Many business models have had to change due to Covid as it has impacted the way we do business, the way we deliver on our promises to our customers.
Keeping your customer at the centre of your business has not changed and is more important than ever. We can still be of service to our customers and support them in a meaningful, human, and relevant way.
“Just rolling out pre-Covid service standards like a cut-and-paste, won’t cut it, if your service model has changed.
As previously discussed in my blog Re-Opening For Success, Why Will Your Customers’ Re-Choose You And Your Business
Every touchpoint your customer has with your business leaves a lasting – positive or negative impression. It is important to consider how people feel when you engage them whilst selling your product or a service.
It is critical as a business that your first touch point from a distance lets your customers know how you intend to take care of them and what you may need from them to support you in doing so.
If your customers are interacting or purchasing online or via the telephone this is an ideal opportunity to explain what may have changed and what you may need from them so that they will feel well taken care of.
Clearly state your new service standards but keep your message light and easy to understand.
For example, I recently stayed in a major hotel which I have stayed with many times before and when I arrived one thing I was really looking forward to was having their breakfast. I get this for free due to my high status with this chain. I knew that they may not have been offering their buffet but I looked forward to that breakfast.
When I got there they told me there was no breakfast and so I said, “well what am I supposed to do”? I was told they had little packets of cereal, like a box of corn flakes and long-life milk. I had to pay to have my breakfast somewhere else, if I had to normally pay, it would not have been so bad.
So, my point is, not that they had changed it but that I didn’t know. There was no notification. I received a lovely message saying we are looking forward to seeing you but there was no notification letting me know that they have changed this, and when I asked the reception staff why? She was not able to even tell me why.
They failed to communicate the reason why they stopped it to their frontline staff but also why couldn’t they have told me as part of my booking? I wouldn’t have changed my booking but at least I would have known that that was not an option.
This is the point about changing service standards. The have changed the standard which was their normal breakfast – taken it away with no communication until you arrive.
I ended up speaking to the manager and she agreed that they could have easily let their guest know prior to arrival.
They are not thinking about communicating changes before people are disappointed.
“We must manage customers’ expectations, by doing so customers are left with the experience that they are valued, appreciated and that you care about their wellbeing, especially in this current situation.
Service from a Distance
With little or no contact allowed during COVID, business has become more Service from a Distance based.
The moment a customer interacts with you whether on your website, on the telephone, via your delivery driver or ‘Click and Collect’, it is important that you leave a positive impression.
Don’t take for granted that your customers know your priorities and the standards you have put into place.
You must leave your customers knowing exactly how the system is going to work. If it’s “Click and Collect” send them a message prior outlining exactly what to expect.
Another example, I recently purchased from Bunnings, I used their ‘Click and Collect’ service. Overall, I found the online process was set up really well and easy to follow and I was well informed of what was required from me to collect and what to expect.
It was obvious to me that Bunnings had done the work to create new service standards and train them into their team.
From a distance customers form a number of impressions. These initial impressions may be even more significant than the service itself, which can be very brief. Initial evaluations certainly create expectations of the service that will follow. Good or bad impressions can effectively form the basis of customers’ judgments of staff performance, as well as your own.
Helping your customers successfully navigate a new way of interacting and purchasing from you also means continually training, upskilling, and monitoring your team to deliver new service standards inside of your new business model.
How do you support your team in adapting to new ways of doing things?
New ways of delivering excellence via frontline customer service, for example?
- What new service standards have you put in place?
- How have you communicated these service standards and the reasons why to your team?
- How have you trained and upskilled your team to deliver on these service standards?
- Are you testing, measuring, and monitoring your teams ability to deliver on these new standards?
Especially if your frontline customer service team is now working remotely.
“Having your customers choose you and your business is about providing a high-quality service and an excellent customer experience.
Every touch point, by every employee, every day, without fail, no exceptions!
“It is the consistency you and your team provide ‘every time’ that will not only have your business stand out but ensure your customers come back.
What’s changed in your business?
- What services have changed?
- How are you communicating those changes to your customers?
- How are you communicating those changes and the reasons why, to your team?
- Are managing your customers’ expectations?
- Are you setting up your team to succeed or fail?
Remember the hotel example, the reception staff had no idea why they had taken away the breakfast and in the end said I don’t know why they stopped providing breakfast. Which hardly a very good first impression of the frontline staff.
It’s important to note here that I get the breakfast provided as part of my loyalty. I don’t pay for breakfast. I can understand another customer missing out because they choose whether or not to pay for breakfast.
The difference is I get breakfast as part of my platinum membership and now I feel punished – I had to go and buy breakfast somewhere else.
I didn’t want corn flakes, I wanted eggs on toast.
If you would like to have a chat with me about ‘Service from a Distance’ and customer loyalty best practice contact me I look forward to hearing from you.