#10Q: Work different – a playbook for 2020

Getting brands to make sense of the chaos of 2020 and provide a playbook for “creating something better” post-pandemic, with the WorkDifferent ebook.

WorkDifferent, is a report produced by Qualtrics, a partner to the Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) Council. It tries to get brands to make sense of the chaos of 2020 and provide a playbook for “creating something better” post-pandemic; and not going back to the way things were before. That world is over. The report provides insight into how to ‘work different’, with advice from thought-leaders at the world’s most iconic brands. Retailing Africa summarises some of the key points.

1. The objective of the ebook, WorkDifferent.

2020 is one for the history books — a global pandemic, an international movement for social justice, and an economic slump on a once-in-a-lifetime scale. Together, they’ve forced us all to rethink how we live, work, and play. Our preferences, both as employees and customers, have shifted at lightning speed. In the past six months we’ve seen several years’ worth of innovation as people have been forced to adapt new ways of working, actively seek out new products and services, and re-evaluate the brands we choose to buy from.

2. How to make sense of the chaos.

COVID-19 has thrown the existing order into chaos. WorkDifferent is all about making sense of that chaos, and writing the playbook for how we come out the other side — not to go back to the way things were before, but to create something better.

3. Turning the ‘new normal’ into a ‘better normal’.

Together with leading brands and thought leaders, we’ve seen how Experience Management (XM) is helping people to adapt and take action quickly as the world around them changes at an unprecedented rate. The companies that thrive post-pandemic will be the ones that listen to every stakeholder, identify emerging experience gaps, and act quickly to close them and re-define the experiences customers and employees need in the new world.

4. What is this CX success kit about?

The XM Institute has developed a four-stage framework for responding to chaos — react, explore, reorient, normalise. At every stage, organisations need to be able to listen to people’s needs, predict the actions they need to take, and act quickly to close the gap – in other words, they need to master the core principles of XM. In this success kit, we’ve pulled together some of the key learnings for CX professionals from our top-rated WorkDifferent sessions. It features tips and advice for how some of the world’s top brands are moving forward.

5. How CX leaders are working differently.

When Hugo Boss closed almost all of its 431 stores, it relied on its digital channels to drive revenue during the pandemic. With much of the world’s workforce working from home, Hugo Boss listened to shifts in brand and customer expectations. As the need for suits vanished overnight and stores closed worldwide, the Hugo Boss team needed to look for alternate revenue sources. It acted quickly to respond to emerging customer needs — by stopping suit production and focusing on casual looks, Hugo Boss remained relevant.

6. How to move with speed? Be agile.

“We’ve learned that we’re able to pivot quickly and turn things around quicker than we ever thought we could… it’s really changed how we think about healthcare delivery at Stanford,” reported Mystique Smith-Bentley, executive director, service excellence, Stanford Health Care, quoted in the ebook.

7. Your four-step roadmap to responding to a crisis.

From reacting to the initial shock — for example, national lockdowns as COVID-19 hit — to exploring what comes next, you can provide a framework for writing your own playbook:

  • REACT: This stage describes most organisations’ immediate reaction to major changes.
  • EXPLORE: At this stage you’re preparing to reopen and learning what your customers want, need, and are comfortable with as you re-open.
  • REORIENT: As customers and employees start to settle into patterns of behaviour that will stick beyond the immediate crisis, organisations need to reposition their existing offerings and messaging, and create future-looking operating norms.
  • NORMALISE: This is the stage where businesses commit to the new experiences and operating models you have introduced — provided they are working for your customers, to support the new norms that have been established.
8. Digital acceleration must continue to be leveraged.

“This collision of digital technology and a global pandemic has enabled us to move at speeds we’ve never thought were possible before and I think we will be able to leverage that,” reported Ernie Fernandez, chief information officer, University of Miami. Compare the key drivers of the customer experience to your historic data and identify what’s changed recently. Ask your customers about new services, products, or operations you’ve put in place to understand how well they’re meeting their needs. Take a look at your operations — have they been updated to reflect any new offerings and ensure you’re able to consistently meet new customer needs? Communicate to customers about changes to protocols, products, and services as you begin to re-open.

9. Write you own playbook.

There’s no cookie-cutter approach to what comes next: “As COVID-19 hit, we identified a new customer driver we hadn’t seen before — ‘keep me safe’. Because it was so important to customers, it had to feature in our customer experience program,” reported James Scutt, head of CX strategy and deployment, UK Post Office. Take a look at what you’re asking your customers and consider asking more open-ended questions like ‘what do you need right now?’ or ‘how can we help?’ Make sure you’re listening from every angle, and keep a digital open door for ongoing feedback so customers can reach out to you at any time, not just when it’s time for the next customer survey. Consider how this applies to your organisation.

10. Actions you need to take.

Update your CX program to track and optimise the new experiences you’ve put in place. Stay focused on action. COVID-19 put everyone into ‘action mode’ — it’s the best place to be in the long-term too, so make sure you don’t fall back into simply measuring the experience. Again, consider how this applies to your organisation.


*DOWNLOAD the Qualtrics full report. For more on CX and the latest research from the CMO Council, read here.


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