Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
The Key to Who Survives the Economic Crisis
What will the “new normal” look like? That’s the big unanswered question. There may be some who still think that life will gradually revert to what it was B.C. (Before COVID). But the realists among us understand that any major crisis leaves a permanent mark on our culture. We saw it after 9/11 when our airport experience was transformed almost overnight. What changes to consumer behavior in the current crisis will carry over into the future? What adjustments will you need to make as the “new norm” begins to take shape?How Has COVID Affected Consumer Habits and Perceptions?
Consumer researchers are working hard to determine what new consumer habits will continue forward in shaping the economic landscape. Even more important than their actual spending habits are the significant changes in perception developing within consumer groups.
The COVID crisis has transformed consumer culture in many ways. High-speed internet in homes has suddenly become a necessity rather than a nice perk to have. Online shopping for groceries grew so fast that local stores couldn’t keep up with the demand. Curbside pickup is suddenly available everywhere from the local pharmacy to corporate giants like Best Buy. Companies are battling to out-do each other in their customer care and expressions of appreciation to the “front-line heroes.” It’s easy to ramp-up customer service for a temporary crisis, but how do you move away from that to a sustainable model as the crisis becomes an accepted way of living?
The heightened concern over exposure to health risks is one of the other big impacts on consumer culture. This is one area that has us all guessing. Will we still be wearing face masks in public places a year from now? What about social distancing and disinfecting protocols? Will the fear of health risks make a permanent change in consumers’ expectations and behavior?
Listen to the Heartbeat of Your Customers
Data collected on consumer behavior six months ago is no longer relevant. Everything has changed. What are your customers saying and doing now? How many of their current practices will continue into the future?
People who had never ordered groceries online have now made it a routine. They’ve discovered that having local purchases delivered to their door saves them time and the hassle of entering a store. Prosper Insights and Analytics found that 30% of those surveyed said they were doing more shopping online and expected that to continue in the future. The most surprising was that those over 65 almost matched that percentage, with 28.3% planning to continue their new online shopping habits.
With more people than ever working from home, the convenience of online shopping is magnified even further. Picking up groceries or dinner “on the way home” no longer applies. It remains to be seen how much of the workforce will transition permanently to working remotely. A significant percentage, 36%, have indicated that they would prefer to continue working from home after the pandemic no longer makes it a necessity.
Remain Responsive to Their Needs
Confidence in the private sector’s ability to meet the needs of citizens has risen. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 55% believe that businesses are responding faster and more effectively to the crisis than the government.
At the same time, expectations put upon known brands and companies is higher than ever. On the positive side, 62% believe that brands must play a significant role in addressing challenges resulting from the crisis. On the other hand, brands that appear to be placing profit over people have permanently lost the trust of at least 71% of those surveyed.
As helpful as these new statistics may seem, we are still in a state of flux. What reopening will look like and how it will affect the pandemic infection rates remains to be seen. Similar surveys two months from now may prove these statistics invalid due to unforeseen influences.
So, what does all this mean for you? First of all, it means that you need to be paying closer attention than ever to what your customers are saying. Where do their biggest frustrations lie? What service has been the biggest help to them?
Secondly, they need to hear and see your response to their expectations. That means quick, positive responses to their inquiries, suggestions, or complaints. It means supporting local causes and demonstrating concern for employees in tangible ways. They want to be proud to be associated with your brand.
Guest-Note understands how critical customer communication is during this time. We want to be your partner in delivering a customer response experience that is as quick and personalized as possible. We want your customers to brag on you, so you, in turn, can brag on us.
Monday, April 20, 2020
4 Key Strategies for Businesses Transitioning Out of Lockdown
1. Network with Other Business Owners
2. Creative Cash Flow Strategies
3. Community Contributions Count
- Florists delivering bouquets to hospitals to beautify nursing stations or to nursing homes to brighten up the days of seniors in lockdown.
- Catering services and pizza delivery services providing free meals to healthcare workers.
- Starbucks is giving out complimentary beverages to healthcare workers and emergency personnel for a limited time.
- Discounted rides for healthcare workers from Uber.
- Serta Simmons Bedding is donating mattresses to hospitals.
- Contributions to local food banks from a variety of businesses.
4. Empathy Is the Word of the Day
Transitioning Into the Unknown Future
Friday, March 6, 2020
The Age of Going Viral –
The Good and the Very, Very Bad
With all the coverage of the coronavirus, it got me thinking about viruses and how easily they spread. There is nothing systematic about the spread of a virus, especially when it can be spread through the air. You don’t know who might come in contact with it and spread it to others.
Going Viral – Spreading Like a Virus
Going Viral in a Good Way
- Trader Joe’s Entertainment TeamA crying toddler in a shopping cart isn’t an unusual occurrence. Most of us have witnessed it in a grocery store, multiple times. It was the response of the Trader Joe’s employees that made this moment video-worthy and sent it viral. Instead of just ignoring the child, employees in the area of the checkout counter began singing and dancing. Their decision to engage the child with a fun distraction earned hundreds of thousands of views and a big thumbs-up for the grocery chain.
- Denny’s Restaurant Service to the DisabledWait staff who are friendly, courteous, and competent will always impress diners; the opposite will repel them. The staff at a Denny’s Restaurant in Las Vegas have gone far beyond these basics of good customer service. Visitors to Vegas witnessed and recorded the manager and wait staff interacting with a person with several disabilities. The staff took the time to communicate with the customer via a word board he carried with him. After delivering his order, the staff member spent some extra moments cutting the food into bite-sized pieces. In between waiting on other customers, the wait staff would stop at his table and feed him, something he couldn’t do on his own. Best of all – this wasn’t a one-time occurrence. No ad campaign that could achieve for Denny’s what this social media share did.
Each of these situations demonstrated the one thing consumers want more than anything in customer service – genuine, personal connection. They also demonstrate how far-reaching one action can be for your business.
The Bad: When Viral Becomes a Virus
- Verizon’s Lack of Sympathy for the BereaveLosing a parent is tough, no matter the age or the circumstances. In addition to dealing with grief, the family also has to handle several incidental details, like closing accounts. When a daughter attempted to close her deceased parent’s account with Verizon, her request was denied because she didn’t know the pin code. That’s understandable. However, even after receiving the death certificate for the deceased customer, Verizon continued to send monthly bills for the account and refused to give a refund. Customer service employees’ poor handling of the situation landed the company some very negative publicity. Not something any brand wants.
Apologies and corrective action are essential in combatting negative publicity, but preventative action is always better than trying to contain a virus after it has spread.
- Charter Offers Flippant Answer to Storm VictimsYour home has been torn apart by a tornado; all your belongings sent sailing on the wind. What happens when you call the cable service to stop the billing? In a situation in Alabama after a tornado devastated several homes, victims were told that their accounts could be canceled, but they would still need to return the cable boxes or be fined over $200. When the customer service rep was reminded that the box flew away with the rest of the house, the rep suggested they start searching through the neighborhood debris to find their boxes. When customers began sharing this story online, Charter was quick to issue a statement saying they would correct the situation. What do you think people will remember, the customer’s complaints or Charter’s remedy? I think you can figure that out.
Keeping Negative Feedback Contained
Your Early Warning System
Monday, February 10, 2020
- 65% believe social media is an effective customer service channel
- 50% have praised a brand on social media
- That same 50% have complained about a brand on social media
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
What Happens When a Customer’s Request or Complaint Is Ignored?
Customer Relationship Management in the Digital Age
Poor Response Rates Harm a Business
- 66% of consumers care more about the experience than price.
- 56% of customers will boycott a business when they experience poor customer service.
- people tell an average of 15 others about their bad experiences.
- 67% of customer turnover could be prevented by handling the issue instead of ignoring it.
Why Aren’t Companies Responding?
Solving the Response Rate Problem
Turn a Negative Into a Positive
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Survey Fatigue - It's Real
There's just one problem - surveys no longer work as a reliable proxy measure of customer loyalty. Their overuse and misuse have decreased the value of the information they produce. Incentives offered to entice customers to take surveys have only introduced noise in the data. For a sample to be valid, it must randomly represent a cross-section of the population (all customers). If it does not, the inaccurate metrics can inflate the true measure of satisfaction.
How many surveys a year do you take?
When the expected is represented as the exceptional
The opportunity to deliver exceptional service
The age of Customer Communication Management (CCM)
What it means to be a Customer-Centric organization
Stop Surveying and Start listening to your customers
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