5 ways to build a Recession-Proof CX Strategy

Startek Editorial
Startek Editorial

May 16, 2023 | 6 min read


In times of recession, businesses may have limited resources which makes maintaining quality customer experience (CX) a challenge. However, providing a high level of CX is essential for organizations to thrive, particularly during difficult economic times. In today's competitive market, providing a superior CX can be a key differentiator, leading to increased customer loyalty, brand advocacy and ultimately, greater revenue. Specifically, during an economic downturn, consumers seek brands that adapt and align with their evolving needs and priorities. 

According to a 2020 study by McKinsey, businesses with the best customer experiences had total shareholder returns three times greater than their counterparts who provided a bad CX.

To maintain quality CX during a recession with limited resources, businesses must be strategic and proactive by identifying and prioritizing the most critical CX touchpoints, optimizing existing processes and resources and leveraging technology to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. Additionally, businesses must be willing to adapt and innovate, exploring new ways to deliver value to their customers while managing costs. While it’s important to protect the bottom line, brands must still be focused on their long-term vision and should avoid taking short-term measures that might affect their reputation in the long run.

How can a great CX strategy recession-proof your business?

Recession-proofing a business means preparing it to withstand the inevitable ups and downs of the economy and one of the best ways to do this is by investing in CX. 

Positive customer experience leads to customers becoming brand advocates, spreading positive word-of-mouth and evangelizing to create new customers. A great CX approach enables businesses to understand their customers better and make data-driven decisions to improve their products and services. Investing in CX is an effective way for businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors and create a strong emotional connection with their customers and build a reputation for exceptional service, which attracts more customers and drives growth. Ultimately, a great CX provides businesses with a significant competitive advantage, making it a crucial part of any successful business strategy.

Having a great customer experience (CX) strategy affords numerous benefits for businesses, including making them more resilient to economic downturns. During a recession, customers are likely to be cautious with their spending because of inflation and hesitant to make purchases and can switch brands if their needs are not met Therefore, in times of economic downturn, it is essential to recognize that loyal customers are the backbone of a business, providing a steady stream of revenue and acting as a reliable source of organic growth. 

According to McKinsey companies that prioritized customer experience during the previous economic recession experienced three times higher shareholder returns than those that did not prioritize it.

Here are ways a great CX can recession-proof a business:

Retain existing customers- Gain an understanding of the factors that drive your clients' behavior toward your offerings to increase your value to them. Identify the specific problems your customers are trying to solve with your product or service. Identify factors that may increase the risk of customer churn and take appropriate measures to mitigate them. 

Cut down on noise - To recession-proof your business, it is crucial to focus on what matters most to your customers. Identify their priorities and preferences and invest in those areas to provide the best customer experience. Additionally, look for ways to increase efficiency without compromising on quality. Review your product and service offerings to identify the least utilized by your customers. These areas may be good candidates for reduced investment. Redirect resources toward high-priority areas. By streamlining your offerings and improving efficiency, you can create a lean and agile business that is better prepared to withstand economic uncertainties.

Differentiate yourself from competitors - Emphasizing your unique value proposition can empower brands to be super-focused on high priorities and be more efficient. Additionally, creating a competitive advantage by differentiating yourself from your competitors can help brands to stand out in a crowded marketplace. 

Make data-driven decisions - CX provides insights into customer behavior, pain points and preferences. By leveraging this data, businesses can make informed decisions about how to allocate resources, address common pain points and improve their products and services to better meet customer needs.

Five ways to strengthen and recession-proof your CX strategy

As brands navigated through an unpredictable economic landscape over the past few years, it is increasingly important to prioritize customer experience (CX) and recession-proof strategies. The pandemic accelerated the need for companies to rethink their CX approach, with changing customer behavior and economic uncertainty. To stay ahead of the competition and maintain customer loyalty, brands must adopt proactive strategies that only withstand economic challenges and position them as industry leaders in their customer groups.

CX strategy


Automation is an effective tool to strengthen and recession-proof your CX strategy in several ways:

  • Consistency - Automation ensures consistency in your CX strategy by automating repetitive tasks, such as responding to frequently asked questions, sending appointment reminders and processing orders. This creates a more streamlined and efficient customer experience, leading to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Cost efficiency - Automation helps businesses save on labor costs, especially during challenging economic times. By automating tasks that would otherwise require manual labor, companies reduce staffing costs while maintaining the quality of their CX strategy. Alternatively, by automating routine tasks agents can focus more of their time to adding value to customers with complex inquiries.  
  • Scalability - Automation also helps businesses scale their CX operations quickly and efficiently. As demand for products or services increases, automation enables brands to handle a larger volume of customer interactions without compromising on quality or response times.
  • Personalization - Automation also assists businesses in personalizing cCustomer eExperience. By leveraging data insights and automation tools, businesses can deliver personalized messaging, product recommendations and offers to customers.

2. Self-service tools 

Nowadays, self-service tools such as chatbots are a necessity for a modern consumer experience. These tools are more scalable, yield more financial savings and keep teams focused on strategy while reducing the number of support employees. According to research by Gartner, 20% to 40% of the live volume could be resolved with ease using existing self-service functionalities.

Self-service tools also empower customers by giving them more control over their interactions with businesses. By providing customers with self-service options, businesses show they trust and value their customers, which enhances customer loyalty and brand perception. 77% of customers view brands more positively if they provide self-service options for their support.

3. Data analytics

Data analytics plays a crucial role in strengthening a brand’s CX strategy. With the right adoption of data analytics, businesses identify customer needs and preferences, which informs product and service offerings. By analyzing customer data, businesses understand what customers want and they can use this information to improve their CX strategy. Data analytics help businesses optimize the customer experience by identifying areas for improvement. By analyzing customer feedback and behavior, they identify pain points in the customer journey and make data-driven decisions to enhance the customer experience. Predicting customer behavior enables them to proactively address issues before they become problems. Data analytics also helps businesses measure the success of their CX strategy. By tracking key performance indicators such as customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty, businesses will determine how well their CX strategy is working. Finally, data analytics allows businesses to make informed decisions about their CX strategy. By providing objective data and insights, data analytics empowers businesses to make strategic decisions grounded in data, rather than assumptions or intuition.

4. Product recommendations and cross-selling

Finding new customers during a recession is complicated and expensive. C d cross-selling and product recommendations enable brands to enhance sales from current customers. Using customer data including on purchase history, browsing behavior and demographics to tailor product recommendations improves the chance they will find the recommendations relevant and useful. Displaying recommendations prominently on the brand’s website or app makes it easy for customers to explore and make relevant purchases which also raises the average order value for businesses. According to McKinsey, 35% of Amazon's sales revenue comes from product recommendations made to customers while browsing.

5. CRM integrations

By integrating CRM with marketing automation tools such as email marketing and social media management tools, brands create targeted campaigns based on customer behavior and preferences and automate personalized messaging to enhance CX. Leveraging CRM with business intelligence tools enables businesses to create dashboards that display customer data and performance metrics in real-time to make data-driven decisions that enhance CX.

Recession is a challenging time for businesses, but it also presents an opportunity for those willing to invest in their customer experience (CX) strategy. By focusing on their CX strategy, businesses can weather the storm of a recession, emerge stronger and position themselves for long-term success.

Contact us to learn how Startek® can enhance your brand’s loyalty and engagement with effective cx strategies.

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