Is Customer Experience Recession-Proof?


  • An impending recession has forced customers to evaluate their accounts and call the contact center.
  • CX must prove its value to drive loyalty.
  • Flexibility is key during challenging times, and CX should move to agile, technology-driven solutions.

With a recession looming, companies are making drastic moves to stem the tide—laying off employees, restructuring, and removing products.

Amid all of this change and uncertainty comes the question: Is customer experience recession-proof?

Unlike areas like sales that can directly tie their efforts to quotas and revenue growth, CX is more enigmatic. It plays a role in a company’s overall success, with 84% of companies that improve their CX reporting an increase in revenue, but is that connection strong enough for CX to survive a recession?

When I posed this question on LinkedIn, more than half of the respondents said CX isn’t recession-proof. But I believe the answer isn’t that clear-cut.

Customers Need Contact Centers

In many companies, the contact center is a cost center. But customer-centric companies realize the power of the contact center to boost the customer experience.

During challenging economic times, the contact center becomes even more critical. As inflation affects everyday purchases, customers look for ways to cut their budgets, understand their bills, and see where their money goes. Contact centers are valuable in providing personalized service and helping customers, especially during uncertain times.

The key is proving that value to leaders. As much as customers examine their bills during tough economic times, business leaders also review their ledger sheets. To stick around, the contact center must prove it creates satisfied customers, offers personalized service, and has a strong ROI.

Evolving CX for a Recession

But just because customers may call the contact center more during a recession doesn’t mean CX is immune to economic troubles. Contact centers are still expensive to operate, even if they provide great value.

According to the Harvard Business Reviewthe best way to prepare for a recession is to pull away from the competition by developing flexibility, maintaining customer loyalty, and making wise spending decisions. It centers around CX.

To maintain flexibility in a recession, CX teams must look for the trifecta: solutions that cut costs, increase connection, and are easily scalable. In almost every case, that comes down to technology. Empowering customers with self-service tools and online resources makes it easier for customers to connect with the brand and saves money.

CX is the Lifeblood of Companies

To be recession-proof, something must be so ingrained in the company that it is unthinkable to remove. As the differentiator and core of a business, this should be true of CX.

Economic troubles are stressful for customers, and brands that provide assurance and fantastic service during these times can create goodwill. CX is the biggest driver of loyalty and can reduce the cost of acquiring new customers. Those loyal customers and a customer-centric reputation can be your saving grace to keep your business afloat.

So, is CX recession-proof? To a point, and when done well. The world will always need customer service. But that doesn’t mean companies will always have the resources to invest in CX efforts. To succeed and withstand a recession, CX teams must find flexible, technology-based solutions to empower customers and continue to provide outstanding service.


Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist and the bestselling author of The Customer of the FutureFor regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here

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