This week we feature an article from Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D., C.S.P., speaker, author, and organizational consultant. He talks about how the COVID-19 pandemic changed the customer experience and how business leaders responded. It’s hard to remember those “good old days” before COVID-19. However, I do recall ending 2019 with a very positive outlook on […]
This week we feature an article from Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D., C.S.P., speaker, author, and organizational consultant. He talks about how the COVID-19 pandemic changed the customer experience and how business leaders responded.
It’s hard to remember those “good old days” before COVID-19. However, I do recall ending 2019 with a very positive outlook on the year ahead. I suspect you did as well. As I rang in the new year, I imagined I would spend a lot of time helping my clients drive customer loyalty and referrals. We would work together to put Shep’s wisdom into action, particularly with regard to reducing customer effort. For example, in The Convenience Revolution, Shep wrote:
“Convenience is relevant to your business, no matter what your business happens to be…It would be a strategic catastrophe to assume you are ‘convenient enough’ for your customer, and it’s a potentially huge marketplace advantage to make what you offer the customer a little more convenient.”
Little did I know how prophetic Shep’s words would be for 2020. Nor did I anticipate that technology-based convenience drivers (mobile purchasing, touchless delivery, and curbside pick-up) would do far more than make customer’s lives easier. Those technologies became a lifeline for business survival in a world where a virus made ordinary service interactions potentially fatal.
As a customer experience and leadership consultant, I had a front-row seat to the importance of technology-aided convenience throughout the pandemic. By late February, I’d begun participating on COVID-19 taskforces with a handful of clients. In the months that followed, I worked with leadership teams that were leveraging technology to drive connections with their employees and customers. They were also looking for ways to capture the voice of all stakeholders and foster collaboration between teammates (many of whom had been displaced from offices and relegated to makeshift workspaces).
In addition to conversations and observations with my clients, I reached out to CEOs in my network like Brian Cornell of Target, Hans Vestberg of Verizon, Jeff Dailey of Farmers Insurance, and Michelle Gass of Kohl’s. These leaders and 140 others shared their insights on positioning their businesses to maintain customer engagement and loyalty throughout the pandemic. I’ve shared those insights in my upcoming McGraw-Hill book titled Stronger Through Adversity.
What a year 2020 has been! Amid such hardship, there was much to absorb and appreciate about emerging Stronger Through Adversity. What are your pandemic leadership and customer experience learnings from this most disruptive year?
Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D., C.S.P., is an internationally sought-after speaker, author, and organizational consultant who transfers his knowledge of exceptional business practices in ways that develop joyful and productive workplaces with a focus on customer experience. His insights encourage leaders and frontline workers to grow and invest passionately in all aspects of their lives.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Your Company’s Purpose (And It’s Not Profit)
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