How To Humanize Business While Going Digital During COVID-19

How To Humanize Business While Going Digital During COVID-19

As we live through the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve continued my journey talking to people around the world to understand how are they coping, staying calm, and productive in business. So many people have had to become digitally savvy overnight and employees are under pressure to pivot online very quickly. Event planning companies are a perfect example of having to shift strategies for business continuity. Those who adapt rapidly while sustaining customer satisfaction are the ones most likely to succeed in 2020 and beyond. 

Meet Vuk Vukannovic

 

Stacy-Sherman-interviews-Vuk-Vukananovic about Customer Experiences During a Pandemic

Vuk is a Customer Relationship Executive at Awards International, where he coordinates Masterclasses and different events focussed on CX, EX, Complaint Handling, Digital Experience, Business Excellence, and more across different business sectors. When not at work, Vuk is finishing his studies in Business Economics and preparing his bachelor thesis on “The Importance of Transparency in Business Awards.”

INTERVIEW SUMMARY:

Stacy: How is Awards International pivoting its business during Covid-19? What advice do you have for others?

VUK: “This situation has definitely caused health and economic issues on a global scale. People don’t feel comfortable going to a supermarket for groceries or going to a pharmacy to get what they need, let alone attend a 500 people event. Therefore, we are in the final stage of switching all in-person events to online experiences. The plan is for our next four awards to be online from finalists’ presentations to awards ceremonies. It will be interesting to see how it affects 2021 business plans. We’ll all learn a lot from this year’s events. My advice to others is to adjust their short-term plans to the situation. Be innovative, seek advice, and help. Do not forget about long term goals.

Stacy: How is technology enabling you to humanize business?

VUK: “Thanks to technology, we’re not out of business. We are still launching events successfully. They’re all online, and not pre-recorded. Participants from around the world are able to ask the trainers questions and share opinions in real-time. We’re partnering with our IT team closely for platform testing and ensuring clients have a good digital experience from beginning to end. Technology is also helping us record each session, which we send to participants within 48 hours. We also leverage digital platforms for the awards scoring and evaluation process. While we relied on the software before the coronavirus outbreak, it is especially important in times like now to sustain our operations.”

Stacy: What’s your greatest business challenge now?

VUK: “There’s so much changing every day. We have gone from utter despair to hope and despair again, then back to hope. We have written 4 new business plans in two weeks, depending on what the outlook is. While it’s hard to predict the future, the shift to an online awards program has been fun. Despite abrupt changes, we’re doing things we wanted to do a while ago. Now, we can and have to do them! There’s a lot of details to care for in the short term, and we need a good communication plan. It is extremely important that we walk our customers through the entire process and satisfy (even exceed) their expectations. Since we are an international company and the pandemic is not the same everywhere, we need to stay updated to what’s happening across different countries and continuously consult with our partners. It’s all about sharing and learning.”

Stacy: What are ways you’re keeping work teams engaged and satisfied to deliver customer excellence?  

VUK: “Over the past few weeks, people have been talking now more than ever before about empathy and care for others. I agree that everything starts with talking and planning, but how many of them actually achieve what they intended? The first words our CEO said at the moment the virus began spreading in the UK is that anyone who wants to work from home is free to do so. The possibility of choice is always appreciated and it greatly influences employee happiness. We have a daily 30-minute video team meetings during which we share experiences and advice on how to approach customers and meet their needs. I also want to mention that we started a marketing campaign called “We connect people” in which we publish our previous and existing customers’ articles on Customer Experience Magazine free of charge. We started to offer affiliate opportunities to our CX Judges too.

Learn about Vuk Vukanovic on LinkedIn & visit Awards International website for a list of events and masterclasses.

Read more interviews of people pivoting their business without sacrificing customer experiences during Covid19.

 

Learn how a Doctor transitioned his NY psychiatric practice from in-person therapy to ONLINE in ONE WEEK! We spoke about how technology has helped him pivot while still humanizing business, and more.

HOW ARE YOU PIVOTING YOUR BUSINESS DURING COVAD-19 WITHOUT IMPACTING CX? 

How To Humanize Customer Experiences In The Digital Age

How To Humanize Customer Experiences In The Digital Age

Not too long ago, consumers had to drive to a retail store to purchase what they wanted. Customer experience (CX) had a different meaning. The launch of digital apps and websites significantly changed our lives offering more convenience, time savings, expanded product choices, and easier access to offers and promotions. Though there are a lot of advantages to digital shopping, it’s harder for companies to differentiate their brands. Easy ordering and on-time delivery are customary. Free shipping and simple return processes are the norms. When it does not go as expected, then customers get irate, and satisfaction scores decline. So then…. Continue Reading →

Yelp & SMS Turn Restaurants Experiences From Mediocre To Great

Yelp & SMS Turn Restaurants Experiences From Mediocre To Great

How many times have you visited restaurants that do not accept reservations and felt frustrated about the wait time? If you’re like me, it is too many to count.

While many companies tend to focus on customer experiences at the point people are actually using products and receiving services, brand perception and customer judgments occur much earlier in the customer journey. People don’t care if there are internal company process challenges. If it is not easy to interact with brands and get service in the way they expect, customers will go elsewhere.

Leverage Technology To Save Customers Time

With the advent of mobile applications like Yelp, companies can improve customer experiences and proactively address common customer pain points BEFORE they occur. My recent restaurant experience provides a great example of this.

Egan & Sons does not take reservations. However, they told me when I called that I could save time using Yelp. The app displays an estimated wait time to help in deciding whether to go to the restaurant and a choice to “check-in” to join the waitlist before driving to the restaurant. Having never seen this before, and always looking to save time, I was delighted to have this option.

 

Make the Customer Journey Easy

After filling out the Yelp online form, the app displayed how many parties were ahead of me. That information helped me determine when to drive to the restaurant. While there was only one other person joining me for dinner, I did notice a useful feature within the app to share the wait time with others. I like that capability and overall usability. Moreover, I noticed how easy and pleasant my dining experience felt before I even sat down to eat.

Just before I arrived at the restaurant, I received an SMS text to my phone informing me that my table was ready and I should check-in with the host.  Within minutes, I was seated and ordering my dinner. Though my story pertains to restaurants specifically, there are key lessons about DoingCXRight that apply to all companies and industries.

 

More Doing CX Right Best Practices

 

Communication is an Important Driver of Customer Satisfaction

I really liked knowing how long my wait time was via the app and receiving a text notification that my table was ready.

Level of Effort is a Great Measurement of Customer Experience

It was EASY for me to request and get a table despite a large crowd. Without technology (both SMS and Yelp) I would have missed out on a great restaurant experience. And the restaurant would have missed out on my business. While I didn’t use the feature, the app allows people the option

Employees Must Deliver on Promises

Based on the SMS text I received, I had an expectation to be seated right away. Upon my arrival, the host followed through without any wait creating a satisfying, wow moment.

Personalization Improves Customer Experiences

The app knew it was my first time checking in and provided me relevant content. It showed “check out reviews while you wait” along with food recommendations from past visitors.  This is a great idea, especially because the restaurant has four stars and over 300 reviews.

restaurant cx

 

Read More About How To Turn Mistakes Into Positive Experiences at restaurants and other service establishments.

Mobile Apps Can Be A Brand Differentiator Unless UX Goes Wrong

Mobile Apps Can Be A Brand Differentiator Unless UX Goes Wrong

Customers have increasingly high expectations and demands for better shopping experiences. While the holiday season is a time when purchasing is at its highest,  customers pay attention to their experiences and make buying decisions based on satisfaction ALL YEAR ROUND!

Easy access to products and services leveraging mobile apps can positively impact customer experiences. The following statistics from MoBlog emphasizes my point: Continue Reading →