The current COVID-19 crisis has hit people hard. It has impacted the way people travel, spend time together and how companies work. Many businesses are scrambling to enable employees to work remotely, which affects how they interact with their customers. With that in mind, how can you help your employees empathize with customers and keep delivering great Customer Experience (CX) during this time of crisis? Let’s look at five things you can do to help you keep providing great CX.
Quell Uncertainty with Strong Internal Communication
During a crisis, there is an increased amount of uncertainty. Employees wonder what will happen to their job and how they can keep working effectively. Leaders can reduce team anxiety by communicating the company’s plan for handling the crisis and how it will impact their employees’ day-to-day activities.
Executives need to visibly lead their team through the crisis by building confidence, communicating clearly and setting an example. It may not be possible to do this in person, but leaders can leverage tools like Microsoft Teams to maintain strong internal communication.
Prepare Your Team to Provide Consistent External Communication
Good customer experience starts with how you communicate with customers. In a time of crisis, your team needs to focus on empathy, putting themselves in the shoes of their customers. Ask questions like: What do customers need to know during this time of crisis? What’s the best way for them to communicate with us?
Additionally, external communication needs to be consistent. You should train your team to communicate with customers in a way that aligns with your brand voice. Customers should receive the same message no matter who it comes from. Consistency in a time of crisis has a calming effect and can provide a sense of security.
Create a Crisis Management Plan and Make It Accessible
When your business is already in the middle of dealing with a crisis, some may think that the time for strategic planning is over. This is a dangerous mindset. COVID-19 is a great example of a situation that caught many leaders off guard - and if your business was left reeling, then you’re in the same position as many others. But even once a crisis is in full swing, planning can still have a strong positive impact on your organization’s success. Consider the following benefits of creating a crisis management plan:
- Provide employees with a single source of truth
- Clearly identify who’s in charge
- Identify the steps employees need to take to do their job
- Instruct employees on how they should communicate
- Provide metrics for how your team will measure success during the crisis
Disasters aren’t static situations, and your plan shouldn’t be either. Revisit your plan regularly to make sure it still fits the current situation. When you adapt your plan, communicate those changes to your team.
Review Your Company Processes
Anyone who navigates a crisis knows that emergencies change the way we work. Changing how and where team members do their jobs can have huge benefits for your work force, but can also risk reducing efficiency in the short term. The last thing employers want is to reduce efficiencies, so try to look for ways to make the process leaner by removing redundancies and finding ways to help the customer before they engage with an employee. This will make the transition to remote work less burdensome for your team.
Help Employees Convey Authenticity
Navigating crisis can set everyone scrambling to complete important tasks as quickly as possible. This can result in rushed communications that lack warmth and authenticity. To help your employees continue to convey warmth and authenticity during interactions:
- Have employees put themselves in the customers’ shoes.
- Encourage them to acknowledge customers’ hardships.
- Empower them to make decisions.
- Arm them with the tools and information they need to do their jobs.
Start With Leadership
Planning and training are essential to delivering a consistent customer experience. And when paired with strong leadership, it’s possible to alleviate uncertainty and panic. When business leaders and executive teams lead by example, they instill calm and motivate their team to provide the best service.