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Silver Lining Ahead: Being ExperienceBuilt Matters During COVID-19 Chaos

The global pandemic has turned the business world on its head, but an ExperienceBuilt foundation can help you weather the storm and find its silver lining.

Businesses in every industry are struggling to weather the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, but there are silver linings if you know where to look for them.

Chaos is the only way to describe 2020 so far — the obstacles have included forced closures, limited business hours and supply chain problems. That doesn’t even consider dealing with the coronavirus’s direct impact on your business, like reduced foot traffic, cases of illness in the store and staffing problems when employees go on quarantine.

The direct impact on businesses is expected to be long-lasting. McKinsey & Company reports that between June and July, there was a 13-point drop in the percentage of North Americans who had a positive 6-month outlook on their country’s economy.

Despite that increasingly bleak outlook, businesses are doing their best to hold on.

Setbacks are universal: It’s about how you respond to them

Today’s businesses are walking an economic landscape that they’ve never seen before, and it’s inevitable that there will be setbacks of all kinds. For instance:

  • Amusement and hospitality businesses are facing low demand as Americans cancel their summer vacations.

  • Grocery and department stores are facing supply chain issues, which change virtually weekly.

  • Restaurants and retailers are adapting to curbside-only service, which comes with transitional setbacks.

  • Every industry is affected by low consumer spending, which translates to low revenue.

This is just a tiny cross-section of the endless ways COVID-19 is affecting businesses. It’s probable that your business will face at least one setback of some kind during this time, if not more. With that knowledge, take some time to think about how you’ll face those challenges when they come.

Businesses are taking new risks in the face of COVID-19

Being a business owner in 2020 means learning to pivot and change your course of action often. Plenty of businesses are finding that their offices turn into innovation incubators in the face of the pandemic. It’s time to rethink the customer experience and what it can be post-COVID.

We’re thinking about our customers and their problems in brand-new ways, and the result is unexpected partnership and a willingness to try new things.

For example:

  • Vegetarian fast-casual food chain Clover Food Lab repurposed excess sandwich ingredients into Clover at Home Meal Boxes while their restaurants were closed or operating under limited hours.

  • Restaurant reservation app OpenTable pivoted to start offering grocery shopping time slots.

  • Mercedes F1 and University College London Hospital paired up to develop non-ventilator breathing aids for intensive care patients.

COVID-19 is teaching a valuable lesson to business owners who will listen

Every business is built on one common factor: Connections between people. Behind every business transaction is a relationship. Are you treating those relationships with the weight that you should be?

Since the early months of 2020, the coronavirus has been reminding us that we shouldn’t take people for granted. Relationships and connections are valuable — they’re what kept us going through this pandemic as a species.

Business owners should remember that the same is true of their relationships with clients, customers and colleagues. Now more than ever, customers want reassurance and comfort out of their brand relationships. They want to know that they can trust you to listen and deliver.

How will you do that? By listening to feedback, not only from your customers, but from your business partners, your store owners and operators, and the boots on the ground. People at every stage of the organization have valuable insights that can impact the way your business bounces back.

Being ExperienceBuilt is more important in times of chaos

The best way you can reassure and connect with your audience in a chaotic time like a global pandemic is by relying on your ExperienceBuilt roots.

ExperienceBuilt businesses operate under the assumption that Experience Enhances Everything. If you go out of your way to make your target audience feel heard and valued, they’ll choose the experience that you provide every time.

If your business doesn’t have an ExperienceBuilt foundation already, it’s time to apply the LIVE 8 Principles to build that foundation going forward.

Uncover your silver linings with the LIVE 8 Principles

At The ExperienceBuilt Group, we use the LIVE 8 Principles to bring raw humanity to your brand with consideration for your fellow human at every step. What could be more important during an international pandemic?

Those principles include:

1. Begin with people: From start to finish, the most important part of your product or service design is whether it’s built with people in mind. Know your audience and their pain points before you go into the design room. If you already have a product, collect feedback and go back to the drawing board.

2. Consider micro-moments: It’s all about the satisfying little details. Go out of your way to make the process easy and enjoyable in every way while adding value that they didn’t expect. That can be a handwritten Thank You note or some clever copy in an email.

3. Anticipate the what-ifs: Put yourself in the customer’s shoes at every point. Look at your mobile app: What if your customer is colorblind? Look at your font choice: Is it easy to read on all the major browsers? There’s no way to over-anticipate your customer’s needs.

4. Integrate sensory needs: Sensory input is a big part of the experience for your customer, and no two people have the same sensory needs. Try to anticipate the needs of the customer by choosing soothing color palettes, or better yet, letting your customer add their own preferences with preset themes.

5. Communicate with clarity: There’s no such thing as overcommunication if added clarity is the payoff. Take the time to check your communications for consistency and on-brand messaging to ensure that you’re not being contradictory. Your customer will feel secure in your expertise and ability to give them what they need.

6. Appreciate your audience: When your audience showers you in attention and affection, give it right back. It’s so important to be active on social media, especially in a time when you’re not able to interact in-person. Make sure you’re retweeting and replying to comments on a timely basis.

7. Offer bonus value: Make it your mission to be one step ahead of what the customer needs, always. That means adding bonus value. It can be a whitepaper at the end of a blog post, a free subscription upgrade after buying a premium app, or an “I appreciate you for being a loyal customer” email.

8. Listen to feedback: Taking feedback well is possibly the most important principle to being ExperienceBuilt. Make it easy for customers to give you feedback, then take it seriously and implement changes that address it. The more open you are with your customers about wanting to meet their needs, the more they’ll respond.

The ExperienceBuilt Group can help you put the LIVE 8 Principles into action as an ExperienceBuilt business. Human connection is the most important part of business now, just as it was pre-COVID. In fact, it could be more important than ever now. Find the silver lining of being a business owner in these historic times by connecting with the people who make your business possible.

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