Back to Business….but is it business as usual?
In a relatively short period of time, the pandemic turned our world upside down.
Anxiety, stress, and fear intensified. Hostility and disruptive behaviour increased. One study, reported by Springer.com tells us customer incivility rose exponentially during Covid 19. Customer incivility refers to discourteous behaviour perpetrated by customers, such as speaking in an uncivil or abusive manner and ignoring the employees’ greetings or remarks.1
All of the above impacted every business sector; none was harder hit than the service sector.2 Close your eyes for a minute and imagine being a retail worker or a server in a restaurant in this environment….imagine a customer coming towards you without a mask, challenging your safety protocols; imagine another customer coming towards you (with a mask) but yelling that they had to wait out in the cold for 30 minutes because you could only let 6 people in your store at a time.
Can we expect our frontline workers to work as if nothing has changed? The answer of course is no. Even though pandemic protocols have been lifted, our frontline workers are still feeling the effects. They may have lost their jobs, lost income, and suffered or lost someone to Covid itself. How they respond to irate, demanding customers will come from their emotions and experiences too.
How can we as leaders help? The first step is understanding. Understand that leaders are always a couple of steps ahead in the change process. Where you have moved on to getting back to business, others may not have. Be patient. Help them move forward with you. You may be familiar with the Kubler-Ross Change Curve. The adaptation depicted in the graphic above speaks to the emotional response to change.3
Understanding and patience may not be enough. They may need coping mechanisms; new tools and strategies to strengthen their confidence and skills. They may need coaching. They may need to learn how to work in the new environment. They may need our Summer Series! See 'What's Up and Coming' for details.