Customer Care During Tumultuous Times

Over the weekend, my wife and I talked about just how much has changed in a year.

As the kids are now back at school and she's teaching full time, summer is over.

We did some reminiscing. Last summer, we were in California on two separate occasions. She traveled with me on both trips as I did some work with clients Santa Barbara and another to visit my client in St. Helena / Napa Valley.

I was saddened yesterday to see that the recent Glass Fire had been spreading rapidly through the heart of the wine country

A couple of wineries have already been lost, and the fires have threatened at least two others we visited last summer. Thousands of people have been forced to flee the area.

This hasn't been an easy year for my client and their respective clients. First the pandemic, and now this

Businesses worldwide have been forced to remain resilient as we come to grips with operating amid a global pandemic, which unfortunately seems to be picking up steam again.

It got me thinking about customer care during tumultuous times.

What can be done to maintain customer relationships during these times?

What can be done to support your customers during and after the hard times have passed?

We can learn a few things from the pandemic moving forward into the future and to better prepare ourselves for the next crisis.

Here's a few.

First and foremost, during the most challenging times, these are often the worst times to continue marketing and trying to "sell."

A lot of companies caught flack for this in the early days of the pandemic. Some were accused of trying to capitalize on the times.

Others were praised as they stepped up to the challenge by offering solutions that were desperately needed. Zoom comes to mind as a company that really stepped up to help.

Sure, you could argue, right place, right product, right time. But they did deliver without taking advantage of customers and prospective customers. I was a Zoom customer long before the pandemic and will be long after.

How will you step up?

Next, you should be (attempting to, when possible) getting in touch with all of your clients and prospects to let them know EXACTLY what you're doing for this.

I applaud my client in Napa, who has been running non-stop, 24-7, to keep servicing their clients.

They also aren't making false promises they can't keep. My client has been interviewed in several publications giving realistic answers to delivery timelines

One of the most important things we can do during trying times is to make commitments, communicate those, and stick to them.

And finally, given the nature of the situation, we can simply reach out to our customers and offer a helping hand. Just letting your clients know that you're there and willing to help, however you can, is one of the best things you can do.

One of the key strategies employed by many of my clients early on in the pandemic was to just call all of their clients and check-in. I attempted to hold many of them accountable to those simple tasks. That was six months ago.

Some businesses did it.

Others did it sporadically.

Some didn't do it at all.

But those who did said the calls were met with thanks and gratitude. One sales guy told us stories about making these calls. He said there was always a sense of shock and awe on the other end of the line.

"Out of all our suppliers, you're the only person who has called us to check-in."

A version of this story was repeated over and over and over again as my clients made their calls.

Six months later, it's worth doing again.

Your Challenge This Week: Call at least five clients this week to check-in. Not to sell, to see how they're doing and if you can help in any way. Nothing more, nothing less.



P.S. Your bonus challenge: Connect with at least three people from your company you don't often get to communicate with. See how they're doing. Nothing more, nothing less.

P.P.S. Stay safe out there.