Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have faced many unexpected situations like they don’t have teams to handle customers’ queries and don’t have sources to enable remote work. Because this happened all of sudden, businesses were not prepared for this type of crisis.
As a solution, businesses have implemented a remote work environment and continued their services to fulfill their customers’ needs. Despite moving to remote working, other challenges and economic impacts are lowering down the business performances.
According to Goldman Sachs, 75% of the businesses are bearing loss because of steep dip in sales. .
This is because businesses don’t have effective strategies in place, and shifting to remote working is a very new concept for most of the employees. However, to better understand this changing scenario, some expert tips can be helpful to get through.
So, to know the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, we reached out to some leading CX experts, entrepreneurs to know their opinion and share some business tips.
In this series, we asked:
Andrew McFarland, who develops innovative business strategies also a CX influencer
Claire Boscq-Scott, who is CX Keynote Speaker, Consultant, Trainer and author
Julia Ahlfeldt, who is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP)
Steve Curtin, who is a customer service expert
about the COVID-19 impact on businesses. Read ahead to know their opinion and how this crisis has affected the business world.
Smaller margins of error mean companies will place greater scrutiny and importance on making smart investments. Organizations that fail to quantify tangible business value (from their customer’s perspective) will lose deals and market share to those that can.
Even then, expect ROI standards to be higher when budgets are tight. To take advantage of this shift, companies must redouble their efforts to define, articulate, and deliver tangible value.
Simultaneously, business model realignments will re-establish the very concept of value. Examining retail experiences helps illustrate this impact.
For example, when consumers decide to make food and clothing purchases, they may now rely on delivery instead of the previous brick and mortar experience.
Products and services that promise to streamline in-store purchases will lose traction. Companies facing existential threats may take more risks and be apt to place “do or die” bets in a last ditch effort to transform their companies.
They may attempt to leapfrog the market or their closest competitor. Essentially, the definition of value is shifting and products/services once deemed valuable may no longer be so as entire markets vanish.
In this context, companies that pivot their products and services to adapt to new customer needs/environments will win.
Customer relationships will change. How will companies initiate arms-length relationships with prospective customers? And how will they cultivate relationships with existing customers?
Will Covid-19 cause prospects to be more or less willing to respond to an email or voicemail to engage with untested partners? Or will prospects prefer the familiarity and predictability that come with existing relationships? Earning the attention of a new buyer has already become more challenging.
Customers who value face-to-face meetings will become accustomed to interacting virtually. That means any proximity advantages held by an incumbent will diminish. Will virtual Zoom meetings replace lunch meetings? Can teleconferences compete with team meetings around a conference table?
Customers will still seek relationships. To thrive while others stumble, companies will have to create special experiences that are visceral indicators of how valuable customers are. That may mean a different way to sell or it may mean a more nuanced onboarding process once a customer commits. And because each person is unique, there isn’t a one-size fits all formulaic solution to this challenge. Instead, people will have to align to individual customer preferences and find ways to mass customize experiences.
Yes, every business is facing challenges, but instead of sobbing over the challenges can all of those be turned into opportunities? This pandemic is telling us we need to be agile, flexible, creative, solution-focused and re-evaluate everything we do, how we treat our employees and serve our customers.
Being congruent is about being honest with yourself, self-trust and authentic with others, committing to doing exactly what you are going to do, walk the walk and talk the talk, as well as acting in a manner consistent with your values.
Being open, transparent, communicating with our customers and employees, taking full responsibility for our actions will get you, in return credibility, respect and ultimately trust.
Resilience is one of the key word during this pandemic, the ability mentally and emotionally to bounce back when things don’t go as planned. The fact is that things aren’t going smoothly right now, does not mean that you can turn things around and continue to strive, only you can decide which path you are going to take.
Be emotionally intelligent
Becoming an emotionally intelligent person will enable you to understand, use and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, anxiety, to communicate effectively, to bring empathy and compassion to others, to overcome challenges and defuse conflict. It helps to connect with our feelings, our values, it gets you to take actions and make necessary decisions that are right for you.
And most of all Show you CARE
If there is ONE big thing, I hope this pandemic is going to highlight for businesses, CEO, business leaders is to truly show that they care, care about their people, their customers, and that without them they have no business. I know it seems so simple, but I see so many companies focusing on the bottom line when they should focus on their employees engagement, that I hope this will be the biggest change, bring more care into what they do! Nurture a Caring Service Culture to overcome challenges and see your profitability grow…
Going forward, businesses will need to remain agile, both in the way they respond to consumer demand fluctuating between the in-person and the digital world, as well as the need to keep employees safe as we learn more about this virus and new waves of infection ebb and flow.
Businesses also need to be ready for a world of altered customer expectations, but those expectations won’t be uniform. Anyone who has gone into a grocery story during the health crisis can attest to the fact that people are taking to the mantra of “social distancing” differently.
There are customers wearing gloves, masks and face shields, being mindful of keeping their distance and everything they touch. And then there are others walking down the aisles, going about their shopping and shouting into their cell phones like nothing has changed. There will be a broad range of attitudes and expectations.
Businesses need to accommodate customers with different attitudes towards health and safety, while maintaining an environment that doesn’t endanger employees or customers.
This challenge will be with us, even as we move beyond the pandemic. Even when health precautions become less of a necessity, a heightened awareness of germs maybe a feature of the consumer psyche that sticks around.
The final challenge relates back to providing customer experience in a world with more remote interactions, and that’s remembering to keep the heart and soul of customer experiences, especially as fewer of these happen in person.
Businesses will need to think carefully about how they can maintain emotional connections with their customers. If not, relationships will become transactional and loyalty can easily be eroded.
For most businesses, this will require a careful re-examination of the post-COVID customer journey to identify the moments of truth and ensure that these are not only easy and seamless, but also meaningful in terms of establishing an emotional connection with the customer.
Holly, the technician who cleaned my teeth, wore extensive protective equipment that included gloves, a mask, and a clear face shield. She said that, given the intensity of the ultrasonic scaling instrument ordinarily used to remove tartar, hygienists reverted back to hand tools to reduce their exposure to germ-laden overspray. Holly has been cleaning my teeth for years. Ordinarily, we hug after my visits but this time, under the circumstances, we settled for an elbow tap. On my way out, the receptionist made my next appointment from behind a plexiglass partition.
This experience highlights a number of priorities that businesses, regardless of industry, must take into account as they prepare to serve customers in a world changed by COVID-19:
Customer safety: Conditions including masks, social distancing, body temperature checks, one-way staircases and shopping aisles, mobile and other no-contact alternatives to physical interaction with employees, and other interventions will be instituted to ensure customer health and safety.
Employee safety: Actions that include providing personal protective equipment to employees such as masks, shields, and gloves, telecommuting and staggered shifts to limit the number of employees on-site, social distancing, plexiglass barriers, disposable pads atop work surfaces to catch germs, and added remedies will be adopted to safeguard employee health and safety.
Environmental hygiene: Both public areas as well as those restricted to employees will be expected to be hygienically clean to a standard not seen prior to COVID-19. Hotels, for instance, will be expected to go well beyond dusting, vacuuming, and changing linens. And hand sanitizer stations, antiseptic wipes, gloves, and masks will be expected in settings other than healthcare.
It is clear that businesses will need to adapt to the realities of a world forever altered by COVID-19. And while these adaptions continue to evolve, there are three priorities that will be universally expected: customer safety, employee safety, and environmental hygiene. Those businesses that are prepared to reinforce safety and wellness and, in doing so, instill confidence in customers and employees alike, will have an advantage as the world adjusts to a new normal.
Hope you liked the article! Stay tuned with The Real PBX expert advice series and collect relevant business insights from the industry leaders.
Comment below, how COVID-19 has impacted your business?