Posted on March 19, 2020 by Dennis Snow
“This book teaches how to show empathy, pay attention to detail, have fun, go the extra mile, and listen to your customers - all things that cost nothing to deliver but say, “we care,” which is the most important message you can send.”
-Dave Baca, Law Offices of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
The other day I happened to be looking through my dad’s book, “Lessons From The Mouse,” and I noticed the above quote that he used as a testimonial in the book. He actually wrote that book in the midst of the great recession we all endured back in 2008-2009. The world seemed like a scary place back then as the world economy was collapsing, and now here we are today dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. These past few weeks have been surreal. Not just in the United States but all around the world. Companies are shutting down left and right (hopefully temporarily), entire countries are closing down in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus. These are scary times and I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t nervous about what the future holds for our lives and business.
I’d like to preface this by saying, I don’t know the best way to handle the challenging times coming our way. We’ll be learning to adapt our business the same way you and others around the globe will be doing in the coming weeks and months. My goal here is simply to provide you with an idea that I believe will be crucial to your business surviving the hardships that are coming as well as building up goodwill with your customers, members, clients, etc.
What really stood out to me in the testimonial above is that he highlighted the aspects of “empathy” and showing that “we care” as the most important messages that you can send to your customers. And for those of you in leadership positions, I believe it also applies to employees and team members. While these are going to be increasingly trying times for individuals, families and organizations around the world, I believe there are unique opportunities available now to show customers and employees that you truly do care about them. It’s easy to say you care when times are good, but what can we all do now that the tide is shifting?
We’ve seen a lot of organizations stepping up in the midst of mass school closures across the country. Scholastic is offering free online courses to continue learning as well as ABC Mouse. School districts are arranging to get meals to those who rely on free or reduced lunch plans. The Walt Disney Company is donating food to places like Second Harvest Food Banks. Folks in the healthcare industry are working longer and longer hours and putting themselves at risk to help those infected with the coronavirus. There are phone companies as well as some gas, electric and water utilities that aren’t going to suspend service during these times if you are unable to pay your bill.
For all of the good examples we are seeing right now, I’m sure that we will end up seeing negative examples coming our way. Difficult situations will arise and price gouging will likely take place from time to time. Here’s the important thing to keep in mind. When all of this is over, I’m going to remember those companies that treated me and their other customers poorly and that will have a significant impact on whether I continue doing business with them down the road. More importantly, I will remember the companies that showed customers, employees and those in need empathy during these turbulent times. Those companies that choose to show that they truly care can build up a tremendous amount of goodwill with their customers and potential customers moving forward.
This obviously isn’t easy and I recognize that not every organization has the resources available to donate items or services while their own income and profits are dwindling. But I challenge you to look for areas to go the extra mile for your folks and deliver little moments of “wow” to them now with the goal of locking in their loyalty in the future.
All the best,