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CX-19: Customer Experience Tips for a Covid World

Simon Hall By Simon Hall

After visiting a few stores that have reopened during these trying times, I’ve come to the conclusion that the majority of B2C businesses have completely lost focus on the customer experience. As a friendly reminder, I’ve provided some pointers for all the business owners out there.

Tip #1:

I'm not a nuisance, I'm a customer. Don’t treat me like you’re doing me a favour. You’re not. I’m doing you a favour by buying your product or service. I have chosen to visit your establishment, regardless of the ridiculous rules you have been forced to implement by a clueless government. Please ensure your employees are also aware of this fact.

Tip #2:

This is not the Soviet Union during the ‘30’s. If we are forced to line up outside your establishment overseen by security officers, please also educate said officers about the concept of ‘customer experience’. Ask them to refrain from barking orders at anyone who happens to accidentally step out of the ‘social distance’ circle you’ve scratched into the sidewalk, (I’m talking to you LCBO). Just because the world seems to have gone to hell at the moment doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon any semblance of actually giving a shit about your customer. Oh, and consider using the term ‘safety officer’ instead of security. I’m buying a 6 pack, not lining up for a Metallica concert.

Tip #3:

Educate your employees on any new protocols you have been forced to implement, explain why they are necessary, and how everyone benefits. This way, instead of blindly doing as they are told, they will have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish. After you’ve explained these new protocols, you also might want to ask the frontline staff for their opinion, as they’re the ones that will actually be implementing everything. Who knows, they just might recommend some improvements that head office missed.

Tip #4:

If you’re a manager, get your ass out of the office and actually go and observe what impact your new protocols are having on your customers. As an example, if your customers are forced to line up outside your store, make sure there is some shade available. If not, ask your ‘safety officers’ to be on the look-out for any seniors who may be suffering on a hot day in the sun. Maybe give them bottled water (actually - offer this to everyone on a hot day!) and/or offer to move them up the line or guide them to a shaded waiting area. We’re miserable enough having to wait in line, the last thing we need is sunstroke.

Tip #5:

Some of your customers are scared (thanks MSM!). Keep this in mind when crafting messaging explaining your current protocols. Be honest about what you’re doing and why (if you want an example of how NOT to do this, look to our current Prime Minister/Dictator and his daily ‘deep thoughts’ press conferences). People are worn out, and it’s your job to try and make their shopping experience as pleasant as you can. In short, don’t tell me what to do, just ask me nicely to do it (nag rather than nudge). And remember to tell head office to stop with the ‘we’re in this together’ emails they kept sending. I personally don’t give a fuck what your CEO thinks about the current situation we’ve found ourselves in and I’m certainly not buying the ‘we care about your health and safety ‘ line. You don’t. You care about the profitability of your company. Just be honest. Tell me how you’re going to make my experience at your company better than your competitors. THAT’s what I want to hear. We get enough bullshit from the media these days.

And finally, keep telling yourself and your staff: this is NOT the ‘new normal’.

Because it isn’t.