I mentioned over the last couple of weeks that there are some important takeaways from the current crisis. Here’s another takeaway.
There’s a little bit of irony in the title of today’s post. Why do we have to make sure the customer experience is crisis ready? (Employee experience, too! This post applies to both!)
Back in November 2012, I wrote a post titled, Are You Ready For Black Friday? The point of that post is related to what I’m writing about in this post. I’m sharing my updated thoughts on this topic, as they relate to the current situation.
John Kennedy said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”
If your organization is customer-centric, and if you are working to improve the customer experience every day, then today (this year) is no different in terms of what you should be doing to deliver a great experience. Consistency in the experience is key, regardless of the time of day, the time of year, or a pandemic that lasts months or longer.
If, over the last year(s), you’ve consistently…
- Stuck to – and delivered on – your brand promise
- Hired the right people for your organization
- Taken care of your employees, including ensuring they have the tools, resources, and appropriate policies and processes to serve customers
- Socialized and operationalized your core values
- Built a people-centric culture, where people come before metrics, products, and profits
- Understood your customers and used those learnings to design and deliver a great experience
- Measured what matters
- Built and lived all of the other foundational elements of building a great customer experience
…then you know what to do. Every day.
This crisis is a good reminder that people are (at) the core of your business. Given that, you should be treating employees and customers no differently today, during this crisis, than any other day. You should always be caring about your employees’ health and safety, and you should be doing the same for your customers. You should always be delivering appropriate, timely, and relevant content and messaging to employees, and you should be doing the same for your customers. You should always value your employees and your customers. And ensuring that people are at the heart of your business means that you’ll always deliver an experience that meets their needs and solves their problems. Always.
This is important because, according to Edelman’s latest brand trust report, published on March 30, 2020, to understand the role that brands are expected to play during the pandemic, 71% of respondents agreed that if they perceive a brand is putting profit over people, they will lose trust in that brand forever.
So do the right thing. But why is it so hard for some to do the right thing? What’s at the heart of it all?
Culture is really the anchor that keeps the ship upright and in place. Hat tip to Jessica Noble of Magnetic Experiences for sharing the story about Zappos providing customer service for any product at this time. Years ago, there were stories of Zappos ordering pizzas for customers and doing other things that didn’t seem in line with a brand selling shoes. (BTW, that’s not all they do, as you’ve probably already figured out. They aren’t a shoe seller. They are a service company.) This isn’t their business model, but when you have a culture that’s rooted in 10 awesome core values, including “deliver WOW through service,” you know what you can always expect from Zappos.
There are a lot of brands struggling to deliver a great experience right now, doing and saying all the wrong things. With the right culture in place, this would be much less challenging.
I think today’s quote from Zappos founder and CEO, Tony Hsieh, sums it up nicely:
Your personal core values define who you are, and a company’s core values ultimately define the company’s character and brand. For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny. -Tony Hsieh
Annette Franz is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, speaker, and author. She recently published her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business); it’s available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. Sign up for our newsletter for updates, insights, and other great content that you can use to up your CX game.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.