Designing a Post-Pandemic Customer Experience of the Future

The pandemic has brought no shortage of change to the world, and the shift in consumer behavior has certainly been affected. In March 2020, 88% of organizations encouraged or required their employees to work from home[1]. While many of these businesses have since returned to the office in some capacity, it is estimated that 25-30% of the workforce will be working remotely multiple days a week by the end of 2021[2].

This sudden shift in where and how people worked also meant a change in how they consumed content and advertising. The shift in consumer behavior and digital consumerism was sharp and had immediate implications for businesses. Lockdowns across the globe lead to changes in buying behavior and the availability of products.

This consumer behavior change saw a rising need for 3rd party customer care, with contact and call center staff seeing an increase in customer calls, while also facing work-from-home orders. In some cases, wait and resolution time has increased from about 18 seconds to more than 20 minutes, according to a 2020 ISG Report[3].

The Pandemic Shifting Customer Experience Expectations

While change can seem hard to adapt to, it only takes an average of 66 days for new behaviors to become automatic. The length of the pandemic has certainly created several new behaviors which are now considered the norm.[4]

A major pattern has emerged in the realm of customer demand, with the need for digital, at-home and low-touch options. When even basic activities such as grocery shopping and eating at restaurants became difficult, businesses who were quick to accommodate curbside pickup, a broad range of delivery options, and online shopping, saw early success. E-commerce especially became a staple – in Italy, e-commerce sales for consumer products rose by 81 percent in a single week, creating significant supply-chain bottlenecks.[5]

Customers had high expectations for companies to adjust just as quickly as they did to these changes, and to do so with empathy for their customers and employees. Some industries saw call volumes spike, with more than half of customer support organizations reporting an increase in contact volumes, and 37% noting a significant increase.[6]

However, for companies to adapt, there are several internal challenges to overcome, brought by the transition to work from home. Because work from home environments have reduced the level of physical and IT controls, the biggest challenges include issues relating to connectivity, internet bandwidth, telephony, network systems, security, and hardware.

How to Optimize your Customer Experience (CX)

Use data-driven insights to understand your customer journey and manage your workforce in an agile manner.

Your business likely has a mine of information on your customers, and you can gain deep insight into their behaviors prior to the pandemic, and in this new pandemic reality. Dig into your CRM and ERP for customer insights, and specifically look at the ongoing volume, length, and quality of interactions you have with your customers. For our clients that use Mitel’s customer experience tool, this is easily integrated for you on a user-friendly platform.

Embrace omnichannel digital customer experiences and be flexible in meeting customers where they are.

When it’s safe to do so, and your customers and staff are comfortable with it, in-person interactions can yield high quality relationships. In the meantime, it is imperative to offer a variety of methods of communication so that customers can come to you in whatever way they feel most comfortable. Whether that’s offering chatbots on your website, phone and VoIP options, or SMS, your business should consider diversity in your communication platforms.

With the depth of Analytics and AI/machine learning services available, companies are enabled to deliver highly personalized services, which has certainly become the standard for a post-pandemic customer experience.

Care for your customers and lead with empathy in your active and passive customer interactions.

With layoffs and limited capacity for physical labour, many consumers were left in a tight spot at the beginning of the pandemic. Several organizations stepped up to help support those who needed it, including Ford’s “Built to Lend a Hand” campaign, which outlined initiatives including payment relief and credit support, and Budweiser, who redeployed $5 million usually spent on sports and entertainment marketing to the American Red Cross.[7]

While most employees are now back to work in some capacity, the consumer expectation is to have empathy in interactions with businesses they purchase from is still very much present.

Good Employee Experiences = Good Customer Experiences.

Being CX-focused requires a system of shared values and behaviors that focus on employees delivering on-brand and authentic experiences. Hiring and training employees so that they can embody your company’s brand and deliver this offering is imperative. Many organizations have found that the hiring and training processes have been extended due to the steeper learning curve when carrying out these processes virtually[8], so be sure to account for this lag time in your planning process.

Cloud solutions include a suite of workforce management capabilities, allowing for easier management as well as deployment and scalability for remote workers.[9]

What does this mean for the future of CX?

Consumer behavior will continue to change, but we are sure of one thing: digital and omnichannel customer experience is not going anywhere. To gain the most from this shift, it is critical to not only have the right people and processes, but the right technology to enable you to stay at the forefront of good CX. Evaluate your current workforce capacity, processes, and technological capabilities and identify areas that can be elevated to match current consumer expectations or book a complimentary discovery call to explore how digital technology can be employed to save you money and elevate your CX.



[1]Gartner HR Survey Reveals 88% of Organizations Have Encouraged or Required Employees to Work From Home Due to Coronavirus, Garter:–of-organizations-have-e

[2] Work-at-Home After Covid-19 – Our Forecast, Global Workplace Analytics:,by%20the%20end%20of%202021.&text=The%20demand%20for%20flexibility%20in,least%20some%20of%20the%20time.

[3]   Harvard Business Review. (2021). Key Trends for Remote and Hybrid Customer Experience Delivery [White Paper]:

[4] Lally, Phillippa & Jaarsveld, Cornelia & Potts, Henry & Wardle, Jane. (2010). How are habits formed: Modeling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of Social Psychology. 40. 10.1002/ejsp.674.

[5] Adapting customer experience in the time of coronavirus. McKinsey&Company:

[6] Harvard Business Review. (2021). Key Trends for Remote and Hybrid Customer Experience Delivery [White Paper]:

[7] Adapting customer experience in the time of coronavirus. McKinsey&Company:

[8] Harvard Business Review. (2021). Key Trends for Remote and Hybrid Customer Experience Delivery [White Paper]:

[9] Harvard Business Review. (2021). Key Trends for Remote and Hybrid Customer Experience Delivery [White Paper]:

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