When one bad thing happens in one part of the world, it can have a butterfly effect – where a small change affects people everywhere in other ways. And there is no shortage of drama happening in the world today. The last few weeks have seen hurricanes, earthquakes and terror attacks. When the media covers so much bad news – it feels like the world is simply having a bad month. And people feel this all over the world, even if they aren’t directly touched by the tragedy. Bad vibes abound. If there’s ever a time where companies can step in to make customers’ lives easier and better, it’s now. Now is a time for companies to step up to make a palpable impact on their customers. Companies can make an impact on customers creating less headaches for customers. This is the best marketing investment you could ever make – simply making your customers’ lives better. That can mean giving your employees the tools and support to do their job, or creating a process that enables employees to give customers the benefit of the doubt. In this column I write about how Apple elegantly marries offline and online customer experience. This makes employees and customers’ lives easier. Other companies today make customers’ lives better by giving back to the community without being asked to. For example you will hear about Tesla and Southwest Airlines – how they recently did something extra to make the planet a little kinder. Here are three examples of how customer experiences can be simple, positive and consistent. And even sometimes, go the extra mile to take care of people during a time of bad vibes.
Three Ways You Can Create A Less Complicated World For Your Customers
1. Give Your People The Tools They Need To Do Their Jobs
It’s a tough environment in general – people often disagree on politics. There’s a lot of hate speech going on, and the media provides a conveyer belt of bad news 24-7. A divided nation can create an uncomfortable work environment when political tensions are high. Many companies have stepped up in the last six months to take a stand against hate. They create signs and send internal memos about the kind of culture they want to create inside the company. CEOs send emails to all staff that there’s a no tolerance policy for hate speech. The workplace is not a place for politics. That’s the culture piece of it. Outside of this, great customer experiences are inspired by great employee experiences. When employees have what they need to do their jobs they are able to provide superior customer experiences. That leads me to the next section on how you can provide employees tools so they can better take care of the customer.
2. Make It Easy For Employees To Trust The Customer
My husband and I have a one year old daughter. Running errands with toddlers is no walk in the park – so we try to divide and conquer to run the house. For example, this weekend I needed to return my husband’s computer to an Apple store because it was the wrong one. Let me first say that the Apple store is awesome because there’s always an army of employees smiling and greeting the customer as you walk in. It’s not like other retailers where you feel like you’re on a deserted island, but it’s actually a large store with no people. That’s not the case with Apple. There are almost too many people there to help you – what a blessing in today’s world! My husband gave me his credit card, and drivers license and I took it to the store hoping I wouldn’t have an issue. I didn’t have to run around the store to find help. An employee helped me where she found me. She had all the technology she needed on her to solve my problem. I didn’t even need my receipt! The employee had all the information already registered in the system. I thought to myself, well of course – it’s Apple! They actually use advanced technology internally to improve the employee experience and make customers’ lives better.
3. Have A Heart And Don’t Be Tone Deaf To Global Conditions
It’s always great to see when companies give back when life gets hard for customers. The world saw disastrous Hurricanes last week – and it felt like a very difficult week for the planet. But some companies saw this trouble and stepped up. Southwest Airlines flew 60 orphan cats and dogs out of Hurricane Harvey. I’m pretty sure those cats and dogs could not afford the seats on the plane. But doing good is a marketing investment. And look – I’m writing about this do-gooder moment in a major publication. That’s how it works. Do good work, get rewarded.
Not only did Southwest flex its do-gooder muscle, Tesla also stepped up and extended the battery of its customers during Hurricane Irma, something a customer usually must pay extra for. So for customers that were trying to evacuate in Southern Florida, the customers didn’t need to worry about their Tesla running out of juice. Tesla extended the distance that every Tesla could go during this time.
People are complicated, and circumstances are too. Great companies today are awake and aware of what is happening around them and pay attention to what is happening in the world. These brands think of the busy lives their customers lead, and how they can work to make customers’ lives easier. These companies are the brands that will thrive because they are listening, they are paying attention.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist and keynote speaker. Sign up for her weekly newsletter here.
First published on Forbes.com.