Break the Glass – Set Expectations

Thanks for joining me for the third installment in my series titled Break the Glass, where we’re looking at ways to take constructive action in these unprecedented times.

This week we’ll explore the importance of setting expectations for team members and customers alike. We’ll also link expectation setting to the third of the four key behaviors covered in this series – namely letting people know if and when you are open.

No matter what the status of your business – now is not the time to go radio silent. If you’re open, let your customers know that you are still available to serve them and how you have modified your service delivery for their safety and the safety of your team. If you aren’t open but plan to re-open in the future, let them know what you’re doing in preparation for re-opening. If you’re uncertain about your future status, continue to provide helpful content to your loyal customers so that they’ll remain engaged if and when things take a turn for the better.

According to the Andrews Partnership report, email is the top channel for communicators during the COVID -19 crisis, with 96% of organizations using email to transmit their key messages. By contrast, just under 75% are using intranet or social media blasts, and 59% are using video broadcasts or live streams to stay connected to customers and team members.

In addition to regular emails, sending a special edition newsletter, or continuing the regular cadence of an existing newsletter appears to be a productive way to connect with customers in your database. According to Livenet, email newsletter open rates are increasing as more people working remotely. This is particularly the case when those newsletters offer coping/lifestyle/or wellness tips.

To engage and keep your customers, the actions needed these days include letting customers know what they can expect from you. If your workforce has scaled back, help set expectations for how long it will take for you to provide a response. Share good news when you can with your customers while maintaining hopefulness balanced by realism. Foreshadow a brighter future, which will encourage your customers to do the same.

In the next installment, I will focus on an initiative my team and I launched prior to COVID-19. We called it surprisingly kind. We’ll explore the incredible value of being surprisingly kind as it relates to creating long-term relationships with customers and team members as we all emerge on the other side of this current business fog.

To catch all episodes in this series and other weekly content, you can visit my blog. In the meantime, I will continue to reach out to my clients, and I will also stay available to you when you reach out to me.

Let’s find some time to be intentional in the ways you go about communicating with your customers by keeping them informed on your current and foreseeable future status.

Until then, be safe, be strong, and set expectations.

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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