The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a lot of businesses to change the way they function rapidly. Measures such as social distancing and minimal personal interaction have weakened the communication between the clients and employees.
We, at Ace Cloud Hosting, have always believed that genuinely addressing the client’s needs with empathy can strengthen the bonds between them and the organization.
We reached out to a few Customer Experience specialists to understand how they are tackling the pandemic and guiding their customers to survive it.
Let’s hear what they had to say:
1. Katie Stabler
Katie is a Cheshire-based customer experience specialist and published author, dedicated to cultivating high-value customer experience through data, design, and culture. Her work is driven by the principle “Make your bed, and then make their day! ” meaning get the basics right and then create those ‘wow’ moments!
She has spent over a decade in experience design working within both the not-for-profit and commercial sector and now runs her own customer experience consultancy, CULTIVATE Customer Experience by Design.
Here’s what she has to say:
It’s been a strange year indeed. The ongoing impact of the pandemic has left businesses and customers alike in unfamiliar and uncertain circumstances. But hope is not lost; there is opportunity amongst all of this uncertainty.
When it comes to regenerating our businesses, those acting innovatively and reviewing their existing proposition are the ones who are thriving.
It’s likely that you need to use your resources efficiently, reduce wastage, and look to optimise your profitability. Implement the following steps into your re-growth strategy to do just that.
Step 1. Cast a critical eye on your customer experience:
Before the pandemic, you knew your customers; you knew their wants, their needs, and their expectations. Things have changed, and as such, your customers’ wants, needs, and expectations may have changed. Think critically if your business is still fulfilling their needs in the right way?
Step 2. Innovate with your customers:
Don’t be your own judge and jury- use your best insight assets, your customers. Listen to what your customers are saying, see what they are doing, and let them tell you what they want.
Step 3. Prioritise change:
Continuous improvement is important, but we can’t do everything all at once. So, prioritise what change should come first. Do you have quick wins that you can implement easily and cost-effectively?
There is no better plan than a simple plan. Take these easy but impactful steps to ensure your solution still works for your customers, and you will be on the right path to getting back to business.
Take care of your customers, and they will take care of you.
2. Kaye Chapman
Kaye works to create better experiences for employees and customers. She has worked with global Fortune 500, government, and private firms to design outstanding customer experiences and to embed effective people development strategies.
Now, her passion is managing CX-influenced learning programs for customer-facing staff of all kinds. She has also grown to love writing and sharing ideas around CX, learning, and culture. Because of this, she has been recognized by the ICMI for three years running as a thought leader in the space.
She is a digital communications proponent, a proud millennial, and a tea-drinking British lady. She has written for Zendesk, G2 Crowd, CustomerThink, ICMI, CX Accelerator, Business2Community, and more.
Here’s what she has to say:
Digital transformation has sometimes been seen as a ‘nice to have’ for many types of organizations, but now the pandemic has turned this goal into a clear need.
Right now, I’m working with many companies to digitize their customer communications strategy. If I had to give any advice, it would be to not just try to replicate brick-and-mortar arrangements in digital but truly consider what makes your business valuable and unique to customers, and build new offerings and processes that are a genuine improvement on old ways of working.
Businesses who are thriving right now are approaching pandemic-related challenges as opportunities and not constraints – opportunities to build closer relationships, create stronger culture and values, and serve your customers even better in this new working world.
3. Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession.
Shep works with companies and organizations that want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. His articles have been read in hundreds of publications.
He is the author of Moments of Magic®, The Loyal Customer, The Cult of the Customer, The Amazement Revolution, Amaze Every Customer Every Time, Be Amazing or Go Home, and The Convenience Revolution. Read more at www.hyken.com
Here are his views:
The pandemic has caused many companies to not only invent new ways of doing business but also adapt pre-existing ways to the changing needs of customers and employees. Making any change to ‘business as usual’ can be difficult, but businesses must find ways to adapt.
By the time we come out of this, some companies may go from merely adapting to adopting new practices and technologies as part of their new way of doing business. This will help everyone prepare for next time. Of course, hopefully, there won’t be a ‘next time,’ but it’s still important to plan ahead.
The next ’emergency’ may be as simple as a power outage or broken air conditioning on a hot summer day.
Ask your colleagues what their plans are in times of crisis or even a slight inconvenience. Work together to come up with appropriate company-wide contingency or emergency plans. Remember, planning ahead isn’t just for you and your employees. It’s also for your customers.
The best companies have a plan so that their customers can continue to do business as usual in difficult times. Plan ahead for the worst, and hope you never have to execute on those plans.
4. Matt Watkinson
Matt’s first book, The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences, won the CMI’s Management Book of the Year, becoming the only book on the topic to win a major award.
As a subject matter expert in customer experience, he has been cited by the world’s top research firms and given keynote addresses at every kind of organization imaginable. He is also a Senior Visiting Fellow at Cass Business School, London.
Matt is the co-founder and CEO of Methodical, a boutique customer experience, and strategy consultancy. They do great work for discerning clients who appreciate their deep expertise, work ethic, and straightforwardness.
His second book, The Grid, introduced a simple yet powerful model that shows all the factors behind business success on a single page. Recently published by Random House, it was shortlisted for 2019’s Management Book of the Year.
Let’s find out what he has to say:
Many businesses are suffering as a result of the current pandemic. Some of our friends have already lost their jobs. Many people also want to help but aren’t sure how. We’re all facing different challenges, so there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.
To that end, we’ve spent the last few days working on a set of custom worksheets based on The Grid that can help you: perform a clear-headed impact assessment (regardless of what your business does), identify potential solutions to your unique challenges, and prioritize what to tackle first.
If we can help a few businesses stay afloat or some more people keep their jobs, it was worth it. Download Your COVID-19 Business Plan here.
5. Adam Toporek
Adam Toporek, President, CTS Service Solutions, is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and frontline trainer who helps organizations get results by thinking differently about customer service.
A third-generation entrepreneur with extensive experience in retail, wholesale, franchising, and small business, Adam understands the impact that customer experience can have on the bottom line.
As the author of Be Your Customer’s Hero, the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog, and the co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast, Adam regularly shares his customer experience and customer service insights with a global audience. He has appeared in over 150 media and is regularly cited as a top customer experience thought leader.
Here’s what he has to say:
One of the most important aspects of creating a customer experience strategy today is building flexibility and responsiveness into the plan. With the future more uncertain than ever, leaders need to evaluate their customer’s journey to see how it has changed, how it is changing, and how it might change in the future.
Leaders should install a culture of adaptation so that teams can pivot in response to changing conditions, and they should also keep in mind that the employee experience has been disrupted and requires care and attention as well.
Leading organizations are continuously making efforts to meet the essential needs of their customers, such as security, stability, and growth. Nobody was prepared for such a health and humanitarian crisis, but now that we’re in it, let’s come out of it stronger.