Periods of social distancing (in some parts of Australia more than others), last-minute border closures and people wearing masks are now part of our human experience. These events are more normal than not. Subtly, we are on high alert and, in some cases, we are scared of getting too close to people.
Humans are not wired for this. We’re not meant to be socially separated and we’re certainly not built to be in a constant state of fight or flight. When our nervous systems are under such intense pressure, we struggle to manage negative emotions. The long-term effects of this lead to greater stress, anxiety and depression.
Businesses are adapting to remote working, reconfigured physical workspaces, revised logistics and supply networks as well as changing operating procedures to cope with the pandemic’s risks and effects. Customers are feeling these effects so their behaviours are slowly changing; however, the people serving those customers are changing too. Service attendants (staff at supermarket checkouts, people serving you coffee or food) are no different to your customers. They have also felt the seismic changes brought about by COVID-19.
We are all living with the constant fear of contagion, how it may affect daily life, the impacts of social isolation and sudden closures to job security. Therefore, there is an opportunity here for us all to be more united, to see each other as equal and to get a mental grasp on the different perspectives that each of us has as we navigate through this new world.
What does it feel like to be an employee? What does it feel like to be a customer?
Keeping an equal eye on the employee and customer experience is just good business. After all, how a customer feels when they interact with an employee is how the customer feels about the brand itself. It’s the era where customers are building relationships with businesses; they are more involved in their future processes, their innovation and creativity, and their standards.
Now is not the time for more division and separation. Now is the time to stand united.