Reopening Your Business in a COVID-19 Environment
Corporate Families® across the United States and abroad are beginning to reopen for business and a frequently asked question is how to reconnect with clientele and encourage their “post-pandemic” patronage. After all, many customers are still concerned about COVID-19. Lots of others have been left unemployed or underemployed, so spending their limited resources will involve much more consideration than before our culture agreed to shutter our businesses.
Another daunting reality is that as businesses open their doors again, many will be competing for the similar worried and wary customer base.
What can you and your Corporate Family® do to stand out while we weather this pandemic? Up your game when it comes to customer service!
Most organizations have realized for years that the customer experience, often referred to as “CX”, is vital for future success. In a September 2019 Forbes article, senior contributor Blake Morgan shared these insights on the importance of exceptional customer service: “Without a customer focus, companies simply won’t be able to survive. We are living in a time where we face the commodity trap. Too many of our products and services are the same. To stand out in a sea of sameness, customer experience is the only way to do that.”
As so many of us strive to get our businesses up and running again in 2020, September of 2019 seems eons ago—and the extreme nature of our current circumstances exponentially increases the importance of Morgan’s advice. Focusing on customer service is a must in a season overshadowed by Coronavirus! (For more of Morgan’s article, “50 Stats That Prove the Value of Customer Experience,” go to www.forbes.com).
The LEADon® team has underscored the focus on a customer centric experience in the delivery of goods and services. The results of such an emphasis? Those Corporate Families® typically outperformed their competitors while they concurrently developed a loyal customer base. Research on the ROI for focusing on an outstanding customer experience supports LEADon’s® findings. Here are two statistics Morgan included in her Forbes article:
- 84% of companies that improved their CX increased their revenue..
- Companies with exceptional customer experience outperformed competitors by nearly 80%.
So as not to forget the most important variable in this CX equation, let us look at what customers believe. The Microsoft 2017 State of Global Customer Service Survey polled 5,000 people from Brazil, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States and found “that 96% of respondents say customer service is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand” (for more survey results, see http://info.microsoft.com/rs/157-GQE-382/images/EN-CNTNT-Report-DynService-2017-global-state-customer-service-en-au.pdf). After surveying 10,000 people across 20 U.S. industries in 2018, the Temkin Group discovered that loyal customers are not only likely to become return customers, but they are also four times more likely to refer your business to a someone else. In other words, happy customers become instant business development agents for your organization! (https://experiencematters.blog/category/roi-of-customer-experience/).
With this data in mind, LEADon® recommends you and your team consider the following “A’s” as you begin to reopen business and revamp your Corporate Family’s® approach to customer service:
- Attitude. No matter what your organization’s approach may have been in the past, your Corporate Family® must make customers the priority in a post-pandemic world. A consistent caring and considerate attitude should become contagious in your Corporate Family®, from the C-suite to each individual who interacts directly with customers. Without this kind of customer-first focus, the future for your business could be bleak.
- Action Plan. Create a new organizational Customer Service plan which includes specific details about what the customer experience will be in 2020 and beyond. Cascade this Action Plan throughout your organization so that everyone understands the expectations for your Corporate Family’s® exceptional customer service approach.
- Aligned and Attuned. All members of you Corporate Family® must intellectually agree with (align) and emotionally commit to (attuned) the expectations for CX Attitude and the Action Plan for outstanding customer service. Employees who cannot commit to either the new Attitude or Action Plan should receive “free agency” so you can find team members who are aligned and attuned with your Corporate Family® vision and mission in order to successfully reopening and maintaining your business.
Finally, improving your customers’ overall experience involves many EQ (Emotional Quotient) skill sets. You and your team can access numerous LEADon® blogs on the twenty-five EQ characteristics as you strive to enhance customer service—for instance, find blogs on Service Orientation, Communication, Conflict Management, and Empathy in the Resources section at www.LEADonUniversity.com.
In addition, you, and Corporate Family® members can take the Developing Emotional Competency Questionnaire® (DECQ®) an online metric that will provide immediate results on your strengths and weaknesses in all twenty-five EQ characteristics. The DECQ® results will also provide recommendations to LEADon University® online leadership courses that directly relate to skill sets that you need to improve (click here to watch a video about the DECQ®).
As always, the team at LEADon® is available to assist you, whether you are reopening your business or have any other leadership needs. Please connect with us at www.LEADonUniversity.com or at 858.592.0700.