This year has been tough for many of us both personally and professionally. Even the businesses that have been successful during the pandemic will have found new challenges and hurdles to overcome. There are though a number of actions we can all take now to recover business and get back on track.
As we head into the final quarter of 2020 we have put together six top Customer Experience (CX) tips to help you recover your business and prepare for 2021.
Communicate communicate communicate
Between now and the end of the year it is crucial that all of your customers have some form of communication from yourselves. The best way to do this is by talking to them. We have professional firm clients who have picked up the phone and simply asked their customers how they were. This led to numerous conversations and in one case a solicitor called 50 of his clients and picked up 12 new pieces of work. There is of course method in making such calls but all it needs to start with is: “I’m just ringing to see how you are and how you’re getting on. How are you?” Your customers will talk and you will be able to identify their issues and then be able to help them.
Ask for feedback
Now is the time to ask your customers for feedback. Their views on the world would’ve changed and possibly what they need from you would’ve changed too. You could start 2021 carrying on as normal and only find out by default six months down the line that what you’re delivering no longer meet the needs of your customers. It’s not rocket science to ask for feedback and many customers really appreciate it because it shows that you care. However, there is obviously a method of doing it in the right way to get the right results and a high participation. So think carefully about what your objectives are and script some tight questions that are going to give you the outputs to allow you to make the best decisions.
Love your team
Your team, like yourself, have possibly had a very difficult year. Some of them may have worked tirelessly through the pandemic and feel tired and frustrated and have worn your own pain in amongst their working day. Others may have been furloughed and returned to work not understanding the change that has occurred within the business and therefore are left feeling unsure about what their role and contribution is in the future. In both scenarios, they need to be loved. One way to love them is to ask them how they feel and for their input into the future direction of the business. There are many ways to do this such as focus groups, surveys or just one-to-one discussions. The most important thing is that you take decisive action after the feedback. We recently conducted focus groups with one of our client’s team and the number one concern of the group was that the management would do nothing with the feedback. To ensure they did respond to the feedback, we mentored their management group to see the project through to its entirety. Communicating this back to their team has had a huge effect on morale and every week the team can see their ideas being introduced.
Spell out the 2021 vision
Some of your team may not feel secure at the moment and when this occurs rumours creep and speculation in the tea room or online is rife. So in the last quarter of this year taking the team through the vision for the next three years with a real focus on 2021 will get everybody focused on what you’re trying to achieve. This doesn’t have to be long winded, it can be really simple. For example, we have a client who put together four simple messages with four Powerpoint slides and took the team through the vision in 45 minutes. The effect it had on the team was very positive as they knew their role and what the company was trying to achieve. As leaders, we often take for granted that everybody knows where we’re going in truth it is often the reverse.
Take a moment for you
You may be running a business, managing a team, or working on the frontline. Whatever it is you would’ve experienced new challenges this year and those challenges may have changed you as a person and reshaped your personality. You may have felt euphoric one minute and down in the dumps for next. What is really important is that you reflect and think quietly about what’s gone well and what has been challenging for you personally. Doing just that will help rationalise your thoughts.
Give yourself a pat on the back for how you have coped this year. If you’re able to do it, think about working out how you continue with the good work you’ve done more professionally in 2021 would be a great step forward.
Start mapping the journey
Some businesses have been very successful during the pandemic and others have had a real struggle. There were very few that had been normal. The businesses that have been very successful have had all of their processes and people stretched to the maximum. We work with an IT supplier where turnover has tripled in seven months. The team are tired and their processes are very fragile. We are now working with them to map the key journey of their core processes to identify ways they can streamline the process and most importantly deliver a much better customer experience. In just two sessions their lives have already become significantly easier.
The same applies to some of our clients who have had a tough time. They no longer have so many staff and they have had to reinvent the way in which they work in order to deliver the same outcome to their customers with less in-house resource. Again, we can help them by sitting down with a team to map in the customer journey to find new ways of working, for example, new technologies they can implement which would enable them to streamline and be leaner in 2021.
It’s been a tough year for many of us but if you start working on your business with some of the suggestions above in the final quarter there is no reason at all why 2021 couldn’t be one of your most successful years to date. It’s about focus and planning and application and if we can help you with any of those things, or indeed you would just like to have a chat, because we do care about you, then feel free to let us know.