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Adapting customer experience in the time of coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has isolated each individual to their homes and has affected every livelihood around the world. Customers are prioritizing needs than wants therefore it is important to cater the business activities to satisfy customer needs. While moving on from the old normal, customer care and interaction has been limited and new strategies should be implemented to provide exceptional customer service.

1) Reach out to your customer with support and empathy.

Reach out and provide support to your customers with empathy. Show that you care. Every one of us is going through a difficult time and adapting to a new situation, therefore, remember to provide a helping hand to your best capability. Some companies have initiated programs and campaigns to care for their customers. Some hotels in Sri Lanka have offered some of their hotels as quarantine centers to people who wished to come back to Sri Lanka. Banks were advised by the Government to provide a six-month moratorium on leasing rentals of all three-wheelers, school vans, lorries, small goods transport vehicles and buses operated by the self-employed. These small changes will support to strengthen the positive relationship between the company and the customer.

2) Strengthen your relationship with your employees and community.

It is important to provide a sense of security to your employees during the crisis. The pandemic is threatening not only the health of individuals but also the economy, which increases the concern of not being able to make ends meet. Provide a safe environment and take the necessary precautions and let the employees know that they’ll be taken care of and that the business stands with them.

Always be transparent about where the company stands in this situation. Dilmah has given priority to ensure the staff were safe and had access to food and medicine. Provide all safety precautions to employees who are risking their lives by carrying out delivery services.

Businesses can thrive with the support of the community. Providing relief and care should extend beyond the immediate customer base. Business leaders around the world have donated face masks, provided care packages to the vulnerable and donated to hospitals to show their support to battle the pandemic. Ceylon Arrack company started to produce hand sanitizer using their arrack production lines to be given to hospitals while technology company Huawei has pledged ICT support for Sri Lanka to fight against the pandemic.

3) Stay true to your company purpose and values

Now more than in any situation people are looking for resources that can support them and make them feel safe by caring and being socially responsible. Go back to basics and approach the overwhelming situation by staying true to your company’s purpose and values. The way a company shows that they care and reach out to not only the customers but the employees and the community will imprint positive memories in your customer base.

4) Don’t Just Digitize, Humanize.

The pandemic has made people prioritize their needs and the demands of people have changed overnight. The location of the physical stores of your business has now changed to your customers’ home. Switch from offline to online has now become a must. Accelerate digital options available and try your best to cater your content to the main languages of the World. The shift to home delivery has become a necessity currently and the customer contact has shifted to contactless operations. This change might be new to a majority of people, therefore, be patient with them and answer each of their questions with care and humility. Let them know that you understand what the customers are going through and be authentic.

5) Provide positive content during this difficult time.

Even the most digital resistant customers are now depending on digital services to have daily needs met. The news and social media has a lot of negative content that can affect mental health of people, therefore, make sure to provide positive and interesting content through your platforms. Let customers know the company’s aware of the changes which are happening right now and be transparent about the changes happening in the company.

Coronavirus is now defining the true meaning of customer interaction and is redefining customer experience. People are now the number one priority for every company. How the company reacts positively or negatively during the pandemic will lead people to change their impression of the company to increase the number of loyal customers and customer retention in the long run.

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