Change has been the overlying theme of the COVID-19 era.
Health and safety have been the priority in just about everything we do today. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But the ingredients to make the same tasteful lemonade may be a bit different now. With everything being a moving target nowadays, it’s important to keep up with daily updates from government and health officials.
While the world was on lockdown for a few months, Guernsey’s switch never went off as we are an essential business. 2020 marks our 50th year in the business and half way in, it sure has been an interesting one. To implement best practices, we have added new safety policies and protocols to keep the ball moving forward for the long run.
Our team is filled with unique and experienced individuals that all share the same mission: to satisfy the end-user’s workplace needs especially during these unprecedented times. We really do cherish and prioritize every single customer relationship we have. Alike everything else going on in the world, engaging with clients have also altered greatly. The usual on-site visits have decreased in light of social distancing, as people converse and “meet” through online video chat alongside phone calls and e-mails.
Good thing you’ve clicked on this blog post because you’re in for a special treat. Amongst their busy schedules I got the chance to ask a few questions on how it’s like to connect with customers after the outbreak of COVID-19. A big thanks to these superstars, Chuck, Stasia, and Bridget. Let’s dive in!
1. How has COVID-19 shifted your daily tasks as you engage with customers?
Chuck: “I really miss seeing my customers. Frankly, I worry about them. I worry about their jobs, their families, and their health. I miss talking to them about current events, sports, entertainment, and their loved ones. It has been tough but, I understand why it is necessary to stay apart for now and I am trying to fill the void as best as I can.”
Stasia: “It has made a big difference as now I can’t go visit the customers in their office as before, now we do a lot of online chats and tons of emails and phone calls. And with a lot of changes in personnel I have been meeting new people to connect with. But has not changed the daily task of reaching out.”
Bridget: “No more pop in visits in the Covid-19 world. So much more planning is needed for customer contact turning from sales rep to safety advisor.”
2. How are your customers reacting to the pandemic?
Chuck: “I think the common and key word to describe how my customers are reacting to the pandemic is, UNCERTAINTY… Frankly, every single person who walks the globe is currently saddled with the feeling of uncertainty. We have no idea when to expect the PPE backorder to arrive, we have no idea if our family is safe, we have no idea when to expect a vaccine, we have no idea when our office can safely open fully. Trying to make sound business and personal decisions with such uncertainty is a difficult proposition.”
Stasia: “They are very unsure as to how to navigate and adjusting to working almost completely remotely. Most are still up and running but limited or no access to their office and normal daily engagement.”
Bridget: “Stressed is the word that first comes to mind. Business owners are really getting hit hard and that worry trickles down.”
3. Your role has been crucial to many during this time, what’s your favorite part of your job?
Chuck: “My role has been crucial and that has been a silver lining. I went from helping offices run smoothly to helping offices keep their employees safe. It used to be how to find a coffee bean that everyone likes to…helping find a solution to a life or death situation. I feel a responsibility to keep customers informed. I feel a responsibility to keep costs down and products flowing.
I have received many emails from customers showing their appreciation. Not only have I provided PPE products for their offices, but many for their homes as well. Their heartfelt gratitude has truly helped me get through some of these very tough times.”
Stasia: “Being able to help out. I always have considered myself a resource for their regular office needs but now I feel like I play a more crucial role in helping them out and keeping them prepared.”
Bridget: “Favorite part of the job is learning about a new product to help control the virus in the workplace then I get to be the hero with the solution to help.”
4. How do you see the workplace changing moving forward?
Chuck: “I really do not know. It truly depends on a vaccine or an effective therapeutic. Short term things will certainly be different, but hopefully long term, we will be able to get back to the world we once knew.”
Stasia: “Well no one really is 100% sure, as I too am still pretty new to this. Thus far the customers that are back to work or never closed have definitely been taking on larger roles for their companies. I see the office space changing from what we all thought it was going to be, less collaborative spaces to a lot more health conscious workplaces.”
Bridget:“I think that offices will not go back to being fully staffed, telework will be the new normal and offices will move from the open bullpen work area to controlled spaces to fit each employee’s need.”
Making adjustments and changes may take time, but right now is the time to respond as many workplaces are reopening. Although there is still a sense of uncertainty, it’s important you best position yourself for the future. Being able to hear from three different perspectives about the current situation has been an insightful and eye-opening experience. Let’s start today on your workplace game plan. Like my boss always tells me, “onwards and upwards!”
Ethan is an avid follower of sports and music, appreciates the small things in life, and believes pizza is always the answer. With his background in advertising, his passion for marketing and design stay true to him everyday. Pass him a shovel, because he can dig it.