Our world is changing by the minute (or so it seems), but amidst all the disruption, one thing remains constant: women’s domination of consumer spending. That fact alone provides a valuable compass for innovating your customer experience during Covid-19, as well as reimagining what it could look like post-pandemic. [removed] shows that women are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic in terms of their roles and responsibilities, and many of the changes they’re driving in the marketplace may stay with us for the long term. Understanding what’s happening with women is fundamental to staying relevant to consumers.
You already know that women perform the majority of unpaid care in families and households, even when they work outside the home. Under “normal” circumstances, this can include everything from childcare, eldercare, housework, food preparation, and transportation to appointments and activities. When you add in the extra duties that many are carrying due to the pandemic, such as distance-learning supervision, managing childcare during work hours, remote work - or looking for work – as well as trying to keep everyone healthy in an environment that requires minute-by-minute judgment calls about which activities are safe and which aren’t, the impact to shopping patterns is significant.
Deepen insights with women consumers to stay relevant
Given that backdrop, here are 5 ways to rethink your customer experience right now:
1) Engage in radical empathy. A deep understanding of your consumer - what I call radical empathy - is key to understanding the problems your business can solve. Covid-19 has brought into sharp focus the reality of balancing paid work with caregiving. Most of us are working, living, and studying in completely new ways. It’s an understatement to say that many of these new ways are not viewed as pleasant or comfortable. Historically, tackling the “unpleasant” has led to breakthrough innovations that make people’s lives easier and better. How are you gathering the insights that could lead to your next breakthrough product or service?
2) Maintain a spirit of experimentation by creating processes for “mistake management.” This is a time of change and experimentation, and mistakes are inevitable. How can you resolve customer issues in “real-time,” and create processes that leave the customer happier than if a mistake had never occurred in the first place?
3) Emphasize health and safety protocols. Women make up the majority of primary caregivers for both children and the elderly, which means that many are in a constant state of constant vigilance when it comes to keeping themselves and their family members healthy during the pandemic. Make sure to communicate the protocols your business is undertaking to maintain a safe environment – it can make the difference in whether a customer chooses to do business with you or with someone else.
4) Broaden your definition of “convenience.” Many of us equate convenience with “fast and easy,” and while those are important qualities, they’re just the start. From gift acquisition to home repairs to non-stop grocery replenishment, women’s responsibilities for provisioning the household haven’t stopped, but routine shopping expeditions are now anything but. How can you broaden the definition of convenience to make your customers’ lives easier? What services can you provide that complement your core product mix?
5) Make it your goal to delight customers, not just satisfy them. Most of us could use a little more delight in our lives right now.
A truly great customer experience doesn’t just solve a problem: it offers an element of delight that people want to participate in again and again. What’s yours?
While no-one has a crystal ball for the post-pandemic world, deepening your insights with women is a smart strategy for understanding how consumer needs are changing.
If you haven't conducted consumer research since the pandemic started, now is the time to rethink your customer experience.
What is your plan to engage your customers now?