Pandemic Excuses or Seizing The Opportunity?

Why have some organizations used the pandemic as a reason to provide terrible customer service?

My bank has a notification pop-up after filling out a contact form, telling me that it may take 9-12 days to get a response.

9-12 days?

Is someone printing my email and walking it across the continent? How does it take nine days or more to respond to an email?

Their reasoning? Covid-19.

It seems some companies have used the pandemic as permission to neglect the customer (or just stink). After all, you can blame Covid!

"Sorry we can't answer our phones anymore…Covid."

"Sorry, our customer service people were rude…Covid."

"Sorry, but it takes us 12 days to respond to an email…Covid."

"We're experiencing longer than expected wait times, sometimes more than two hours…Covid."

I was trying to help my father get a refund on some tickets and every time I mentioned the word "refund" they literally just hung up on me! Covid.

But it's happening on the other side too.

It's given salespeople an excuse to fail.

"Nobody is buying anything right now…Covid"

"Our quotas make no sense anymore…Covid."

"Our products can't be sold virtually….Covid"

And if you believe that, then you're in trouble.

Every time a salesperson tells you how tough it is and how unavoidable losses are due to the pandemic, compare their customer loss numbers to last year, and the year before, and every other year.

How many net customers did they lose due to Covid?

What do those numbers look like across your sales force?

When most of the businesses I've talked to have looked at the numbers, they've been shocked – most were doing about the same year over year.

Of course, there have been more incredible stories than not related to companies going above and beyond for customers during these times.

Positive self-talk is a powerful way to grow as a human. Negative self-talk is a way to do the opposite. But it's also true of organizations.

Sometimes, you need to change your organizational self-talk.

Here are some examples of ways to be thinking about your successes over the past 7-8 months and positive ways to look forward to the next X number of months.

Which of the following are true to your company? If none, which mindset could you adopt moving forward?

  • The pandemic has given us a time to shine.
  • The pandemic has allowed us to provide truly remarkable customer experiences.
  • The pandemic has allowed us to stay true to our core mission and values.
  • The pandemic has given us an opportunity to know our clients better than we've ever known them before.
  • The pandemic has allowed us to truly appreciate our employees and focus on our talent's health, safety, and well-being.
  • Because of the pandemic, we've been able to innovate our sales approaches.
  • Because we've had to migrate both sales and service to digital channels, we've been able to provide improved service, save money, and increase customer satisfaction.
  • Because of the pandemic, we've been able to test and innovate new approaches to sales, marketing, and customer experience, faster and more effectively than ever before.

Which are true for you? What would you add? Let me know.

Your challenge for this week: Look anywhere and everywhere you've used the pandemic to justify something that negatively impacts your customers, your sales prospects, and even your talent.

Ask yourself, are those justifications based in reality, or are you just making pandemic excuses?

Even when we start to use more positive self-talk, those words must be backed up by action.

There's NEVER been a better time in history to steal market share from your competitors and those making excuses. It all starts with the narrative you're telling yourself.

Send me an email and let me know what you've learned from the pandemic?

Where have you excelled?

Where have you failed?

What improvements do you need to make for the second or third wave?

What could you do differently during the coming months?