3 Tips For Managing Customer Experience In a Downturn

This week I had the opportunity to attend the webinar “Managing Customer Experience In a Downturn”, led by Bruce Temkin, the head of the CX Institute for Qualtrics. I recently joked that if Bruce Temkin had a fan club that I would be one of the first members! His advice and content is always spot on and very helpful.

Bruce covered a number of topics in this webinar. These included leading through a downturn, the role of experience management and an approach to adjusting CX programs during a crisis.

Here are 3 key takeaways from the“Managing Customer Experience In a Downturn” webinar. I hope you find these helpful as you adjust your own customer support and experience strategies.

1) Urgently decide what to stop, start or continue

In my experience, business leaders tend to have too long a list of priorities. We often start a new year with our top 5 and by the middle of the year, this priority list has grown to 10 or higher.

A downturn is a crisis situation. It is not business as usual. When managing organizations through a downturn, leaders must quickly and decisively decide where to focus the finite resources. Leaders must decide what to stop, start or continue. This is true not only of the overall priorities, but also the actions steps within a strategic plan or project..

There is not time for layers of approvals or oodles of cross functional meetings. Instead, we must build up an organization’s immediate response skills.

2) Customer experience management is even more important in a crisis

In a downturn, businesses and consumers have different needs.  They are spending their money, time and resources on different things.

As leaders we must accelerate the cycles to keep up with what customers think and feel. We must ask less and listen more. Then, rapidly adapt our strategies and actions based on these insights.

3) Business as usual metrics, drive business as usual behavior

Managing Customer Experience In a Downturn

Business executives love their metrics. Employee compensation is often tied to the achievement of these metrics. And, metrics look so pretty in graphs and charts.

There is also a hesitation to change metrics mid stream or mid-year even when they are no longer realistic. I have seen this happen frequently with sales quotas.

As Bruce clearly stated, “Business as usual metrics, drive business as usual behavior.” A crisis in not business as usual. He even went so far as recommending to suspend tracking certain metrics during a crisis. And, to make decisions on different approaches to compensating employees.

In Conclusion…

If you are responsible for leading a customer support organization or driving the customer experience strategy during this downturn, you must act now. This is the time for decisive and swift decision making. This is the time to do the right thing for your employees, customers and shareholders. 

Do you want to know more? Check out an earlier Operations Blog post titled “Resources to Manage Customer Support in the Midst of Covid-19”.

Stay well!

© 2020, Marci Reynolds. All rights reserved.


  1. Customer experience is very important in every business. A happy customer can give a positive impact on the business, So thank you for sharing these tips for managing the customer experience these days.

    1. Author

      Thanks for your comment Noah!

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