It’s hard to believe that only three weeks ago I was giving the third of three keynote speeches in March. Then in the span of a few days, everything changed. Every event on my calendar was either postponed or canceled, and suddenly I found myself locked in my home trying to make sense of it all. Just a year into being a solopreneur for the first time in my career, was this the end of the road already? Was it all over just as it was starting to gain momentum? Had all my time, effort, and investment been wasted?
But then I realized: The world needs remarkable customer experiences now more than ever. People want to feel calm and confident, and watching the news unfold every day isn’t accomplishing that. So we look our family and friends of course, but also to the people and companies we do business with, because these are the people we really trust.
As businesspeople, how we react right now will go a long way towards how loyal our customers remain to us when this COVID-19 crisis is all over. Are we looking for ways to be truly helpful and supportive to our employees and customers, or are we just “checking the box” and making sure we too send out an email saying that we’re taking extra precautions and to visit the CDC website for more information?
When this pandemic finally subsides, customer experience will still be the one true competitive advantage. But how we execute it, and in what channels, will change. People will still long for human interaction, but they’ll know they can achieve it in multiple ways. My mother and my sixth grader now know how to use Zoom, and neither did before. Businesses, schools and places of worship have gone fully virtual. Telemedicine is quickly gaining traction. The virtual world is not going away just because the virus does.
Telecommunications companies will have to beef up internet speeds and capacity. Digital security will improve as more people access work from new places. The medical and dental professions will step up infection control procedures. There will be better cameras, lighting, microphones, and other broadcasting equipment. Many companies will permanently relax work-from-home policies, and corporate positions at every level will be available for remote workers. Some companies will even opt to sell their buildings or stop paying huge sums of rent every month for office space that isn’t used, and use that money instead to invest back into the business. The possibilities are endless. Will you be ready?
I have been helping businesses create remarkable customer experiences for more than two decades, and I truly believe that right now is the most important time for companies to connect with their customers and cement long-term human relationships. As a former boss of mine (now a CMO) liked to say, “loyalty goes both ways.” In a time of crisis, we have to take the first step because our customers are depending on us.
To that end, if you need help with anything right now, please contact me. I’m here to help. Stay safe and healthy out there!