When the Pandemic Music Stops, Will Your Business Still Have a Chair?

By Nick Nichols, Business Survival Specialist

When the Pandemic Music Stops, Will Your Business Still Have a Chair?

In the April 6 edition of Ad Age, Simon Moore, CEO of Innovation Bubble, a behavioral science company, advises that businesses should use this time to assess their user experience and “remove irritants and other stresses that might turn off already anxious customers.”

I could not agree more. In my area, although some local businesses are taking the situation seriously, others seem to be doing business as usual. It should go without saying that this is NOT the time for business as usual.

The network news stations keep running stories about the plight of small businesses, and we all should feel their pain, at least in spirit. However, I believe that, just as in “normal” times, many small business owners and corporate executives alike just don’t “get it.”

For example, recently my wife and I decided to order in from a local independent Italian restaurant using DoorDash. But we wanted to substitute veal for chicken, which required a call.

At 4:30 I called and asked if that was possible. After checking with the owner, the young lady who answered said yes, but that I would need to call back after five.

Mistake #1: Strike while the iron is hot. She should have taken my order while I was on the phone!

Since she said she would be there after 5, I called back at 5:15 and started to place my order, only to be told that substitutions were not possible. I said, “You or someone told me this WAS possible at 4:30. What changed between then and now?” She said she would check on it. After about five minutes, the original young lady came to the phone and said that, yes, she remembered my call and the substitution would be okay.

Mistake #2: The first young lady should have alerted the other young lady and anyone else who was likely to answer the phone that I would be calling back to make a substitution order that had been cleared by the boss.

Then on Sunday, we called another local independent restaurant that was not signed up with DoorDash, only to be put on hold for 10 minutes, and then be told that delivery would be at least 90 minutes.

Mistake #3: They’ve had at least a month to prepare for phone ordering and delivery, so why didn’t they?

So we called our local Jersey Mike’s. They answered quickly, cheerfully took our order, and delivered it within 30 minutes. They get it.

While I wish no malice toward the two restaurants that failed to “remove irritants and other stresses that might turn off already anxious customers,” I would not be surprised that when the pandemic music stops, they don’t have chairs.

Dear reader, if you own, control, or advise a business, I urge you to review, revise and revamp all your customer touchpoints, from your website home page to your marketing messages to your sales and service processes. Do this now, before the music stops.

Click here to get my latest book, “Do This Now or Die,” free on Kindle during the pandemic.