COVID-19: 8 Ways to Infect Your Customers with a Smile
by Cory Wright
When faced with a less than desirable situation in life, you can do one of two things:
1. Pout and complain until the situation passes over.
2. Make the absolute best of it.
My approach to the latter has been filled with interesting firsts. Webinar Happy Hours! Live streaming myself grilling chicken. Chili’s to-go Margaritas? Live music on Facebook and Instagram. Downloading an app that helped me locate the space station and multiple satellites visible in the sky like a pro. Getting through an entire webcam meeting without touching my face. Most importantly, helping our customers from a distance.
Now before I sound too insensitive, let’s just all agree that the coronavirus is a *insert your explicit word of choice here.* If I could round-house kick something to the face, it would be the coronavirus. It’s hard to lose someone, it’s even harder when you’re denied that one last hug. Many who lose a loved one never get the opportunity to be with them during their final moments. They are then forced to grieve in the midst of trying to keep from being infected, battle financial struggles, and do it without the normal human interaction and support systems.
We must all be vigilant in observing social distancing to protect our friends who are working on the front lines and those we hold dear to our hearts. Not just those saving lives, but those keeping food on the shelves, taking care of our transportation needs, delivering our packages, and keeping this country running. Everyone helps keep this country running. We all need each other during this unprecedented time.
So in that thought, let’s talk about the impact of being friendly to everyone we interact with. Let’s aim for something even more contagious than the coronavirus; a smile, one of the genuine variety, and from 6 feet away.
Here are 8 ways to delight your customers with a smile:
- Be Prepared: If you didn’t show up to be as helpful as you possibly can, you’re just one more cog in the wheel of your customers pain and frustration.
- Be Sensitive: Don’t be overly enthusiastic. Be real. Times are hard for almost everyone. Focus on help over hype.
- Be Yourself: Let your talent and uniqueness shine through. It dulls the pain that some are feeling from being at home for much longer periods than ever before.
- Be the Ear: Aim to follow the 80-20 rule. Listen 80% talk 20%, or something close to that effect. Show you are interested in their needs by asking them to clarify anything you are unsure of.
- Be Forthcoming: Fully disclose the changes in your process to protect customers. Rehearse this.
- Be a Teacher: Not everyone knows how to do a video chat or in some cases even send a text. Now is a great time to get creative and help them do something new. Make it fun!
- Be Patient: As many are learning a new way of life, take a deep breath. It’s easy to get frustrated but it’s not worth it. Stress reduces your body’s immune system. If you can’t practice being patient, you might become one.
- Be Specific: Details matter. If you have a solution to your customers’ problem, take the time to fully explain it. If a customer needs to visit your establishment, give them a step by step walk-through of what will happen, what they need to bring, and offer to email them a recap. Set a specific time if you need to meet with the customer and provide them with an estimate of how long the process will take.
We owe it to each other to not only practice these principles, but master them in our everyday interactions. Those who do this best, will have an inherent strategic advantage.
I want to dedicate this blog to anyone who lost someone they loved to the coronavirus. If you are able to give, please consider making a donation to the CDC Foundation.