Governments across the world have mandated a host of health and safety measures, including the wearing of face masks, to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Many of these regulations mean that customer experiences have fundamentally changed, putting customers and businesses into an unprecedented state of uncertainty. Given the importance of face perception in emotional recognition and speech comprehension, we wanted to understand the impact of face covering on these two important elements of social interaction, and ultimately on the customer experience.
In this new paper, we provide guidance for organizations charged with designing and delivering positive customer experiences within these constraints.
Research shows that face masks affect human rapport and relationship-building as they inhibit facial perception and communication. This is reflected in our study; over four in ten (43%) customers reported that face masks negatively impacted their customer experience.
There is no single magic solution, but important aspects to consider when facilitating interactions between employees and customers include body language, eye contact, sound levels and visual aids.
The paper also presents Ipsos’ CX Service Design framework, which helps brands to understand, ideate, test and deliver customer experience that will deliver on brand promises and desired business outcomes.
With mask wearing likely here to stay, and for some considerable time yet, how do organiszations create meaningful ‘masked moments’ that encourage customers to return, spend and recommend, while also ensuring that customers and staff stay safe?