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In the past, during times of crisis, we came together to march, to riot, to hold hands, to sing. We are social animals. The past weeks and months feel disorientating and different because our human instinct is to connect rather than to isolate.

For those who are currently working online, we’ve traded in-person meetings for zoom calls. We’re experimenting with tech, but also finding ourselves really tired at the end of the day because of the dissonance we experience when talking through a computer.

How then can we still communicate and touch each other’s lives?

Getting personal

When reaching out to those around you it’s more important than ever that your customers get the sense of you as a human being. Realise that people won’t respond to an identical customer-facing script, and look carefully to see where there could be opportunities to create special moments. These don’t need to be expensive or unachievable, and can be as simple as a well-worded email response.

Spotify delights in connecting with their customers in a thoughtful way, creating remarkable moments from simple customer care interactions. These lead to customers sharing in public the experience they have had with you and your business.

The American based shoe and clothing retailer, Zappos, is renowned for their excellent customer engagement. They have recently launched a service where the public can ask them anything during this time of Covid-19. They’re doing this in keeping with their purpose as a customer-service ‘obsessed’ brand.

Do you know what your customers’ experience of your brand is, and how this affects their decision to engage with you or commit to a purchase? Journey-mapping is a service that Nicework offers, where we can detail your customer experience, put it into perspective for you, and see what changes will make it a success. Sound like something your business needs? Book a call –>

Getting involved

Consider involving your customers in feedback on your next product or service –  by asking for input, you can gather valuable insights into what would be relevant to your customers, and what they really enjoy from your brand. Polls and surveys are easy to set up on Instagram and Facebook and can also give you information about what isn’t working, and what you could change. 

Collaboration for change

During this time of restriction, there are opportunities for unlikely connections. Would you be better able to get your product to market sooner if you partnered with someone who was able to be a conduit for your business?  What services complement what you offer? 

Exclusive Books have recently partnered with Uber Eats to get their books into the hands of their customers during lockdown. Here at Nicework, we joined forces with Once Travel to create Ubuntu Beds, a service that links tired medical workers to empty hotels in the hospitality industry. 

Looking inside

Keeping company culture alive during this time is important, as your employees are most likely feeling displaced. Focus on inclusivity, where everyone can participate, whether they are in your same-time zone or not.

A daily team check-in in the morning can set the tone for the day, making sure problems are flagged ahead of time. Try kicking meetings off with an ice-breaker or a quick warm-up exercise. 

At Nicework, we use lunchtimes as an opportunity to chat about anything unrelated to work – and bringing your sandwich, pets or kids to the call is always a bonus. Virtual happy hours are also easy to set up too (provided you’ve still got some drinks in stock ;))

When we’re physically apart from each other, sharing and opening up creates a sense of happiness and connection.

Connect local

There are many ways for you, and your team to get involved in local initiatives, beyond the donation of money. Now that Stage 4 has opened up, eat from your local restaurants, order delivery and tip heavily. It could be fund-raising for a feeding project, or volunteering part of your sales to go towards a cause you are passionate about.

In a local good news story, two Spars in the Western Cape have come up with simple ways to support the businesses around them.

Sharing that you care about others will leave a lasting impression.

What are your next steps?

  1. Assess where in your current system you could be creating a better interaction for your customers
  2. Ask for input – involve your customers in your product or service offering
  3. Check on your internal team – a healthy culture at work is still possible while working online
  4. Support local and share what you are doing with the public
This article is an expansion of Thought 03 from Finding North (again). Finding North (again) contains 10 thoughts to help you define your approach to the shift that Coronavirus has brought. Download it here.

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