Coronavirus has been all over the news in recent weeks as people around the globe work to prepare for and prevent the spread of the disease. The global concerns and panic over public health have made their way into every aspect of our lives, including customer experience. How companies respond in times of crisis can have a huge impact on their overall customer experience. Here are three stories from the week that show the impact of coronavirus and the biggest lessons it teaches about customer experience.
Travel Industry Fights To Protect And Calm Travelers
Even global travel restrictions to fight the spread of coronavirus can’t completely stop international travel. But the travel industry has been hard hit in recent weeks and consumer confidence has dropped. Many companies, including Delta Airlines, are working to build confidence in their customers through transparency about their disease control, cleaning and emergency response efforts. These companies aim to show customers that they are proactively taking care of issues in hopes of limiting the long-term negative effect of coronavirus on their industry.
Openness and transparency are huge for consumers, especially during times of concern and panic. By being open with customers about their policies and procedures to keep travelers as safe as possible, companies are hoping to quell fears. The best time to create an emergency response plan is before the emergency. Travel companies’ willingness to openly address their customers and answer questions could help mitigate long-term negative effects and help consumers feel more confident about traveling in the future.
Companies Encourage Employees To Work Remotely And Limit Travel
In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, a number of large companies around the world are encouraging their employees to work from home for at least the next few weeks. Twitter is limiting its events, visitors and travel and asking employees to work from home when possible, while Salesforce is restricting non-essential domestic travel. In many cases, the push for remote work may actually accelerate the future of work and speed up companies’ plans to create flexible work arrangements.
Employee experience and safety plays a huge role in customer experience. When employees are dissatisfied or feel unsafe at work, that translates to their interactions with customers. Encouraging employees to work remotely not only protects them from the spread of disease, but also allows the business to continue running and serving customers, just in a different location. Companies should always consider the needs of their employees, but especially when it comes to health and wellness. Their needs should become top priority, which is what we’re seeing in many companies today.
Coronavirus Delays Product Releases
As coronavirus disrupts how people live, work and shop around the globe, many companies are seeing the impact in delays of their products and services. More customers are staying home and ordering items for same-day delivery, which has slowed down services like Amazon Prime Now and Instacart. Instead of their normal delivery windows within hours of ordering, the services are now getting pushed to the next day from the surge of orders. Many tech companies are delaying the release of new products because of disruptions to the supply chain. A number of video game consoles have already been put on hold, and Apple’s 5G iPhone could also be pushed back, along with a long list of other items.
Quality and safety are always better than speed. Although consumers likely would enjoy getting their orders and new products when they were originally promised, the more important factor is to have quality items that don’t cause the spread of disease. Although companies are often tempted to push through challenges and emergencies to hit their sales goals, more important to long-term success and to customers is taking a step back to ensure things are done correctly and safely. In these cases, it means delaying product launches to protect everyone in the supply chain.
The spread and panic of coronavirus has disrupted nearly everything across the world. These stories show the importance of having plans in place before emergencies and prioritizing customers and employees, even in times of chaos.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker and the author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. Sign up for her weekly newsletter here.