Research shows that for 73 percent of Americans, customer experience is the main driver of major purchasing decisions. As customers continue to redefine what constitutes a positive customer experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers must proactively invest in efforts that improve the customer experience to maintain customer loyalty.

The current consumer climate provides facilities managers with the opportunity to enhance customer experience while minimizing spend.

How COVID-19 has impacted customer experience in general

COVID-19 continues to impact customer behaviors in long- and short-term ways. As companies seek to adapt and provide increased comfort to customers, they must recognize which new behaviors are here to stay and which will fade over time. 

Trend #1: increasing focus on safety

It's no surprise that one big change in customer behavior emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic is an increased desire for safe, low-risk experiences, with 18% of people reporting safety precautions remain important in their daily lives. 

While it's unlikely some health and safety changes, like indoor mask-wearing, will continue long term, others, like contactless engagement, are likely here to stay because they're both safe and convenient. Facilities managers that redirect business resources to focus on improvements that make customers feel safe—increasing sanitation efforts, scheduling maintenance, and prioritizing safe floor care—will gain trust from the post-pandemic consumer.

Trend #2: prioritizing fast and convenient service

A byproduct of contactless shopping is today's new emphasis on buyer convenience. Changes that were made out of necessity in the early days of the pandemic, like curbside pickup or fast, free shipping, have now become the new norm. Companies should consider reallocating square footage to accommodate new consumer shopping preferences. 

Post-COVID-19 shopping trends require businesses to have a fully stocked inventory at all times, so customers can get the products they want when they want them. As a result, savvy facilities managers should organize capital projects that redistribute square footage to make room for increased inventory.

Trend #3: providing a digital experience

When consumers were forced to stay home, they got out of the house in other ways—namely, online. Since the beginning of the pandemic, subscriptions to streaming services boomed, as did online workouts, telemedicine services, and mobile delivery apps.

Businesses without an e-commerce backbone have had to rapidly adapt, shifting resources towards customers' digital experience rather than their in-store one. Online services that were was once a hallmark of big businesses, like e-commerce options and a dedicated social media presence, are now vital to ensuring companies engage with customers and, ultimately, survive this pandemic.

Facilities managers can support companies by creating a distinct customer experience that extends from their brick-and-mortar business to their digital presence. Working lightning, safe floors, and clean facilities will ensure customers' in-person experience is just as convenient and enjoyable as their digital one.

Using FM to foster healthcare customer comfort into the future

In times of uncertainty, consumers opt for low-risk scenarios with predictable outcomes. These days, customers are flocking to trustworthy brands in lieu of trying something new. Facilities management can build customer trust and retain customer loyalty by creating a safe, reliable customer experience.

Patients expect a comfortable and predictable healthcare experience, so medical facilities and providers should strategize to create a cohesive, reliable brand. Facilities managers must prepare for breakdowns that can disrupt the patient experience in the office and have a plan to provide the necessary repairs quickly.

For in-person healthcare experiences, cleanliness, safety, and patient comfort are more important than ever. Clean floors, socially distanced waiting rooms, and walkways free of ice and debris will ensure patients have a positive experience while seeking necessary treatment. Additionally, updated HVAC systems supported by ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, which disinfects circulated air, can deactivate up to 99% of coronavirus.

SMS Assist supports healthcare providers in the post-pandemic Environment

Streamlining your facilities management work orders is a simple way to improve the customer experience. For facilities managers struggling with skyrocketing work order costs, there is a solution—SMS Assist. SMS Assist has created a revolutionary cloud-based platform, One by SMS Assist™, that connects property owners with service providers to optimize the industry and save businesses time and money. 

From preventative maintenance to snow and ice management, SMS Assist's network of 22,000+ providers can support facilities management in creating a trustworthy, positive, and impactful customer experience. Request a demo today to see how SMS Assist can change the way you do business.

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