To Take Your Brand Safely Through This Crisis
Since COVID-19 first hit our shores, most North American businesses have been forced into an uncomfortable balancing act, trying to juggle the immediate needs of customers with long-term planning and budget concerns – all while keeping employees safe and engaged.
For the most part, companies who took quick, decisive action to maintain some level of sales and service have been able to maintain greater stability in their operation. It hasn’t been easy and it hasn’t come without sacrifice. Today, the next phase of dealing with this crisis revolves around questions of “re-opening.” How fast and how far can you swing the doors back open without knocking something over? So far, it seems, there is only one true answer: that depends. But it seems certain that the old ways of running customer care call centers are never coming back. The challenge now is how to re-imagine how you’ll deliver the best customer experience possible. How will you compete in the post-COVID world?
In previous posts, I’ve emphasized some of the planning best practices I’m seeing and hearing about. As you begin – or continue – the daunting task of re-evaluating just about everything, I’d like to share this very helpful, very fundamental reminder of where to start:
Go back to the basics. Consider what creates trust and superior experience at the fundamental, human level. That’s what John Hall did in his recent piece for Forbes. As you read it, ask yourself two critical questions:
- Is your brand currently meeting these standards with our customers?
- If you’re already outsourcing: is your outsource provider meeting these standards with you?
These are the criteria for a successful outsource partnership. Start there. And if you would like to know more about how Skybridge Americas can help you deliver on these criteria, please reach out. We would love to talk!
7 Lessons Of Customer Service That Are Vital To Getting Through Crises
It’s a sensitive time, and customer service has never been needed more. People are vulnerable and scared. They aren’t going to act rationally sometimes, and emotions can take over when people are driven by fear.
It’s important as an entrepreneur, a leader, and a professional to strive to make customer service a priority. It’s harder these days, with normal processes out of whack, but that’s what makes it so important to focus on — other companies in your industry are dropping the ball.
Given all this, I reflected on my relationships with different people, and one stood out for maintaining excellent customer service, even throughout the chaos of the pandemic. Eric Morrison, the market president of Providence Bank, one of the financial institutions I’ve banked with for a while, made a point to be available for questions and walk us through processes we weren’t familiar with. Over the years, I’ve been impressed with his level of customer service and how he handles situations compared to other service providers.
Recently, I sat down with him to take notes on the key factors in his mind when he’s staying focused on customer service. I looked at it from both the perspective of what I’ve valued and what others can learn from my experience and his insights. Here are seven lessons we came up with:
- Care beyond the professional relationship.
In the past, it was viewed poorly if you were unable to keep things purely professional with a customer. However, getting personal is becoming an important aspect of our business culture, differentiating companies that care from companies that simply profit. People want realness and authenticity, and a part of that is adding some personality and depth to a relationship. Get to know about customers’ families, hobbies, and preferences — these details will not only help you personalize your service, but also ensure you’re doing what you can to boost your customers’ well-being.
- Emphasize your core values consistently.
Core values are emphasized as we build our company’s culture. They get us out of bed every morning, and they motivate our employees to go above and beyond. During a crisis, it’s easy to stray from these to survive, but it’s important to stick with them. Consistent examples of when these core values have been met should be regularly communicated to the full team. They underscore how much you value being great, not just surviving. Those are the kinds of companies people want to buy from and the kinds of companies people want to work for.
- Recognize that it’s OK that you don’t have the answer at the moment.
Being a resource doesn’t mean we have all the answers. Sometimes, you can feel desperate to garner business, leading you to say something you don’t know to be true simply to seem like an expert. “I don’t know” is sometimes the right answer. Acting like you know is a disservice to the client, and it doesn’t set a foundation for trust. Pandemic or not, that’s not how you build a lasting relationship.
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
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