Defining the New Normal: Focusing on the Customer Experience

Americans are living in uncertain times. For many people, their lives, jobs and relationships are different. Customer relationships are changing, too. Businesses still provide excellent customer service. But now they are connecting with customers in new ways, especially online. Here are four ways businesses are defining the new normal and focusing on the customer experience.

  1. Customer expectationsFor years, businesses have focused on customer service. Excellent customer service is essential. But now, in the new normal, companies also are concerned about customer experiences. They are focusing on all the contacts customers have with their services and products. This includes phone calls, texts, emails, websites, chat functions and voice messages.As your business defines expectations for interacting with customers, share it with employees. Teach them how to predict, meet and exceed customer expectations. The goal is to make every customer contact with your business a positive experience.Emphasize that this new normal is more than just another business trend. It should be part of your long-term strategy to better care for customers.
  2. Customer experiencesYour employees are essential to connecting customers with your business. Ask workers to think through every contact customers have with your business. How do you treat customers in every phase of the buying cycle? What are some new ways your business can provide more value at each step of the customer journey? How can employees upgrade a normal experience into something more?Examine your business operations. Do you adjust business hours to fit customer schedules? Do you offer self-service tools to help customers buy products and services? What is the acceptable turnaround time for following up with a customer comment or question? Make sure employees handle every contact the same way, so customers know what to expect.In the new normal, make it your goal to deliver value in every customer experience. Customers will be impressed. It creates customer loyalty and loyal customers are your brand ambassadors. They tell others about their experiences. It’s an excellent competitive business strategy.
  3. Customer communicationsIn the new normal, employees need to communicate well. As an employer, here’s your chance to engage employees and enhance their communication skills.Educate employees about your customers and their business needs. Explain why customers use your products. Share market data about your industry and the competition. Employees can use this information to guide their responses to customer questions. For example, what does your company excel at compared to the competition? Armed with this knowledge, employees can transform a normal conversation into a memorable customer experience.To develop new communication skills, for example, teach them how to write emails that connect with customers. Coach them on the questions to ask to uncover each customer need. Give employees tips to guide customer conversations on the phone and in meetings. This training will help employees be more confident in their jobs and enhance their interactions with customers. Workers will be more professional and able to provide the answers customers want.
  4. Learning curveChanging work habits and communication styles take time. Be patient and learn together. The new normal is not just about modifying how your company does business. It’s more about helping employees provide exceptional customer experiences and creating long-term business relationships.

Marketing Week

Happy Employees are More Productive: Offer Remote Teams the Right Benefits

Over 60% of American employees are working from home since the recent pandemic started. Business experts report that for many employees, this work arrangement could be permanent. And managers know it is essential to keep encouraging and motivating their teams. Research shows happy employees are more productive. One way to maintain employee engagement is to offer remote workers recognition using the right benefits. Here are six ideas.

  1. Technology updates With more employees working from home, employers are spending less money on building maintenance, new equipment and supplies. Invest these savings in giving employees technology tools they need to improve their home office. Offer an allowance for faster internet service or upgrades for digital devices, monitors or printers. It will improve productivity, too. However, make sure your employees protect their vision when using digital devices.
  2. Workspace tools Employees working from a remote office or coffee shop can get distracted by other people and sounds. Give employees headphones or earbuds to help them block out noise. Or, encourage workers to use online apps to cancel out disruptive sounds. You also could provide money for employees to buy a new desk or chair. Using the right equipment can help employees avoid neck and shoulder pain, and eyestrain. You’ll end up with happy employees who also are more productive.
  3. Schedule flexibilityRemote employees often juggle many family responsibilities. Provide flexibility so they can adjust work hours as needed. Some employers also are giving employees more vacation time. Other businesses allow workers unpaid time off to care for family and personal needs. When employees’ needs are met, it’s easier for them to stay focused and productive during work hours.
  4. Childcare assistanceMany remote employees have young children at home. Offer financial help with daycare costs, or before and after school care. Also, consider providing age-appropriate busy boxes for kids to use while their parent or parents are working. These thoughtful gestures will help employees be more productive and keep their kids happy, too.
  5. Well-being programsEmployees enjoy having health and well-being benefits. Popular benefits include help with finances, mental health and physical fitness needs. Just as popular, workers want more training to improve their work skills and knowledge. Offering these programs helps encourage and reassure employees as they adjust to working from home. Review additional tips to help employees cope with work changes.
  6. Rewards and perks Remote workers need regular team meetings to stay connected. These meetings are a good time for employees to share experiences and ideas. During group time, thank employees for their work. Recognize accomplishments with a gift card or special delivery to their home. These rewards encourage employees and remind them that you care. In turn, you will enjoy the benefits of grateful, happy, productive employees.