Managing customer experience, especially during times of crisis, has become an integral part of maintaining and enhancing brand reputation. It's about building resilience, fostering resolution, and managing reputation through thoughtful engagement and strategic communication. 

I'm Tisa Sinclair, Director, Social Response at AARP. My role encompasses navigating through the complexities of digital interactions, mitigating reputational risks, and ensuring our members feel valued and supported across all digital platforms. 

Through this article, I'll share insights into developing and implementing effective strategies for customer experience in times of crisis, drawing from my own experiences of steering AARP through both calm and turbulent waters.

Enhancing customer experience in crisis

As we delve into the crucial topic of customer experience during crises, it's important to understand the role of resilience, resolution, and reputation management.

At AARP, we are fortunate to have access to advanced social engagement tools that utilize automation, such as bots, to handle transactional interactions. These tools are essential for managing inquiries related to membership benefits, allowing my team to focus on more complex, relational engagements. 

This distinction ensures that we can dedicate our efforts to addressing significant issues, such as political commentary, strategic complaints, and any direct attacks on our digital properties.

My team's primary responsibility is to step in and assess problems that arise on our digital platforms, including social media, article comments, and community forums. We develop strategies, processes, and official responses for both members and non-members who reach out to us through these channels. Engaging and assisting our members where they are, in their preferred communication channels, is a cornerstone of our approach.

Social response

Another critical aspect of our function is response governance. We maintain a transparent communication line with stakeholders who are keen to understand the dynamics of social and digital interactions. By sharing conversational exchanges and reporting on trends, we aim to stay ahead of potential issues and optimize our strategies accordingly. 

Our role extends to monitoring the social media accounts of our executive team, ensuring that any unintended messages are quickly addressed to avoid reputational damage.

While we operate during standard business hours, the nature of our work — dealing with crises and sensitive issues — demands a 24/7 commitment. My team is always on the clock, ready to respond to any situation that may arise, ensuring that AARP's reputation remains intact and our members feel supported at all times.

Managing customer experience during times of crisis requires a blend of automation for efficiency, strategic engagement for complex issues, governance for transparency, and a commitment to round-the-clock operation. These elements are fundamental to building resilience, achieving resolution, and managing reputation effectively.