A Love/Hate Relationship With Routine

Has it been a year already?

This week, one year ago, was one of the most unusual times in my memory.  I had just started my new role a few weeks earlier, had sold my home of nearly twenty years and was settling into an apartment for the last few months of the school year.  I was looking forward to putting the troubles of selling a home behind me as I wanted a little bit of planning and routine.  

Yes…routine.  That was what was in order for me for the next three months before we finished our move across an ocean.  I doubt any of us were expecting what the next two weeks would bring.  We saw hope of “routine” disappear nearly overnight, ushering a phase of chaos.

Customer Experience is not routine

There has been a lot of discussion and speculation about how the pandemic would change the customer experience.  Better or worse – that would be opinion.  Different…I don’t think anyone would argue that it is different.  Some may want it to go back to how it was before, but that is unlikely.  Even if it did, would your customers want that same experience back?

I would contend that the ensuing chaos we’ve experienced over the past year will teach us some valuable lessons surrounding the customer experience and will result in some long term changes that should have been considered anyhow.  

Cleanliness and sanitation – definitely will be a requirement for most customers moving forward.  Fewer customers in the store, while that seems like a bad thing for most companies, it will allow the interactions to be more personal.  Scheduling an appointment for a larger purchase may become routine, it will also allow the customer to get their most pertinent questions answered allowing them to feel more comfortable in making that purchase.  

Routine is the goal, but only after chaos

Each of those changes that were a departure from the routine and arose during the chaos of the pandemic resulted in a new routine.  Often a CX Strategy revolves around making the customer experience part of the routine.  There is a focus on NPS, Customer Satisfaction or another measure.  We ask our employees to focus on a score and follow some routines that will ensure the customer process goes smoothly.  But does that really benefit the customer and the customer experience?  Even more important, will the interaction always be “routine”, and should they be?  The chaos – both short and long term chaos – allows us to review the old process, fix things that may be broken and adjust to a new routine. 

A year ago I went from routine – to chaos.  Which brought a new routine…time to enjoy that routine while it lasts.  Chaos will follow, and that is good, even if it is uncomfortable.