The Power of R2: Reviewing and Refining Your Services - More Important Now than Ever!
No Choice But to… Go Online, Go Cashless, Introduce Delivery, Introduce Road-Side Pickups…
CoVid-19 is forcing many businesses to re-think how they continue to serve and stay connected to their customers. What I refer to as ‘Fast and Furious’ innovation is occurring in not only large organisations, but in many small to medium businesses – and it is amazing to witness this almost hourly if not daily occurrence.
This is not about ‘breakthrough’ innovation, it’s about ‘survival’ innovation. In the last few days, I have seen the move to the use of only disposable cups and cashless payments at my local café. My favourite restaurant has removed tables to abide by the recommended social distancing guidelines and my favourite fashion stores have extended return periods in case I buy something and can’t get back in store because of self-isolation. Other examples include roadside pickups and pre-packed piles of books delivered to my door from small independent book stores that have previously never (needed to) offer anything other than in-store purchase.
The goal for a business is to survive in a time of uncertainty and perhaps in some cases explore new opportunities that are rapidly emerging, through newly discovered means of customer engagement. For this to occur, however, we have to remember to try and involve our customers – make them feel part of the changes that are being made.
How? Introduce a feedback channel.
Provide an easy and simple means for your customers to comment on the new initiatives, what they like about them and what could be improved. The feedback channel may take various forms like a short online survey at the point of interaction. Sure, there are other options too, but be mindful about how visible you want this feedback to be (e.g., social media may not be the best option). Offering your customers the option to phone with their feedback is another easy option that you can do right now – just remember to record the key messages that you hear and to let customers know what number to call. And yes, even a paper based short form and a feedback box might work for your business (though perhaps if you’re trying to minimise physical contact with customers this is a last resort).
The key of the feedback channel is to:
Provide an opportunity for your customers to feel part of the change that is occurring in your relationship with them and in this regard help safe-guard your brand loyalty. (Even if they choose not to provide feedback, just the option of being able to do so may help them feel connected to your brand).
Provide customer evaluation of your new initiatives, so that they can be refined to best meet the needs of your customers.
Provide a source for new ‘fast and furious’ innovations to help your business survive and potentially thrive in this environment.
So, in short remember the power of review and refine – even in times of high levels of uncertainty.
Stay healthy, be patient, be kind and continue to listen to your customers – it’s now more important than ever.