As COVID-19 spreads globally, there’s virtually no business—large or small—that isn’t feeling its impact. By now, whether mandated by governments or due to unforeseen circumstances, most businesses worldwide are physically closed, aside from essential services. In the rush to ensure business continuity for their customers, managers and employees across the globe have shifted to working from home and adapting to a fully remote workforce.

Now, there’s a new challenge: supporting customers, who are also stuck at home. 

Getting Digital Customer Engagement Right

In times of a pandemic with limited physical movement, digital customer engagement is more critical than ever. As we’re learning, for most businesses digital channels may be the only way to stay connected with customers during times of crisis. A recent blog post by Forrester VP and principal analyst Rick Parrish shared insights on the new business reality, looking beyond the obvious and offering some very tangible advice on how to get digital customer experience (CX) right during a pandemic. In short, these are emotional times, and companies need to be “more emotionally attuned than ever,” according to Parrish. The blog goes on to offer some great advice on how to connect with customers over digital channels in these challenging times. Take a look:

Get the emotion right for the moment

Parrish rightfully points out that customer emotions are about more than “delight.” Depending on the situation—a health issue, a financial question, a car accident, for example—the range of emotions customers may experience can rapidly change in nature and frequency. This is especially true during times such as these, where most of the world is facing tremendous uncertainty. The advice: Think about the various emotions your customer may be going through at this time, and what they may do as a result. With this knowledge, your customer care teams can proactively plan how to respond—and be ready for a potential flood of emotions.

Apply the peak-end rule—adjusted to the crisis

According to the Forrester post, “two moments dominate people’s memory of an experience: the most emotionally intense moment (the peak, whether positive or negative) and the end.” Parrish recommends looking for your customers’ “peak” experience during this time, and making sure your company supports them at that very moment. The goal is to make this memorable moment as positive as possible by understanding when it may happen and fine-tuning your customer service operations to handle it. This includes preparing your contact managers, teams, and individual agents, and not being “tone-deaf” in the context of a crisis, such as this pandemic.

Communicate more clearly than ever

Not surprisingly, clearly communicating with customers is critical during a pandemic. Why? According to the Forrester post, it’s difficult for customers to focus on information during these challenging times. As a result, “dense language” can put customers off and create confusion. Parrish recommends analyzing your communications for readability and following guidelines to ensure consistency and clarity in all communications. Good advice!

To learn more, read the complete Forrester blog post.