People across the globe are spending an unprecedented amount of time in their homes, so it makes sense to want to improve your surroundings. Some folks are going all extreme Kondo with daily challenges while others, like myself, are dipping their toes with a little light home improvement. Recently we decided to do some small renovations to our house.
My experiences have been eye-opening, to say the least when it comes to what passes for customer service in the construction industry. The stereotypes are holding somewhat true, meaning that nothing is ever on-time or on-budget. Normal setbacks in our construction have felt compounded because customer service (communication) is also severely lacking. This got me thinking about customer service and how it’s changed in light of recent global events.
How do we navigate these waters while we’re all feeling a little… weird?
Asking “how are you” has never felt so weird.
When I ask colleagues and clients how they’re doing it seems to feel like a loaded question. What was once a standard pleasantry is a labyrinth of decisions to navigate. To answer that question honestly is to open up a can of worms they may not want to on a Zoom. Instead, I have started asking, “how’s your day going?” It’s funny but that seems like a little easier for people to tackle. You can talk about your delicious tacos or the weather or what’s happening at the moment before you. It doesn’t seem to take as much effort to answer, either. By focusing on the day itself rather than inquiring about the general picture of how someone is doing, it’s more approachable to answer in a business setting.
If a customer gives you feedback, take that feedback in, ponder it, and try to empathize with them.
Everyone has other things happening in their life that do not have anything to do with you. I have arthritis in my right hand and prefer a full keyboard far more than to text on my phone. Recently, I shared with a construction contractor that I need to communicate with email. He was calling me all hours of the day, sending endless texts, and was bringing chaos into my day that I didn’t need. Not only did he fight me on my request to use email to correspond, he told me he refused to check it daily. This contractor had the opportunity to do more business with me. After mulling it over, I just didn’t want to deal with him any longer. Checking email is a standard business practice. If he’d instead said, “I check my email less frequently, so please text when you’re looking for a faster response” that would have been OK. If your customer takes the time to give you feedback, then take that feedback and don’t fight them- which is customer service 101. While some things have certainly changed this past year, the customer is indeed always right.
Own your feels, they’re a very real thing!
It’s perfectly natural to have big feels during this unprecedented time for everyone. There will be days you feel like focusing on work and days that you struggle to complete certain tasks. Listening to that instinct is an absolute must because burn out happens. Do you know what else happens? Junk food for breakfast or crying when you watch Harry met Sally for the 50th time, and so on. It’s very real to feel burned out and if you can- take a break. Forgive yourself for being human. DO IT. When the lockdowns started, we put procedures in place at CircleClick to allow for more PTO, a day offer per month per team member, and free subscriptions to apps like Calm and BetterHelp. By offering some additional support, I felt like I was doing my part as a business owner.
Challenges still lie ahead of us in 2021, and they always will. Regardless of what’s happening, in 2021 it already feels like we’re gaining some positive momentum. Stay positive and good luck out there! We’re sending you good vibes. The future looks bright! 😎💯