There’s no predetermined “right” way to run a business during a global pandemic. Over the last few weeks, Zendesk has launched its CX Moments series, where leaders from different organizations discuss the challenges they’re facing during this time—and the solutions they’ve discovered. Across the board, companies and consumers alike are making the most of what they have, and tackling an entirely new slew of challenges along the way.
Here are four lessons we learned from industry leaders.
Slack: Communication is key
For many people, working from home for an extended period of time is nothing like how they’re used to working. Those who never needed—or were never able—to work from home before are now on the front lines of a lightning-fast shift in office culture. Suddenly, businesses as a whole are having to refigure their operations across the board, whether that’s how teams are handling a sudden influx of tickets, or how to solve for smaller workplace occupancy limits.
There’s no predetermined “right” way to run a business during a global pandemic.
For Ali Rayl, Slack’s VP of Customer Experience, communication is everything. She notes that the key to keeping information flowing smoothly is to communicate as efficiently and directly as possible. When it comes to balancing over-communicating with potentially overwhelming, Rayl suggests a singular announcement channel. “These are highly curated channels that are intended to be really high signal for people,” she adds, explaining that communicating information once, to every employee at the same time, can help avoid a company-wide game of telephone.
Box and Upwork: Prepare to pivot
When the going gets tough, the tough redefine their metrics and goals. For CX organizations at companies like Box and Upwork, realigning both expectations and purposes can help keep things moving. Any expectation for teams to be performing at pre-global-pandemic levels will put unnecessary, added stress on your employees. Instead, pivoting your focus towards more realistic expectations can keep both morale and productivity high.
Plus, utilizing the workforce you already have on hand can be a game changer. When one department slows down while another speeds up, asking teams to pivot to provide support for one another can build company culture and camaraderie across the board. If the team structures already exist, the company culture is there, and the skills, empathy, and capabilities have already been established, then the company is better equipped to succeed. In times like this, when every ounce of focus has been redirected towards helping your customers, everybody is capable of chipping in.
The Groomsman Suit: Exude empathy
A bit of empathy can go a long way. For The Groomsman Suit, a cancelled order means so much more than lost revenue. Having to reschedule (or indefinitely postpone) something as important as a wedding is already a devastating process, both financially and emotionally. Taking a minute to think about what your customer is going through can help keep things in perspective. Plus, it builds a stronger relationship between you and your customer that will stand tall when business begins to shift back to normal.
When one department slows down while another speeds up, asking teams to pivot to provide support for one another can build company culture and camaraderie across the board.
Focus on empathy from an internal perspective, too. Check in on your frontline workers—when you put your support team first, they’ll be better equipped to help customers as efficiently and effectively as they can. “The message is really to just do what’s right for the customer, whatever the customer requests or needs,” says co-founder Jeanne Foley.
Freshly: Focus on flexibility
When you enable your teams to meet your customers where they already are, you are giving your business the flexibility to maneuver through unexpected chaos. Freshly’s team is spread across three continents in three very different time zones. For the teams in Arizona, the Philippines, and South Africa, maintaining a flexible approach is what makes cross-channel collaboration so effective.
“We’re dealing with food, and no matter what, there’s some emotional attachment,” says Senior Training Manager Jashana Copeman. She describes a scenario where a customer might be ordering meals for their elderly father who lives in another state, and how the current crisis is impacting delivery capabilities. “We’ve always trained for that,” adds Copeman, referring to unique scenarios and unexpected circumstances.