How Covid-19 Has Helped Customer Relationships
(Actual image above of me “helping” one of my customers)
From the “Glass is Half Full Department”, I think one of the crazy and actually positive things that has come from what I call all of this “Corona Craziness” is improved relationships with our customers. Just to spite the virus, I think we have a better working relationship overall with the customers that we interact with.
Your Honor, I submit the following evidence to support my case:
I have found that my customer conversations are much more personal in nature than before. Sure, there is some small talk, weather, etc. but more and more I find customers being very candid about the impact this coronavirus pandemic is having on them both personally and professionally, which often turns into a much more genuine conversation. That line between your work life (and persona) and personal life is now all but gone. I wonder what it will look like after all this blows over. I hope that it stays at least somewhat similar to the current interactions.
Having worked from home for many years, I find it very interesting (and honestly sometimes downright entertaining) watching people that usually work almost exclusively from an office now start working from home full-time. This blog isn’t work from home “fails” – I’ll save that for another time. Just search “#wfhfail” and you’ll be plenty entertained.
The positive side of this is that I think we all become a bit more “human” in our interactions. There seems to be this realization that the people we work with actually do have lives and aren’t just work robots. I have found that we are all learning a lot more about the personal side of our colleagues and customers and I think that is a really, really good thing going forward.
Working from home has “forced” that out of people since they are no longer in the sterile office environment, which brings forward the “reality” of the rest of their lives. Sharing that part of our lives and learning about others, in my opinion, can only help all of our working relationships.
Web Meeting Changes
As someone that has spent many, many years on all sorts of web-based meetings and conference calls, I think this has been one of the biggest changes to the “work world”. Wind the clock back about three months and if you were taking a call remotely for any reason (traveling, sick at home, in between sessions at a conference, etc), it was always seen as pretty unprofessional to have anything distracting going on in the background (dogs, kids, travel noises, etc). It’s like we were trying to recreate the sterile office environment wherever we were.
Currently, however, I think all of that has changed. Yes, you should absolutely mute your device is you aren’t talking, just out of respect to others. But outside of that “golden rule”, it’s pretty much a free-for-all and it seems to me that nobody really cares (in a good way). Kids can make a cameo, your pet can hop up on your lap, you can be walking around your house, sitting on your patio, working in your bedroom – whatever works for you, nobody seems to get wound up about it. It’s just life and we all roll with it.
And I think that’s great!
I think it’s one of the things that has made our conversations more “real” and less “sterile or corporate” as we see people working in their “natural habitat” and it’s entirely OK! We compare notes on working from home tips, virtual backgrounds, desk ergonomics, cameras, microphones, etc. It’s all good.
I really enjoy and appreciate the fact that people are less uptight about web meetings and more comfortable. Sure, there are some that take it to extreme (again, search “#wfhfail”), but I think the vast majority of our web meeting life is much, much better now.
The bottom line I think is that we all “care” just a bit more than we did before. I’m not suggesting that we didn’t care at all before, but since “sh*t just got real” (as I’m told the kids say), I think there is an increased genuineness in our interest in everyone’s (including our customer’s) well-being.
I really, really think that is going to be a solid positive for all customer interactions going forward. It can’t hurt to care more about people, especially those you interact with on a very regular basis.
So keep it up folks – keep caring about everyone. Maybe we’ll all learn to get along a little bit better after this mess.
I can dream right? 🙂
(see you on www.thecupajoe.com soon!)