Posted on: June 2, 2020
With so many similar products and services for every choice and need, differentiation often comes down to the service that is wrapped around the purchase and your people the customer encounters.
The ‘people’ side of your brand can make all the difference if you’re looking to stand out from the crowd. Done well, it can mean impressing customers so they repeatedly come back for more. Done poorly, it can result in them avoiding you at all costs, and being vocal on review sites to tell others to avoid you as well.
As some businesses are preparing to open their doors again (albeit with Covid-secure measures in place), and as others continue to work remotely, it is important that the people side of your brand is strong and able to cope with what lies ahead. This will help your organisation to support customers as they adapt to life during the different phases of the lock-down easement.
So, if you are gearing up to get going in the next phase, here’s a checklist of considerations to help you strengthen the ‘people’ side of your brand.
Think about what your people need to know to serve customers and answer their questions and concerns competently as the lock-down eases. Use regular internal communications to ensure there is consistency of both messaging and tone of voice in how your people communicate to customers. Practise different scenarios so your team have some experience and confidence in how to handle them.
Whilst the future isn’t clear, the more prepared your people are; the more confident and impressive they’ll be to customers. You may need to train them on working in a newly designed environment to accommodate social distancing. They may need to learn how to work wearing PPE to keep them and customers safe. The traditional customer experience may not currently be possible and so needs adapting. Whatever the case, be open with your team about what the new working environment will be like.
As well as training to ensure your business complies with the latest Government guidelines, discuss what aspects your team feel less confident about. Allocate training, support and practice to these.
It’s likely the customer buying process may now take longer if you aren’t able to have as many staff or as many customers on your premises. Also, if you’re working remotely there may be other challenges your team have to juggle with during the working day.
Whilst most customers will appreciate life isn’t going automatically switch back to what it was pre-lock down, they will get frustrated if the customer experience is overly long and protracted. Being clear in your communications to customers and managing their expectations is key.
Your people will be in the front line of this and they need to blend empathy with being able to promise what is 100% deliverable. The more you can keep team members up to date and the more support your operations can give them will be crucial. Help them to under-promise and over-deliver to impress and delight clients. Do also repeatedly check your business is responding to customers across all the channels they may use to reach you.
People have reacted to the pandemic in different ways and feel a myriad of different emotions to it. Whilst it’s important to maintain your team’s professionalism and customer care approach, now is also a time for greater empathy, for reassurance, patience and a genuine desire to help. Some customers will feel very nervous, stressed and scared in the phases which are about to unfold. Ensure your team are prepared to deal with different scenarios and end up soothing the situation rather than exacerbating it.
Dialogue not broadcast
Doing business successfully in the new working environment is largely going to come through trial and error. Everything is just so new and changeable. As your people gear up to get ready, and once your plans start to be implemented, it’s important to foster an environment for open dialogue.
Yes, make your teams aware of the new working policies that are now in place, but also encourage feedback as they start to work within them.
You will encounter odd situations and obstacles along the way. The quicker your team can collectively recognise, report and remedy them the better. Don’t let small elements of your operations let the overall client experience down. Also foster feedback from across the organisation.
Great ideas and solutions don’t always just come from the top. Empower people to report challenges and share recommendations so your business can be agile and quick to finesse its approach.
Reinforce what good looks like so it repeats
Undoubtedly, the next few months will be a new experience for the whole of your organisation. It’s therefore important to celebrate good practice when it occurs and quickly underline and share the learning points from any challenging instances. Accessible and engaging communication channels across the organisation will aid this. So too will that encouragement for dialogue and discussion.
Can we help?
If you need help or ideas for strengthening your brand, please do get in touch. We’d be delighted to help.