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 VUKANOVIC

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 that include my friend, Ian Golding, who knows how to Wow The Crowd!

Read MORE INTERVIEWS….

This article is about what people around the world are accomplishing that they may not have if the pandemic never happened. I’m confident that you’ll gain some ideas to try while you’re home. Another article focusses on 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 much more.

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

How To Build A Customer-Centric Culture Though Employee Appreciation (10 Tips)

How To Build A Customer-Centric Culture Though Employee Appreciation (10 Tips)

It’s no secret that happy employees yield better business results. There’s a lot of research indicating customer satisfaction and loyalty rises when employees enjoy their jobs and workplace. They go hand-in-hand. As leadership expert Simon Sinek says, “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first. I agree, and also know that creating a great company culture does not happen automatically or overnight. It requires intentional design and ongoing focus. As Thanksgiving approaches, take time out to show gratitude at work (not just in your personal life). Walk the talk and keep the momentum going.  

10 Authentic Ways To Thank Employees:

  1. Send hand-written thank-you notes. Recognize employees for delighting customers.
  2. Send newsletters to each department. Personalize messages. No “cookie-cutter” approach.
  3. Invite teams to an Executive meal based on NPS scores and positive customer feedback.
  4. Publicize awesome work. Brag about individuals & teams on the company website.
  5. Enable people to recognize each other. Gamify experiences. Tie prizes to customer value.
  6. Send cake and balloons to top-performing sales offices and those with Y/Y improvements.
  7. Buy lunch for people resolving customer issues daily i.e. call center reps.  
  8. Create a CEO video message thanking employees for creating customer promoters.
  9. Offer a bonus or day off to those who routinely demonstrate customer excellence.
  10. Feed employees and show up. My employer, Schindler Elevator Corporation, demonstrated this perfectly. Company Executives literally served happiness at employee Thanksgiving lunch in the cafeteria. (See my Linkedin for photos)

culture starts with you! appreciate employees at all levels

“69% of employees work harder when they feel appreciated. 79% feel motivated when recognized.” (Work.com). See more statistics in the infographic below. Given the facts, why don’t Executives and Managers thank their employees more frequently? One study reveals that “51% of workers are recognized once a quarter.” I’ve been in organizations where it’s more like once per year. I’m challenging everyone to change that. Culture starts at the top but requires bottom-up actions too.

Doing CX Right Reminders:

  • Small acts of kindness go a long way. “People may forget what you said or did, but never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
  • Employees are your heroes. If they don’t feel important, your customers will feel it.
  • Don’t wait for formal end of year reviews. If you’re not appreciating employees throughout the year, your competitors will. They’re searching for great talent.
  • Don’t overthink it. Thank employees everywhere i.e. meetings, cafeteria, parking lot.
  • Be empathetic and sincere. Employees know when managers are “checking a box.”
  • Get more ideas from my other article: 14 Ways To Celebrate CX Day

Employee Satisfaction and DoingCXRight

Source: Ashley Johnson

 

How do YOU build a customer-centric culture? Please comment below and join conversations on my Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn pages. Let’s keep the conversations going to humanize experiences and maximize happiness everywhere.

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Appreciating Employees and Why It Matters

Source: Salesforce

If you like this article, read more about driving Customer-Centric Cultures and Employee Engagement. 

*All views expressed are mine & do not reflect opinions of or imply endorsement of employers or other organizations.