Which industries are faring best with their COVID response—and which ones are blowing it?

by | Jun 3, 2020 | Covid-19, Public Relations

Even in these unprecedented times, consumers still have high expectations of the brands and businesses they choose to use. But even above the brand level, they form opinions about entire industries based on the experiences they have at the individual outlets they have patronized.

Some industries are handling their COVID response strategy well, while others just can’t get a good handle on their crisis management. New research from customer experience firm InMoment rates a variety of industries based on consumer opinions about their response to the crisis.

The good, the bad and the ugly

According to the firm’s latest customer experience industry benchmark, CX Standards, consumers say restaurants, shipping, and investment management are the industries that are best responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Meanwhile, they are least satisfied with the responses of companies in the online-only retail, mobile, and television industries, which may be a result of increased reliance on these services while people are sheltering at home and the industries’ difficulty meeting this demand.

The findings also reveal that the insurance, banking, and credit card industries need to improve their current crisis response, or they could be in jeopardy of losing future business. Grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores—the ones we most relied on to get us through the day-to-day aspects of the crisis—were also graded relatively poorly, and customers said their performance during the crisis is important in earning their future business.

specialists in hazmat suits cleaning disinfecting coronavirus cells

What are U.S. companies doing well—and what are they doing poorly?

In the survey, consumers explained what they think companies are doing right when responding to the pandemic, such as enforcing social distancing, keeping everything clean, showing an effort in outreach, providing personal protective gear for employees, taking care of their customers and providing good communication overall.

However, not all companies are providing customers with the communication and transparency they need right now. Specific complaints of companies in the worst scoring industries include clearly being in violation of social distancing practices, not addressing problems adequately and poor treatment of their employees. One key learning is the fact that employee experience (EX) directly impacts the customer experience. This feedback is what all companies should keep in mind—not only now, but in the future.

Global economic crisis. Stacked cargo containers.

“The data clearly indicates that the worst reaction companies can have to the COVID-19 crisis is inaction,” said David Ensing, PhD, VP of research consulting at InMoment, in a news release. “Businesses should enforce and maintain social distancing rules as consumers want to feel safe during this uncertain time. They also appreciate clear communication about what is being done to address the crisis.”

InMoment conducts the CX Standards ongoing study, tracking satisfaction of thousands of customers’ interactions with over 300 companies spanning 17 industries in the United States. The latest fielding includes new COVID-19 questions that rank U.S. consumer perceptions of companies’ responses to the pandemic.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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