How to Proactively Approach a Crisis

Written by CultureCon Guest Blogger Lindsey Ryan


There is no doubt the effects of COVID-19; social isolation and movement restrictions are not only altering the way organizations are interacting with their customers and employees but are also shifting the expectations of customers and employees. While we have led and managed through ambiguity in the past, we are living in unique times with increased confusion and a desire for stability. Your customers and employees will have a new perspective on what’s important to them. But what will that be? There will be new opportunities on the horizon and that requires a proactive approach and innovation to prepare for such a change. Let’s consider the following ideas:


DETERMINE WHAT SHIFTED:

The world has changed; recent events will have a lasting effect. It is essential to determine what attitudes and needs will be different for your customers and employees once we return to our next normal. To determine what’s shifted, ask yourself the following:

  • Will customers and employees prefer remote meetings and virtual services even when physical restrictions have lifted?

  • What changes in safety and security standards both on and off-line may continue into our new reality?

  • Spend some time thinking about how your business operated before COVID-19. What shifts have you made recently, and where there is potential to maintain such innovation or improve upon current services once the daily threat has subsided?

DISCOVER WHAT MAY CONTINUE TO SHIFT:

Being prepared for a boom can be just as important as being ready for a downturn. For example, the current demand for specific medical equipment created a supply gap that many providers are now scrambling to fill.

  • In the near future, what new or increased demand for goods and services will be present in your industry?

  • What will your customers and employees need to meet these new demands? Think about your operating model as a whole, spend some time anticipating your customer’s and employee’s journey.

  • Understanding the environment as a whole will help you better identify potential gaps and demand increases to get ahead of the curve.

LOOK FOR THE OPPORTUNITIES:

In a recent Forbes article, Heather McGowan discusses How The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Accelerating The Future Of Work.

  • What new opportunities can you now explore regarding business processes, multi-channel customer interactions, and culture that may not have been possible before?

  • Think now about how you can utilize the shift to virtual to retool your organization, upskill employees, and connect with customers.

EMBRACE AGILITY:

Companies and organizations that demonstrate an ability to adapt to changing environments and innovate in order to continue to meet customer and employee needs will not only survive this time but will thrive and will be better equipped to handle future changes. This requires companies to adopt agile principles, like iteration and seeking feedback, so they can pivot when needed and do so effectively.

  • How can you continue to meet customers and employees where they are? What small, incremental changes can you make to reach them?

  • Don’t try to boil the ocean: Consider using low cost, rapid prototyping approaches to test new ideas with customers and employees.

  • Consider how you will gather feedback from customers and employees on these new ideas in order to improve your services and continue to have a pulse on their needs and preferences

Being proactive during this challenging time will help better prepare your organization and your customers for what may lie ahead. Our current situation is temporary, but business as we know it will certainly look different in the coming months. Carving out time to see your customer, know your customer, and anticipate your customer will position you powerfully for the future. What customer and employee experience opportunities are you already seeing? Are there any shifts you’re already planning on making permanent? Let me know!



Through data-driven methods, and leading with empathy, Lindsey partners with people at companies whose challenge is to better understand who their customers are, uncover what their customers need, and reimagine their products, processes, and policies in service of providing exceptional and emotionally engaging customer experiences. Lindsey has joined with small businesses and large federal agencies across the U.S. and the world on their journeys through IT modernization efforts, customer satisfaction initiatives, and Voice of the Employee (VoE) programs in order to assist these organizations in developing trust, relationships, and advocacy with their customers and employees throughout each and every process.


Lindsey is a Senior Consultant at The Clearing, a Washington, D.C. based consulting firm dedicated to helping leaders, their employees, and their customers to live meaningful lives. Lindsey completed the Customer Experience Certificate Program at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.


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