At Your Service: The COVID crutch
By Russ Dantu
By Russ Dantu
I’m getting a bit sick and tired of companies blaming everything on COVID as a scapegoat for their businesses.
“Yeah, sorry, COVID means we cannot guarantee anything anymore.”
“Haven’t you heard about the pandemic? We can’t do anything as fast as we used to.”
“All of our staff is working remotely so it may take 48 hours for us to reply to you.”
The list goes on and on and on. The COVID crutch is out there and it’s causing havoc for many people.
You’ve likely heard this from some of your suppliers as well. In some cases, COVID will cause delays but there are way too many companies using it as a scapegoat now, whether they need to or not.
As frustrating as this is, I see a real opportunity for every business to up their game instead of using COVID as a scapegoat.
What if we changed the way we responded to our customers in a more positive light so it didn’t feel like we were blaming COVID all the time?
What if you have maintained a great level of customer service throughout this pandemic? Maybe you should be using that as a marketing strategy to set yourself apart from your competitors who are dropping the ball.
What if you used this time to really take your game to the next level in all of the places you can control?
Now, more than ever, people are frustrated, negative and at their wits end when dealing with companies who continue to use COVID as a crutch and would likely move to another supplier if there was someone out there who is offering something better, something easier, something faster. Maybe that someone is you.
I hate seeing any business struggle or go under, I really do. People invest their life savings and a ton of hours to make their dreams come true but many fail when it comes to customer service. Everyone says they have great customer service but it’s not always true.
The time is now to set yourselves apart from your competitors. Use COVID to your advantage as much as you can by sharing all the positive ways it has made your customer service better. By simply planting the seed through signage, social media posts and in-person or on-the-phone messaging, you can quickly start building more new customers.
Here are a few tips to help you differentiate yourselves from your competitors.
Start saying yes to every request you can, even if it means going further than we usually do (we should always practice going the extra mile) to help the customer out.
Have enough staff working that people aren’t on hold for five, 10, 20 minutes or more when they call in (I know this is tough when money is tight but think about what you may lose if people get tired of being on hold and decide to shop elsewhere).
Make contacting you by email easy to find on your website. This is a huge pet peeve of mine and we usually see it with very large companies like Amazon, government services andCanada Post.
Do something extra for each and every customer. It can be as simple as a heartfelt thank you. A hearty handshake or hug (when we can). A pen or other promotional product with your logo on. Helping them out to their vehicle to load whatever it is they have purchased or rented. Opening the door for them. Create your own list of 10 above and beyond services you will implement from now on.
Follow-up when you can. This is more important than ever right now. Phone or email them in the middle of a rental to make sure everything is going okay and to thank them again for their business.
If you are hobbling around on crutches in your business, change it now before it’s too late. If you are excelling in your business, highlight those areas so you are seen as a true leader in your industry. Customer service isn’t rocket science. It’s easy, practical and the logical way to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Take care of yourselves, your customers and your employees.
Russ Dantu is a 30-year veteran of the rental industry and has been delivering workshops, seminars and keynotes on customer service for over 15 years. Visit russdantu.com.