I’ve just about had it with Covid-19 being the excuse for crappy customer service. We’ve been in a world of Covid for long enough now that businesses who actually care about customer experience should have figured out a way to get back to having some semblance of customer service. Many, many, many people want to get back to normal, and maybe it’s not even “normal”, maybe it’s just that they want to have fewer bad customer experiences with “covid-19” as the excuse given for those bad experiences.
It’s easier than ever to stand out with exceptional customer experience. All you need to do is stand out a little bit.
Differentiation has never been more important
Many of you know the product strategy philosophy that we’ve discussed before. Your business product should focus on one of three areas of differentiation: Product Differentiation, Customer Service Differentiation, or Price Differentiation.
During recessions or downturns, the market response has a lot of “movers” in terms of changes to customer behavior. Much of the market has more price sensitivity. But, the customers with money, who value customer experience, tend to become more pronounced in their experience sensitivity. They are also the customers who are the least impacted by recessions… the ones you want to have right now.
How to Soar
This is the best possible time to stand out on customer experience. It’s never been easier to stand out. Find a way to make just one or two parts of the “Covid experience” into something unique and exceptional. Whether it’s reduced waiting times, improved communication, or better experiences through supplemental technology.
There are entire worlds of business and expertise in customer experience. You can do all kinds of research and get all kinds of help in this area. But at the end of the day, you just need to find something that makes your customers enjoy seeing you even in the midst of Covid.
Find ways to serve growing markets
Pivot some of your service offerings to helping with Covid related industries. From healthcare to medical couriers, to food and home delivery. There are some markets that are bursting at the seams. Identify those markets, identify the pain they’re experiencing, and find a way to serve the new needs in the market place.
You have a unique ability to do something that others can’t do right now. What new problem can you solve with your unique capabilities?
Don’t try to be a price leader
If you’re not already set up as a price leader, it’s really hard to continue to do so right now with reduced capacity. You can probably raise prices now more than any other time in the last 30 years and get away with it. BUT, if you do so, don’t piss your customers off by providing a subpar product or experience.
Try increasing prices to the point that you can afford to have decent service.
BUT!!! Make sure there’s some level of benefit to the customer. It doesn’t have to be much but do SOMETHING that’s better than the new norm and you can probably make some large increases to the price that your customers will be happy to pay.
If you are a price leader
Some of you do have a price leadership market position. If that’s you, you are the natural benefactor for recessions most of the time. But, you need to be ready to make changes quickly. You probably need to focus more on supply chain management right now than ever before. Make sure your supply base doesn’t dry up and raise your prices as a result. Be willing to make adjustments quickly.
Make sure your customers still care about price more than experience. They might surprise you.
Keep your customers
At the end of the day, everyone is ready for the Covid impact to be done with. We’re all dealing with more stress than ever before. Don’t do something that’ll end your hard-fought customer relationships. This season will end. When it’s over, some businesses will be better off for the experience. I hope that you will be one of them.