The Pandemic has impacted the whole of humanity; from ordinary people to entrepreneurs, the economic crisis has spared no one. Therefore, it becomes important for companies and startups across the world to accept a COVID-19 reality and focus on growth.
To determine how to ‘restart’ operations well, we reached out to some of the best thought leaders and customer experience (CX) influencers. They had some great insights to offer.
In this article, Annette Franz, Ian Golding, Shep Hyken, and Adam Toporek were kind enough to highlight some ways for business owners to adjust to a new reality and augment their services accordingly.
Customer Service Expert, Speaker, and Author at CTS Service Solutions
COVID-19 has dramatically changed the business landscape for all companies and, in some industries, has completely upended the status quo. From the changed emotional state of customers to supply chain challenges to digital transformation, organisations are facing new challenges with old tools, and old challenges with new rules.
Yet, with the many new challenges CX leaders are facing, the most difficult is strategic planning. What will the future look like in the next 3 weeks, 6 months, or 1 year? Where should they invest? Should they suspend or stop current investments? How should they prepare for an unpredictable future? How should they support their teams, alter their customer journeys, and shift their business model as per the need of the hour?
Strategic planning is only as effective as one’s ability to predict the probabilities of future outcomes, and we are truly not looking at a ‘world changed by COVID’ as much as a world that is constantly changing because of COVID.
Today, CX leaders should focus on game planning potential scenarios for their industries that take into account the most likely COVID outcomes. They should focus on operational execution, culture and team support, and, of course, the customer’s altered expectations and heightened emotions.
Be flexible, be fast, and always be empathetic.
Founder and CEO, CX Journey Inc.
Many businesses have changed their way of doing things as a result of COVID. My hope is that some permanent outcome, as a result of the current situation, includes expanded business processes and policies that help protect employees and customers and become the new norm; that stupid and outdated policies are updated or killed; that leaders view the experience for employees and customers differently; that employees continue to be put first; and that they see that change is hard but necessary and doable! Look what some companies accomplished in a few short weeks (days)!
Certified customer experience professional, speaker, and blogger
We are living in unprecedented times—of that, there is no doubt. Whilst many businesses have always had ‘disaster recovery plans’ in place, few would ever have imagined that they would have needed to use them — especially not in these circumstances.
The COVID-19 crisis has been challenging, if not catastrophic, for human beings all around the world — from both a health and business perspective.
When things go wrong, unexpectedly, it is completely natural for your body and brain to panic. We all go through different emotional states — from panic, denial, frustration, and anger to apathy and confusion. There are several interpretations of the ‘change curve’, a model originally developed in the 1960s by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross to explain the grieving process. It is a model that has been widely utilised as a method of helping people understand their reactions to significant change or upheaval — it is an immensely powerful model to explain what is happening now.
Understanding how humans’ transition through these different emotional states is extremely important for businesses trying to deal with the current situation. Customers AND employees are all humans, by the way! The better able businesses are at understanding the emotion of customers and employees, the better able businesses will be to NOT react to the current crisis but to ADAPT and RESPOND to it. The way businesses adapt and respond will define them now and in the future.
Now more than ever before, businesses need to recognise the importance of treating employees and customers as human beings. Instead of focussing on ‘money first’, they need to start thinking ‘people first.’
I have always believed that the most important underlying principle of customer experience is the principle of empathy. The ability to understand and share the feelings of another person—empathy—is a core driver of sustainable business growth. Empathy builds advocacy with a customer—it turns them into ‘fans.’ Fans become loyal. The more loyal customers a business has, the more they will spend, and the more likely they are to recommend you to others. The more loyal, spending customers a business has, the more money it will make—it is not complicated!
Customer service & experience expert, NY Times bestselling author, and keynote speaker
COVID-19 has made significant changes to the business landscape. One of the most obvious is that it pushed us, technologically, three to five years into the future in a period of two or three months. The technology companies are using today was always there—it just wasn’t used as often as it is today. It’s not that it’s innovation. It’s more about adoption and adaptation. Moving forward, companies must embrace these technologies and recognise that this is what customers expect.
Communication tools are essential to every business. Businesses must challenge themselves to see how far they can go with communication tools and digital tools, allowing customers to connect with them using easier ways than before. The result will be a more efficient way to communicate. The concern will be that these digital channels could potentially get in the way of the human-to-human relationship.
Companies must create a balance between using digital technology and human interactions to communicate with customers. The best companies are the ones that will find this balance.
As businesses start to reopen, there are some interesting opportunities and challenges that businesses of all types will encounter. COVID-19 brought out the best and worst in companies and customers—personalities were magnified. If a company was already very customer-focussed, they appeared to become even more customer-focussed. If an employee or customer was nervous, frustrated, or concerned, that was exacerbated by the crisis. On the other hand, if they were optimistic and forward-thinking, then that is what’s magnified. Which of your traits will be amplified? Everyone needs to keep this in mind when navigating the changing landscape of business and customer service.
We hope you find the article useful and can find some key points to implement in your business. Stay connected with The Real PBX to get more expert advice like this and gather essential information and insights from worldwide business leaders.
Comment below, what challenges are you facing due to COVID-19 pandemic in your business?