Comedian Joan Rivers was called the Queen of Reinvention. Throughout her tumultuous career that spanned sixty years, she faced multiple personal and professional tragedies. She climbed to the top of popularity during an era where comedy was very much a boy’s club event but also spiraled downward more than once. Yet through it all, the late icon continually reinvented herself and came back stronger than ever launching her own Emmy winning talk show and producing her own line of clothes and jewelry that generated over $1 billion in sales.
As 2021 unfolds, most of us have been forced to reinvent our businesses, products, services and the way they’re delivered. In establishments, customers are still forced to mask up and distance. Coaching and training firms like mine have turned virtual for the foreseeable future. Yet reinvention, real reinvention isn’t about temporary fixes like virtual meetings. It is about how these temporary fixes can help us learn new ways to be better versions of our old selves, so we are more effective for others.
The starting point is understanding that the client mindset today is different than the mindset in a pre-COVID world. While customers may still need your services, they want you to help them adapt and meet their changing needs with care, empathy and compassion.
Helping people become empathetic communicators has always been at the forefront of our business. During any crisis, people want to know their leaders genuinely care about them and not just the bottom line. In a recent survey conducted by a public relations agency, 71% of people said if they perceive a brand is putting profit over people, they will lose trust in that brand forever.
That’s why businesses that probe the hearts and minds of their customers to genuinely understand what they value most in these turbulent times will have an easier time reinventing the customer experience. Below are four steps to help you do just that.
1. Clear the Weeds
The customer doesn’t care about your problems. They’re not interested in your struggles with technology or how you’re longing for things to return to the pre-COVID way. They want to know how you will deliver services differently to help them thrive in a new normal that in some ways is here to stay. Communicating clears the path because it keeps them informed and can change perceptions. What is available to them? How will it be delivered? What will be different? What will be better?
2. Redesign and Redecorate
To do things differently, you have to think differently so you can find new ways to deliver value. For example, in our business for the foreseeable future, we are not traveling. That means time spent on the road frees us up to work with more people which allows clients to receive the same services faster rather than waiting for a calendar opening. We’ve also redesigned workshops and training programs to foster online interaction and keep people engaged in a virtual environment.
3. Ask the Right Questions
If you want to make sure clients keep buying tickets to your venue, then ask them what they want and need. What would be the biggest value to you moving forward? What do you lose sleep over? What weeds are in your path that we can help you clear? The answers will help you redesign ways to help your customers by adding new products and services or delivering them differently. Restaurants are an excellent example of how delivering services has drastically changed. Many have been forced to switch to a takeout model to help survive. For customers, it’s created new convenient and safer options to order and pay online and take advantage of speedier curbside pick-up.
4. Create Twitter Moments
A Twitter Moment is a carefully chosen story that is shared with masses through tweets. How can you create a great story or experience for your customers that they want to share with others? You don’t have to take to Twitter to tell people someone saved you time, money or provided a great service. If you produce valuable outcomes, your customers will do the talking for you.
The ability to move from who are we and who do we want to become is no easy feat. However, like Joan Rivers, high performers are always looking for ways new ways to deliver value and reinvent themselves. Sometimes, just trying to survive can uncover new ways to thrive.