Managing customer relationships while working from home
The impact of Covid-19 has seen many of us across the globe try and make working from home as effective as possible to ensure business continuity.
For sales teams, this has meant changing the dynamics of managing customer relationships significantly because maintaining strong connections during this pandemic is undeniably important, not only to help but also to keep customers.
So how does one navigate the restrictions of social distancing and remote working and still cultivate and nurture customer relationships successfully?
1. Be an empathetic leader
Now more than ever, leaders need to try and nurture a positive remote working environment for their teams. If you’re in a leadership role, be mindful of the fact that many of your people are probably feeling some form of anxiety, worry and stress – so show them you care about their emotional wellbeing. Open up channels of communication. Give them the opportunity to reach out and talk about what they’re going through. Be supportive – listen to what they have to say and offer words of encouragement and motivation. Chances are, being empowered by your positivity will set the tone for how they go on to engage with their customers
As Gartner reiterates, “Employees will be worried about their families, both near and extended, and need to take care of home-life requirements in different ways than they normally do. Employees will be equally concerned about their jobs, trying to understand everything from impacts to loss of income, hours and even lost opportunities. Supporting employees through this requires leaders and all layers of management to be supportive, transparent and highly communicative. How you support your employees through this health crisis will have a material impact on employee engagement and productivity”.
2. Show your customers that you care
Much in the same way that you need to show support to your sales team during this pandemic, they too need to continue to provide ongoing support to their customers. There are many ways to stay in touch with clients, video conferencing having quickly become the new norm to reach out, engage with and help people. Don’t forget that customers still require assistance right now, probably more than ever actually. They are being faced with unprecedented challenges in trying to ensure business continuity. So your sales team needs to show that they care, that they are willing to try and deliver whatever support they can, where possible. Ultimately, what customers will remember is those who listened to them, who helped them, who made every effort to create value when they needed it most.
And as this Harvard Business Review article further suggests, “Humanize your company. Let consumers know that your company understands the dire social circumstances at play and cares about more than simply reaping profit during this difficult time. Empathize with those affected by Covid-19, and spell out the steps you are taking to help customers, employees, and other stakeholders.”
3. Be transparent
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented business environment, with organisations across the globe scrambling to put in place the measures needed for business continuity. Not everyone was ready for the remote working scenario, particularly at the speed at which many businesses were forced to spring into action. But now is the time for honest communication with your customers. Tell them what operational changes you have implemented, what your new business operating hours are, and what level of customer service will be available.
You want your customers to know how to interact and engage with your company during this crisis – so you can be viewed as being proactive and motivated by their best interests.