to grow when times are tight? The secret is obvious: double-down on customer experience.
Positively managing current customers in uncertain economic times can represent easy growth opportunities that cost less than acquiring new customers. Locking in valuable customer relationships is a strategic capability that allows firms to stay extremely close to customers to gain valuable insight on where to make incremental investments that will generate ROI quickly and improve the experience. And when ROI is scarce, nimble firms with their finger directly on the pulse of customer demand win. A customer focus also builds trust between companies and their customers, which is a key enabler of long-term, profitable relationships, no matter the economic climate.
In challenging times, retaining existing customers and increasing individual share of customer should take priority over acquiring new customers. Here are a few tips on how to navigate economic headwinds without overcorrecting and damaging valuable relationships.
Do: Give customers a reason to stay (and grow) with you
- Do remove friction from interactions across the customer journey
- Do provide channels customers prefer
- Do listen and act on voice of customer
Don’t: Drive current customers away
- Don’t undermine service quality by broadly cutting costs
- Don’t throw new products and services at customers without a clear need
- Don’t stop investing in valuable CX services that deliver results
- Don’t take employees for granted
Before the economy shifts too much, now is the time to act carefully and build stronger ties with your customers, who are the most important assets in your balance sheets. Specifically, don’t be afraid to work with a CX partner. The right partner can provide tools, expertise, and labor to deliver better experiences faster and with less costs over the long term than if a brand goes on its own.
Think you know outsourcing? Think again
While CX outsourcing has been around for decades, new strategies and capabilities offer many more options to reduce costs and streamline operations than in previous economic downturns and shifts. The best partners will guarantee you cost savings by improving efficiencies that don’t sacrifice CX. Some initiatives improve CX quality in the process.
For example, brands are finding success by outsourcing functions beyond basic customer-facing support—including inside sales, back-office, and fraud. As the labor market begins to loosen and hybrid and work-from-home models growing in popularity, CX experts have a stronger, more engaged talent pool of highly skilled associates to support more strategic functions than in the past. And more robust nearshore and offshore outsourcing operations cast an even wider operations net at lower costs than in-house or onshore delivery.
Outsourcing is also much more than answering phones. Companies are leaning into automation and digital, non-voice channels like messaging, chat, and social media to decrease handle time, reduce cost to serve, and more effectively resolve issues for improved customer and employee experiences. Brands with in-house contact centers also benefit by working with a partner to optimize in-house staff with workforce management and other managed services.
Regardless of the economic climate, the right balance of CX technology, expertise, and human empathy is critical to delivering great customer experiences. And an expert CX partner can help you improve business performance with minimal risk to be prepared for whatever’s next.