Even before the recent and catastrophic events of COVID-19, the customer service sector as we know it was under siege. A new generation of shoppers, ones that did not fall to the traditional measures of loyalty, were perplexing companies as businesses struggled to understand how to retain shoppers’ interest and wallets. A growing sentiment in many circles was Net Promoter Score (NPS) was no longer as relevant as it once was. New and more progressive forms of measurement like Customer Level of Effort were on the rise with the hopes that these measurements would bring some better insight into the everchanging way people consume.
Enter COVID-19. A global pandemic and an immediate assault on how we not only consume but also interact with others. As we all struggle to rethink how we operate on a daily basis, one thing that is certain – life, business, humanity will likely never be the same. Certainly, the way we think about eating out, buying goods in brick and mortar stores and interacting with others is and will continue to undergo massive disruption upending the entire concept of how to drive loyalty in this new world.
However, an interesting phenomenon is happening as we speak in terms of service. Companies are aggressively and publicly telling their customers about how they are working to safeguard the health and hygiene of their locations, employees, and customers. They are replacing words like “unparalleled service” and “world-class experience” with words like “sanitation”, “social distancing standards”, and “following CDC guidelines” as ways to reassure customers it is safe to visit and engage.
The concept of health and hygiene is not new, but it has interrupted the customer service world exponentially. It has become a hyper-focus and companies are quickly understanding that in this new world, the key to convincing customers to visit will be how you make them feel safe, specifically in terms of health and hygiene. Is your company keeping ME safe? “What is your likelihood of recommending” could be replaced with “How did you feel about the Health and Hygiene practices of this location?” The answer to this new question can be derived from tangible and visible factors, making it even more important for companies to prioritize health and hygiene. Companies that choose not to prioritize this will likely suffer substantial consequences.
I recently saw and experienced this. Like many of us, I received a thoughtful email from a company CEO about the hygiene and health practices that they were implemented as a result of the recent COVID-19 outbreak and how I should feel safe and comfortable visiting any location. During my recent visit to one of those locations, what I observed and what was described in the CEO’s email were two very different scenarios. Simply, nothing changed. The employees carried out business as usual without any additional health or safety procedures. Numerous customers were touching payment terminals without any cleaning between them, and employees weren’t wearing gloves or sanitizing after touching money, credit cards, etc. When a cashier reached for my phone to scan a barcode, I politely retracted my phone, then…I got the look – you know the look. I don’t intend on returning – not because of the service since I was used to that but because they made me a promise to value my safety and health, and they failed. Welcome to the new normal.
COVID-19 brings the dawn of the Health and Hygiene era. To be successful in this new era, companies must promote customers’ safety, and customers will decide – with their wallets – who will win. It’s always been critical to measure your commitments, but now it’s reached new levels of importance. It is imperative that companies consistently measure the frequency with which locations are executing on hygiene expectations and procedures, and they must hold their employees accountable to these standards.
The new normal isn’t simply a negative sentiment or social media post – the new normal is valuing and protecting the health and well-being of everyone.
If you would like to know more about how your company can effectively measure your organization’s Health and Hygiene standards, fill out our Contact form.