In virtually all industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has had enormous impacts on how business is conducted. While businesses such as bars and restaurants have been forced to shut their doors entirely or focus solely on carryout, others have shifted to a predominantly remote workplace, with staff conducting business from home.
Even as the pandemic subsides, businesses open back up, and staff return to work, companies should not expect to return to business as usual. For one thing, the “new normal” will have to take into consideration the fact that companies need to rethink their in-person contact with customers.
For companies where employees are already having face-to-face contact (e.g., grocery stores, etc.), as well as for those that may have that contact as the economy begins to open up, there will be new ways of dealing and interacting with customers.
Companies shouldn’t assume employees will understand what this entails, what the expectations are, and how they can keep themselves and their customers safe. What should companies be doing to provide training, information, and education to staff?
Health and Safety
The most obvious reason to rethink in-person customer interaction is to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers alike. Not only is this the right thing to do from a moral standpoint, but it’s also critical for business continuity.
Until the COVID-19 pandemic is truly under firm control, it’s simply an undue risk to potentially expose staff to highly infectious disease. A single employee contracting COVID-19 could force the shutdown of an entire office. This can result not only in staff working remotely but also in staff being unable to work at all as they recover from illness.
Even if companies—for whatever reason—aren’t overly wary of the health and safety risks of staff-to-customer contact, they should be cognizant of the impact not taking sufficient precautions can have on their company image.
For example, a grocery store that seems to be lax with cleaning heavily trafficked areas or taking precautions against having too many staff and customers congregating in small areas will be perceived as caring little for the well-being of employees and customers alike. If those customers feel safer and more valued at another location, they’ll likely start shopping there instead. Read more here…
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Source: HR Daily Advisor