Service with a smile?

Delivering customer experience in the face of mask wearing.

Service with a smile cover

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.


In this new paper, Ipsos’ Customer Experience team provides guidance for organisations 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 organisations create meaningful ‘masked moments’ that encourage customers to return, spend and recommend, while also ensuring that customers and staff stay safe?