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“Japan’s Stock Market Tumbles and Joins the Dow In Correction Territory” - Barrons

“Stock market enters a correction, down 10% from recent peak” - LA Times

“European stocks close 3.6% lower and enter correction territory amid coronavirus fears” - CNBC

In a matter of several weeks, the high hopes for the new year’s first quarter have rippled the world. An invisible to the human eye organism has gained enormous power across the world, shattering businesses, halting education, and turning cities into post-apocalyptic universes. 

The response has meant changing everyday activity. We've had to limit human contact - from working at home to shopping online. Chinese customer behaviour during the outbreak provides a glimpse of what could come for the world market and a future facilitated entirely through digital.

“Coronavirus: China’s online sales of disinfectant, hair care accessories, massage chairs increase as consumers stay at home” - South China Morning Post

In this time where telecommuting is increasingly adopted as a method for curbing the virus’s spread, customers are spending less time out and about. If your customer wasn’t demanding online order and fulfillment, they most certainly will be now. It’s safe to say that the brands that have adopted an online order and fulfillment strategy are the brands that are providing great customer experience during this period. 

Brands like Uber Eats and Amazon, which deliver same-day food and products to the homes of individuals who have deemed even grocery shopping unsafe. These brands are helping to ensure a safe virus-free environment because of their emphasis on online ordering - which removes the need for human interaction. They have developed their value proposition of ordering and fulfillment convenience. Your brand doesn’t need to develop this capability independently — many small restaurants offer delivery because they partner with Uber Eats. 

Online ordering and delivery isn’t the only thing that can be prioritised. With a large percentage of the workforce working from home, loneliness is likely to sink in. A US report found that up to 20% of remote workers are lonely due to lack of human connection and interaction. While this can never be solved by a brand completely, this demonstrates the need to infuse online or remote interactions with human touchpoints. Consider the ways in which a hybrid chatbot, that is a chatbot with a mix of both automated and human responses, can bring a human interaction into the customer's experience. There may even be a way to integrate more remote video connections that are similar to web-conferences such as Zoom in the workplace. For instance, in the beauty industry the application YouCam connects beauty advisors with beauty shoppers for consultations. Same goes for the healthcare community, where patients can visit a doctor through video with Teladoc.

In both the above strategies, there is a physical product involved.

Another example of business types well positioned for the telecommuting society are the businesses that offer an online service as their product, or software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies. Their product is delivered with minimal or no human interaction and the product is brought straight to them, just like the Uber Eats delivery model.

The demand for these products does not diminish with a telecommuting audience. Further in the case of software-as-a-service entertainment or education, like Netflix, Hulu, Twitch, Spotify, and online learning provider, Udemy, the demand increases.

When workers telecommute, they gain time back that they otherwise would have spent commuting. As students experience school cancelations, they gain more “free time”. Together, this means many populations are experiencing more entertainment time. Beyond developing a SaaS business model, consider how your brand can partner with existing SaaS companies. For instance, schools in China have begun offering online courses, perhaps this “free time” can be used to offer online B2B or workforce training with a webinar provider. Another way to partner with SaaS companies is to explore a promotion, perhaps through offering access to a SaaS company’s entertainment catalog or platform for customers for a period of time. For instance, media streaming device, Roku, offers free trials for both Netflix and Amazon prime for a period of time. 

A brand can also focus on fulfilling a telecommuting customer’s need for entertainment while marketing their own brand. Blendtec’s Will it Blend Campaign from the USA is a great example of this. In 2006, Blendtec, a blender company, began developing a series of humorous content featuring the blending of objects that would normally not be blended, like an iphone. This content was developed to demonstrate the blender’s superior blending capabilities, and developed into a frequented source of regular entertainment. 

 

What’s your online CX strategy?

Garnter reports “81% of Marketers say their companies will compete on the basis of CX in two years."

There’s uncertainty as to when the virus pandemic will subside — and if it will come back again next year. The brands that come through for customers now are brands that will be remembered and create loyalty in the long run. Consider focusing on these providing points:

  • Quick fulfillment
  • Easy online ordering
  • Video-based services
  • Software, online, or cloud solutions
  • Entertaining or educating content

The markets agree. While most of the world markets struggle, brands delivering an optimized CX are gaining strength. In recent days, both Netflix and teleconferencing company, Zoom saw meaningful stock growth. Learn from their customer experience strength in this time and work to prioritize your online touchpoints so your company does not follow the same direction as most publicly traded stocks.

 

Jenessa Carder, vice president, CX strategy at Dentsu Isobar.