Here’s What Your Business Needs to Survive Reopening

I know you saw it—The lonely, vacant, dark drive-thru of Taco Cabana; the tumbleweed rustling by the entrance of your favorite dessert spot; and sad business owners posting their “Thank you for your love and support, but we are sorry to inform you that…” signs in their doorways. 

Household name brands are filing for bankruptcy by the bundle these days. Businesses don’t open with the intention of staying under 50% capacities and are not able to afford their rent or pay their workers. While many residents in the North Dallas area are pleading to open back up, several families fear the possibility of that coming to fruition. Essential workers are

not only being overwhelmed by the chance of contracting the rapidly spreading disease, Covid-19, they are also under the pressure of working less hours, homeschooling their children, taking care of immunocompromised housemates, all while fulfilling their daily duties as a human being. That’s a lot for anyone to juggle.

It’s not that our families aren’t the best people in the world, it’s just necessary that we are making it a priority to be social. John T. Cacioppo (2011), founder of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at University of Chicago, studied the deleterious outcomes of social isolation in humans and found that just the objective presence of others is not sufficient enough for humans to survive and prosper. The quality of human interactions matter.

Humans have always survived by banding together to help and  protect one another. “Indeed, there is now considerable evidence that social isolation, and the pain associated with the disconnection that it produces, can fruitfully be conceived as a biological construct” (Cacioppo).

We are dying for some real human interaction. We have been stuck at home, we’re grumpier than usual and we just want to enjoy a carefree outing. 2020 has been the longest decade ever! Now, if you take one nugget of wisdom from this, I hope it’s the following:

If you work in customer service, leave your attitude at the front door.

If you didn’t give a crap about customer satisfaction before, it’s time to start. Quality of service is becoming more important as we begin to reopen the businesses we have left. 

Christina Chi (2009) studied the direct correlation between customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction. These studies also show the impact that these positive interactions have on the financial performances of these businesses. Now more than ever, we have to do all things possible to maintain the highest level of care and service to our patrons (p. 245).

You know customer service is being taken seriously when Walmart employees are being forced to care. The associates now have an “Ask Sam” feature on the app that locates items, checks inventory, transmits emergency alerts, etc. this feature was designed to help the employees do their jobs more efficiently and be of service to their customers. Kudos to Wally World!

And trust me, I get it! I have spent years in customer service. I’ve smiled through some encounters involving irrational people. Sometimes we have to work on a bad day, we run out of supplies, your boss chews you out, or Karen just on one that day. Just remember your financial responsibilities, the times you enjoy being there, and why you choose to show up. Unfortunately, people can suck, and the day that customer service representatives are finally able to fight one person a shift probably won’t be in our lifetime.

“In the end, life and business are about human connections. And computers are about trying to murder you in a lake. And to me the choice is easy” -Michael Scott