Louise Robertson from Localz outlines some of the challenges the mobile workforce face during the pandemic and ways of negating its impact.
Covid-19 means we are living in an extraordinary time; we are hyper-aware of who we are interacting with on a day-to-day basis. This is further heightened by the need to reduce the number of people we connect within the real world. Human movement has been restricted to assist with #flattenthecurve.
Essential services must continue to function and mobile workers need to keep the infrastructure working. Roadside assistance, plumbers fixing broken heating and boilers, electricians restoring power, utility personnel performing essential maintenance, healthcare workers attending to in-home patients, and deliveries of everyday essentials.
Confinement is rapidly altering consumer expectations, activities, and motivations, this will impact the customer perception of different brands in different ways. (Day 3 and I am crawling the walls of my home office) Keep in mind you have an opportunity to excel (or fail) because customer expectations are high now with so much emotion and uncertainty.
The delivery of service and products has changed
Everyone is brainstorming isolated customer scenarios to build a customer-centric approach in the face of Covid19. Consider:
Changes to customer needs and journeys
There is no longer ‘business as usual.’ Customer awareness, concern, and reaction to the virus is rapidly shifting expectations and needs. Growing government restrictions will impact customer demands.
Be proactive now with information for customers
Over-communicate with customers and employees who are concerned and demanding information. Use agile, personalised daily communications to keep teams updated, protected and positive.
Put the isolated customer at the centre of your plan. Address how you can help customers keep themselves safe in this pandemic and address their concerns and fears. Conveying what your brand is doing to ensure a safe service or shopping experience in physical locations can earn trust (and business).Information that will reassure customers can include:
- Advance identification of the mobile worker sent to the consumer: photo, name, vehicle registration number, relevant licence credentials, and even body temperature readings.
- Pre-arrival information, job details, accurate ETAs, and tracking maps that update in real-time. The customer can be prepared to socially distance themselves.
- Real-time two-way communications between the mobile worker and the consumer enabling contactless property access and sharing of last-minute details.
- The issuing of unique one-time PINs enables deliveries and service appointments to be authorised, approved and completed in a contactless manner as there is no need for any physical contact or signing on a device.
- For product deliveries ‘to the doorstep’, customers can advise a safe place, can track precise arrival, and can be notified of delivery completion - helping to reduce concerns about goods being left outdoors.
Communication in action
You can proactively collect feedback from customers in real-time to monitor how your field team is coping.
How your brand responds to questions like this will vary wildly based on your category. Reviewing the tone of your marketing and communications plans at this time is important. You have to pull planned communications which are out of sync with the crisis. (Cruise offers and restaurant experiences)
Gartner says, "Listen to your customers": CX and customer insight leaders are in a better position than others in the organization to understand how customer needs and expectations are swiftly changing.
Attitudes and perceptions will change very rapidly, so it will be essential to establish real-time feedback monitoring and reporting. People who were not taking the virus seriously a week ago are doing so today. Simply put, month-old data on customer attitudes and perceptions of your service may as well be decade-old data. Have full visibility of your mobile workers to keep abreast of changes that may occur day-to-day in the coming weeks and months.
Where your brand depends on real-world delivery of products and services plan...
- How you will serve customers if those are curtailed?
- Will you need to implement testing or provide masks to customers?
- How will you deal with customers who exhibit symptoms? Must your employees in every location understand and interact with local health officials?
- How can you use communications to support people who are quarantined?
- Can you shift to contactless digital delivery of field services?
Answers to these questions are not easy since they involve issues of product, logistics, inventory, supply chain, and operations. These questions are not only relevant for brands in the most immediately affected categories, like health products and travel. These questions can and will impact your customers and your brands in the coming months.
Resources are shifting as companies change their focus from solving broken touchpoints to addressing distinct and urgent customer needs and flexing to address severe operational, manufacturing, or logistics issues. Under normal conditions, CX leaders fight to secure and keep resources, but in the coming months, their ability to use customer insight to inform urgent decisions and support shifts in priorities will be more important than maintaining a steady course.
“In this extraordinary period of time, it has never been more important to address the fears of consumers who are literally locked in and worried about everyone they interact with. Reassuring them with frequent communication so they know exactly who to expect, the steps you’ve taken to keep them safe, precisely when you’ll arrive and enabling them to communicate their precise instructions for access is not just important, it’s vital. Without this, you may well find you’re locked out.”
(Tim Andrew, Co-Founder, CEO Localz)
NB This article was inspired by an article from Augie Ray of Gartner which you can read here.