The coronavirus has impacted how people around the world live and work. With billions of people told to stay at home, millions out of work and an unknown future, companies are being forced to change how they think about and interact with their customers. These are definitely unchartered waters for everyone, including the world of customer experience. Here are three stories from the week that show the continued impact of the coronavirus.
Arfa Takes New Approach To Brand Launch During Pandemic
COVID-19 has changed companies’ plans and delayed many product releases. But one company still launched a new brand with an adjusted strategy. Arfa, a personal care brand with big backers, was set to launch its first product right before the coronavirus hit. Instead of delaying the launch, Arfa decided to give its new products away for free. For a small fee to cover packing and shipping, consumers can get free Hiki deodorant products. Consumers are encouraged to share about the new products on social media and build excitement for the brand.
Arfa’s unique approach to a new product launch puts customers first by giving them something to look forward to during an uncertain time. The brand even lowered shipping costs for healthcare workers. Instead of focusing on sales, the company took a loss to share its products, build relationships and show the power of empathy with customers. Arfa shows that even when surrounded by uncertainty, customer experience and relationships should always come first.
Streaming Services Cut Quality To Preserve Internet
With more people working and schooling from home around the world, streaming services have intentionally started cutting the quality of their videos. The change is an effort to alleviate internet traffic and preserve the connection around the world. YouTube has committed to lowering video quality for a month to ease internet traffic. Users will be able to opt in to higher-quality videos, but the default will be standard definition. European regulators have already asked Netflix and Amazon Prime to cut their streaming quality in a similar effort.
Cutting quality to preserve the product is a smart move for YouTube and allows the company, along with other streaming services, to still offer a much-needed service that can reach customers around the globe. Customers will understand the reduced quality because it means they can still stream videos. These streaming services show delivering a consistent experience is important, even if it’s not the experience they prefer to provide.
Amazon Prioritizes Shipping To Prime Members
After announcing that it would prioritize essential orders and seeing non-essential items with a month-long shipping delay, Amazon is again updating its shipping strategy to prioritize orders from Prime customers. Many Prime customers weren’t happy to be paying for a membership for fast shipping and having to wait a month for their items. To speed up shipping, Amazon will hire 100,000 new employees and limit third-party shipments to its warehouses. The new procedures won’t fix every issue with shipping, but they should help Amazon deliver items more quickly to its most loyal customers.
With people staying at home, more consumers are relying on Amazon for a variety of items. Even in a time of global pandemic, customers want to get what they pay for. They are often willing to accept short shipping delays, but having to wait a month for items was too much. By prioritizing its loyal customers and investing in the supply chain and new employees, Amazon can hopefully remedy many of its shipping issues and continue to provide strong service.
Coronavirus has uprooted nearly every aspect of everyday life for people around the world. These stories show how companies are evolving to continue to serve customers during uncertain times.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker and the author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. Sign up for her weekly newsletter here.