Work From Home (WFH) seems to be coming to an end for many. Finally. Being taken from our office environment and told to do our jobs from our living space was not easy. From access to snacks that added weight, to less activity that added weight, to making space that was comfortable and private for working, it was difficult. Many of us who thought we would love not having to go into the office soon found that working in our pjs wasn’t as great as we thought it would be. Of course, we still had to get dressed for the ubiquitous Zoom calls. However, business casual quickly became casual and then an annoyance. Can’t I just leave my camera off? Who cares?
The answer is the customer cared, and the overly casual attitude at home often led to sloppy customer service. Customers got tired of listening to barking dogs, chirping birds, and long waits for answers to simple questions. Good customer service became a bone of contention. Customers no longer expected it. In fact, when they stumbled upon a company with people who seemed to understand and answered their questions quickly, they told everyone. What we had always known to be true became the cornerstone for corporate growth: Your best marketing is cheap. It is done by employees and customers who become brand ambassadors. You don’t have to spend your money on glitzy campaigns. Instead, focus on engaging employees and customers. Get them to believe in you and you’ll have loyalty for life.
Now many of us are going back to the office. Back to business casual, interaction with colleagues, a simpler way of getting answers to customer queries. What have we learned?
It doesn’t matter where you work, it matters how you work. Making the customer feel wanted and important whether you are cramped in your bedroom or in corporate office space is the key. The customer doesn’t care about your problems. Their lack of caring may be upsetting, but it’s a fact of life. All they care about is that the company they have entrusted with their business puts them first.
At the same time, your employees want to know that you, their employer, care about them. If they have gone all out to make your business succeed during a pandemic of epic proportions, they want to be recognized. Rewards & recognition is great. But maybe it’s time to make the public aware of what your employees have done during the past year to make your business succeed. Not just a pat on the back or a day off, but a public pat on their back for going above and beyond. Have special letters from customers? Make them public. Did employees do something to help those in need? Let them take a well-deserved bow. Support your employees, thank them, and they’ll keep going above and beyond when times go back to normal. Even more important, if something unreal happens again, they’ll know you’ll be behind them. Be there for them and they’ll be there for you. Learn the lesson from a life experience we hope never to repeat.