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Facing COVID-19 business challenges: insights from customer success experts

It has become a worn-out COVID-19 cliché, but the unprecedented business challenges of the global pandemic are not the type that you typically prepare for. Creating a record number of makeshift home offices, managing clients in huge uncertainty, connecting with your colleagues remotely—the list goes on.

With any unsettling situation, it’s often about how you react. So, we’ve compiled the thoughts of customer success experts about the challenges they’re facing and how they’ve adapted to overcome them.

Emma Tiegan, Head Of Customer Success & Operations, SmarterQueue

Emma manages a team that worked remotely before the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. These mainly came in the form of client reactions, with many businesses facing the prospect of cutting costs. However, in situations like this, preparation can define how you perform.

“To overcome the challenge of increased volume, and the emotional ‘unloading’, the first thing we did was hop on a call together as a team. It was an important time to talk about our fears, frustrations and then make an action plan together.”

Emma Tiegan of SmarterQueue on remote learning and customer success during COVID-19

The results were an hour-by-hour structure to their days, moving to monthly goals and working towards them in weekly sprints.

“It just goes to show how important it is to always ask your team in a collaborative environment what they want. Not only are we now working more effectively, the team are really excited to see their ideas in action and have the comfort of a consistent routine during the crisis.”

Lauren Cumming, Head of Customer Success at Fixflo

As well as scaling the team, maintaining momentum and ensuring the strong team culture remains in place, Lauren highlighted the importance of COVID-19 on their customers’ needs and how they use the product. More importantly, it has been a case of understanding this and adapting in the right ways.

Lauren Cumming of Fixflo on COVID-19 business challenges

“I think there is so much uncertainty about the economic impacts of COVID-19 that there is going to be a period of time where we need to learn if our customers’ value drivers have changed, how are they currently using Fixflo?, do they need to use Fixflo in a different way? Etc. and ensure that we adapt to support these changes.”

Dan Farley, Vice President, Customer Success at Seenit

Positioning yourself during crises and communicating your value when business is far from usual for prospects is an incredible challenge.

When we asked Dan what his biggest challenge had been in April 2020, he unsurprisingly answered COVID-19; “with most large corporates running off a business continuity plan at the moment, putting Seenit across as a business-critical tool can be very challenging.”

Dan Farley of Seenit on how COVID-19 has challenged their business

Understanding what it is that your customers and prospects need from you at this moment is crucial, as is ensuring that you communicate that value to them.

Adam Davies, People Development Manager at Gymshark

While COVID-19 brought the challenges of a mass moving to working remotely in a short period, it’s the response across the business that Adam spoke passionately about. From the communication of business leaders down to the willingness to learn across their teams.

“Whilst this was challenging, the level of communication and clarity has been incredible from the board and business leaders and it’s something that I am sure will continue. We are finding that people are spending more time browsing the content we have available in HowNow, and attribute this to people splitting up their day with learning resources.”

Adam Davies of Gymshark discusses the company's response to COVID-19

And it wouldn’t really be an article from us without a nod towards the importance of shared learning, luckily we’ve got Adam to be the megaphone for collaboration on this occasion.

“It also seems that there are content uploads and knowledge share from all corners of the business at this moment in time which is fantastic to see.”

Angela Guedes, Head of Customer Engagement at Typeform

Your people are facing many different challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, but giving them the right platform to discuss those issues is an excellent way to ensure empathy and connectivity across teams. For Angela, this was one way they tackled the issues of “making sure everyone felt connected with their teammates and supported.”

Angela Guedes of Typeform on connecting and supporting her team during COVID-19.

“At a team level, we started having virtual coffees’ love room and over-communicating over Slack. We also created Slack channels specific for working parents and managers, to support and help each other with ideas and best practices.”

Whether you want to support your furloughed staff through learning or provide your workforce with the learning resources they need where they already work, HowNow is here to support you through this difficult time. 

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