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Leadership

Woman Assistant

Tasks You Should Be Delegating to an Assistant

By | Corporate Culture, Leadership | No Comments

A study by Harvard Business Review shares that senior managers and executives work in excess of 60 hours per week. The study also suggests that most executives spend large portions of their weekends and vacation time working as well. Admittedly, senior executives have a lot to do—investor meetings, managing teams, planning, crisis management, project tracking, email triaging, etc.

With increasingly fewer hours to spend on personal development and with family, time can often feel scarce. Putting in long hours can feel like the solution, but it isn’t. Throughout the day or week, executives spend time on tasks that do not require their specialized skill set and eat into their productivity. These can be accomplished by an assistant instead.

Let’s look at the tasks an assistant can execute on your behalf, so you can prioritize the things that truly matter.

What Tasks Should You Delegate To Your Assistant?

Here are some of which you could delegate to your assistant.

Managing Emails

Do you regularly check your emails to ‘stay on top of things?’ While it may seem like the least time-consuming activity, a study conducted by McKinsey Global Institute suggests that an average of 13 hours a week are spent checking emails!

A large percentage of emails clogging your inbox is just promotional or spam, and having an assistant to sort through them allows you to focus on important tasks that require your active attention.

Bookings and Reservations

If you travel frequently and spend hours searching for accommodations, the best deals on flight reservations, refunds, car rentals, etc., then perhaps it’s time to consider delegating these tasks to an assistant. An assistant can make all your reservations ensure that your travel and food-related preferences are met, and your itinerary is optimized so that you can focus on your meetings and relax in your downtime.

Organizing Appointments and Scheduling Meetings

Organizing appointments and scheduling meetings is another task that requires more attention than necessary. Constantly updating your calendar, searching for openings to schedule meetings, re-scheduling previously set appointments—these are tedious tasks that genuinely don’t require your attention and can easily be handled by an assistant.

Research and Reports

Most senior executives spend an unnecessary portion of their time collating data and making reports and presentations. An assistant can take the burden of research off you, irrespective of whether you want information on the background of a particular client or if you wish to gather data for a meeting. Yes, assistants are trained to be adept at research, and you can make informed decisions without spending hours sifting through data based on their findings.

Personal Errands and Support

Your assistant can handle multiple personal errands for you—from booking doctor’s appointments to scheduling children’s birthdays, shopping for presents for important occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, house warming parties. Assistants can also help you stay ahead of overdue communication, check on aspects such as car repairs, manage your social media, and more.

Managing everything alone is a Herculean task, but it doesn’t have to be. An assistant’s support can be crucial to taking small-but-significant things off your plate, ensuring your day goes smoothly. Work with us today—we make finding the proper support for you easier.

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Woman Executive

How Top Leaders Manage Their Time and Increase Impact

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According to Allan C Stam, the Dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, leadership is the art of getting things done. And while many leaders are adept at resource management (people, money, etc.), they struggle to find time to get things done.

Experts suggest that a time audit, time management measures, focus on sustainable productivity, along with a reduction of phantom workload can help people get things done efficiently and eliminate workplace stress.

While there’s no universal formula, here’s a list of five strategies to help leaders manage their time well and increase their impact.

How Leaders Manage Their Time Efficiently

Senior executives will agree that leadership is a mix of clarity, purpose, knowledge, and fortitude.

Here are some ways you can maximize your impact.

Plan Realistically

You can’t plan every second of every day. Things are bound to go wrong, and plans will change. This is normal. This is life.

And while we can’t control everything, we can create efficient schedules to increase our productivity, set deadlines to remain focused, and deal with procrastination-triggering stress wisely. Other strategies to consider include goal setting and downtime—starting early and frequent breaks—which can help increase productivity levels.

Prioritize Purposefully

Do you feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day to complete everything on your list? Then maybe it’s time to revisit how you prioritize.

Ask yourself these questions so you can be more purposeful when prioritizing:

  • Is it important or urgent?
  • How long will it take?
  • How much effort will it take?
  • Can you delegate it to someone else?
  • Is this expected of you, or do you want to do this?
  • Would someone in your team perform a task more effectively than you?

If you can assign tasks that do not require your active attention to someone else, you can focus your time and energy on being more productive.

Delegate

A “can do” attitude is a valuable attribute, but a “can do it alone” attitude is not. Leaders have teams for a reason—each team member has a strength or skill that makes them valuable, and leveraging these strengths helps leaders better manage their time. Should executive-level help be required, hiring an executive assistant is prudent.

Assistants can be gatekeepers, email organizers, calendar setters, stand-ins for meetings, researchers and more. Simply getting the right kind of help and delegating tasks that don’t require your expertise and time can bringa degree of efficiency to your day.

Find Your Rhythm

By “find your rhythm,” we mean pay attention to how your individual productivity works:

  • What motivates you?
  • What hours of the day are you most energized?
  • What environment helps you focus better?

Once you understand the optimum conditions that boost your productivity, you can maintain these conditions. This way, you can remain consistent in your work.

This also expands to discipline. Motivation comes and goes, but a disciplined schedule will keep you on track for success.

Boundaries Are Important

Even the best planners can feel overwhelmed if boundaries aren’t established and maintained. Overpromising or taking on too much can lead to delivery shortfalls and unintended consequences such as client dissatisfaction. Leaders can exemplify sustainable productivity by being realistic about how much can be achieved, saying “no” when appropriate, and reinforcing boundaries.

Better time management is key to personal growth, goal achievement, and creating a productive work environment.

Being a leader entails shouldering many responsibilities, and we at understand that it isn’t easy. We can help you find an efficient assistant so you can delegate by design and get the maximum out of your time.

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Are You a Great Boss?

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Are you a great boss?

Think carefully about your response. Your answer to this question matters significantly, especially when you’re hiring an executive assistant. In our work connecting top executive suite talent, we’ve learned that A-list executive assistants know precisely the type of boss they’re looking for.

We’ve also discovered that the interview is reciprocal. While you’re interviewing for your next assistant, the EA candidates we send out are interviewing you. They’re gauging whether you’re the type of person they want to work for.

And they’ve told us what characteristics they want to see in their next boss.

7 Characteristics of a Great Boss

As much as executives may share similar communication and management styles, each person is uniquely different. Your beliefs, experiences and values can affect how you manage your employees.

During an interview, executive assistant applicants try to identify your strengths and weaknesses as a way to gauge whether their skills fit your leadership style.

Great bosses are known for:

  1. Communicating frequently, honestly and with transparency. They don’t play “gotcha” games, and they state positive or negative facts without blaming or yelling. They provide honest feedback and give specific praise.
  2. Distributing the workload equitably. They don’t overload the employee who never complains about having too much work, and they don’t play favorites by letting others have a lighter workload. They also don’t micromanage.
  3. Putting together exceptional teams. They find and retain the best and brightest employees, which improves the skills of all team members. The camaraderie experienced among team members keeps them together, and they become stronger as a whole.
  4. Avoiding blameTheir approach in righting a wrong is to identify the challenge, correct it and move on. They’ll hold employees accountable, but they don’t look for fault.
  5. Finding greatness in those who work with them. The best bosses recognize and reward employees for work done well. They also make sure their employees have the training and development opportunities to excel and move forward in their careers.
  6. Demonstrating integrity. They are professional and honest – the kind of person employees trust. They also build trust by doing the right thing for the right reason. If they say they’ll do something, they follow through.
  7. Showing compassion for others. They understand that employees have lives outside the workplace. They’re sympathetic when personal needs occasionally infringe on the workday, possibly allowing for remote work options when an employee has to keep a sick child home from school.

Being the type of boss people want to work for comes down to managing your own emotions before you manage anyone else. That means treating your colleagues and employees with respect as well as valuing their opinions and work.

When you create an inclusive and supportive corporate culture, you’ll discover that the best executive assistant will want to work for you!

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Female Leaders

Female Leaders Proven More Likely to Coach and Mentor

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Women make up more than half of the labor force in the United States and earn almost 60 percent of advanced degrees, yet they bring home less pay and fill fewer seats in the C-suite than men, particularly in male-dominated professions like finance and technology.

Research suggests that the male presence in the majority of senior leadership positions does not indicate that men possess better talent than women, but rather there is no significant indication of better performance in a specific gender. In fact, many studies consider women to be more likely to excel in leadership and mentorship roles.

Female leaders are proven more likely to coach and mentor successfully for many reasons:

Less transactional and more strategic relationships with employees

While men use networking to advance their careers, women tend to use their networks for both support and relationship building. Women’s presence in the upper echelon can enhance the social networking and mentoring opportunities of other women in the organization.

Women tend to be kinder in leadership roles

Kindness is rarely ever associated with leadership. However, some form of reassurance, compassion, and empathy can make a huge difference in your team’s dynamics. According to studies, women tend to be equalitarians, sharing evenly with peers while men tend to be more individualistic. Effective leadership demands kindness. In fact, leadership in itself is an act of kindness.

Women trend more emotionally intelligent

When it comes to empathy and self-regard, women tend to score higher than men. Studies show that women are more likely to identify emotions and subtle cues of emotional expressions.

Psychologist Daniel Goleman considers higher emotional intelligence a major trait of ineffective leaders. A leader or a mentor needs to connect with people at a deeper level to make an impact in their lives. These traits help them support, coach, influence and resolve conflict among individuals and teams effectively.

Most people imagine leadership to be a male-dominant field. For example, qualities such as confidence, independence, and assertiveness are frequently associated with men. We hardly ever think of empathy, kindness, relationship building, or collaboration to be leadership traits. This is a bias handed down to us since our childhoods. It is time we change these narratives and think of leadership as an amalgam of traits that cater to both a variety of qualities and attributes.

Mentoring is critical for team growth and talent retention. Are you doing enough to support your team? Hire a recruiter today to find the next leader for your team!

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Support Staff that CEOs Need to Succeed

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Hiring support staff is a critical investment that new CEOs can and must make quickly at the corporate helm in their first few weeks. Anyone taking the reins of a billion-dollar company recognizes that they cannot do everything or be everywhere themselves. Instead, they must have a support staff that is strategic, tactical, and can influence others.

Many first-time CEOs focus on implementing new initiatives that will meet the goals set by the board. Corporate leaders want to hit the ground running, likely deferring the hiring of their staff until much later.

They continue to work with the staffing system already in place. Maybe the current organizational system is working. More than likely, however, it can’t adapt to and keep up with the changes the new CEO wants to make.

Therefore, the CEO must hire support staff to succeed.

The Right Support Staff for Every CEO

CEO support falls into three strategic areas: communication, information control, and traffic flow. Patrick Aylward (Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey identifies the roles and duties this way:

  • Air traffic controller – Handlings systems and logistics for the senior leadership team and the CEO.
  • Integrator – Coordinating systems and information between departments and divisions so that no one works in isolation.
  • Communicator – Managing public, media relations, and corporate philosophy between company leaders and other employees.
  • Honest broker and truth-teller – Identifying challenges and opportunities without bias
  • Confidant – Listening without advocating for a personal or political agenda.

Hiring multiple team members devoted to these five areas enhances the CEO’s ability to make rapid changes. In many cases, that’s what CEOs establish. They hire a Chief of Staff and several Executive Assistants. 

Support Staff Characteristics

The difference between good support staff and great support staff lies in their skills and their attitudes about the role they play.

The most outstanding support staff:

  • Understands the corporate culture
  • Wants to see the company succeed
  • Collaborates with stakeholders at all levels
  • Demonstrates exceptional executive functioning skills
  • Initiates tasks independently
  • Works with little supervision
  • Communicates well verbally and in writing
  • Uses software management products with proficiency
  • Maintains high levels of confidentiality

It seems like the CEO’s support staff must have the strategic acumen of Sun Tzu, the confidence of Joan of Arc, the wisdom of King David, and the compassion of Mary Poppins.

In reality, however, finding the right CEO support staff is a task made simple. It merely takes working with recruiters who know what successful corporate leaders need and where to find the talent to support them.

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Why You Need a Chief of Staff

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Corporate and non-profit CEOs share one common element: they need a Chief of Staff. The chief of staff in any organization is the CEO’s right hand, managing a plethora of activities, information, and staff.

The chief of staff, often along with multiple Executive Assistants, creates the synergy necessary for the organization to operate effectively. No other person can communicate across various levels and throughout various departments as effectively as the chief of staff.

The person holding this position promotes the corporate culture, shares the company philosophy, and manages executive functions.

The Chief of Staff Coordinates C-Suite Functions 

While your chief of staff will work directly with you, they also have other responsibilities since this role is responsible for seamless c-suite workflow.

Your chief of staff will:

  • Prep materials for meetings and schedule their date, time and location.
  • Develop and distribute internal and external communication, including emails, newsletters, presentations, speeches, reports, white papers, and more.
  • Organize special corporate events
  • Take on project management responsibilities for annual strategic planning
  • Monitor and update KPIs
  • Supervise the work of those who support the CEO and c-suite management

When you’re not available, your chief of staff will be. That can keep your leadership team functioning all the time, not just when you’re in the office.

Scale-up your Business Wisely

Sometimes businesses decide that scaling up means adding more. That means more initiatives, bigger goals, and an expanded staff of C-Suite leaders, like a COO.

That kind of thinking can jeopardize your corporate success and damage your career. Hiring a leader like a COO is a costly strategy that your company might not yet be ready for, especially in the early stages of corporate growth.

How do CEOs scale when adding expensive positions isn’t an option?

Savvy CEOs hire a chief of staff, and here’s why:

  • Time is everything, but there’s not enough of it in the day. The chief of staff does the things you don’t have time for
  • No one knows your business better. This person serves in the role of confidant, allowing you to pitch an idea or muse about possibilities effectively.
  • Streamlined services save money. No one recognizes cost-saving initiatives like your chief of staff, who will likely have sound recommendations for implementing ways to save money.
  • You gain another channel for communication. Keeping teams informed and up to date can be difficult. A competent chief of staff and a team of executive assistants can get the word out so you can get on with business.

Corporate and non-profit CEOs can’t afford to lose out on the one staffing position most likely to help them succeed and advance the company goals.

The time is now. We can help you find the chief of staff best suited for your needs.

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CEO

What Sets the Best CEOs Apart from Others

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As the leader in any organization, the Chief Executive Officer holds an exceptionally visible position of power and influence.

The CEO’s job includes setting the mission, visions, and goals, motivating the executive team, collaborating with stakeholders, representing the company and its values, and developing a solid work-life balance.

How does a board find someone who can execute these tasks flawlessly?

As it turns out, the board can’t because perfection doesn’t exist. It isn’t even preferable. Instead, hiring boards should consider these five characteristics.

  1. Education and Experience

Many boards tend to seek out leaders with degrees from prestigious universities. There is little correlation between the stamp on a sheepskin and the recipient’s ability to lead an organization.

What does matter, however, is the CEO’s willingness to learn and apply their knowledge and previous skills to help to make decisions.

  1. Personal Characteristics

Many people identify extroverts as the best CEOs because they are charismatic leaders. In reality, introverts perform better in this role, quickly meeting or exceeding their goals.

While confidence may land a candidate a CEO position, it does not affect job performance.

CEOs are willing to confront others when necessary. They don’t hide from challenges; they meet them head-on. Those who excel in their roles focus on meeting their goals – and winning.

  1. Best CEO Decision-Making Habits

CEOs who can strategize and make decisions quickly excel over those who do not. 

The reason is simple: executive-level leadership requires decisiveness. CEOs must make decisions confidently, even when there’s little time to respond to developing situations. Making a mistake is preferable to making no decision at all.

Those surrounding the CEO prefer consistent and immediate decision-making to uncertain delays.

  1. Getting Buy-In from Others

Those in the top position in a company seek feedback and gather diverse viewpoints. These viewpoints may shape the CEO’s decision, but the decision is based on facts rather than popular opinion.

Top CEOs prefer to hire people with the skills they may be lacking; these employees often become trusted advisors.

  1. Strategy-Building Skills

Not everyone can see the big picture, but that’s what the CEO does. This role requires eagle-eye acuity for envisioning how all the parts work together. Those who work with CEOs often describe them as:

  • proactive proponents of change for the right reasons
  • committed to thinking long-term
  • trustworthy individuals who follow-through
  • positive and predictable
  • makers of bold moves

Not everyone has the skills and mindset to be a CEO. To be the best at the top position in any company requires a unique set of characteristics. As it turns out, no one thing defines a successful CEO. The most successful, and ultimately the best CEOs, are a combination of everything.

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Corporate Woman

More Women Left Corporate Jobs During the Pandemic

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The pandemic has completely transformed perspectives about work, especially for women. In the 18 months since COVID-19 appeared, more than half of working women are less optimistic about their job opportunities than they were before a novel virus took the world by storm.

For women in corporate jobs, the future appears even bleaker.

How the Pandemic Exacerbated Conditions

During the pandemic, many women who had corporate jobs reverted to traditional roles.

They found themselves in the position of being the caretaker for everyone around them. These women provided emotional support and encouragement for their employees on their teams.

During the lockdown periods, these same women were also the support system at home, assisting their children with virtual learning, checking on relatives, and holding the family together. Women traded their career aspirations and took on greater domestic responsibility.

As a result, the women burned out quickly.

Difficulties Women Face in Corporate Jobs

Landing a job in corporate America isn’t easy as a woman. It’s even more difficult as a woman of color or LGBTQIA.

Many corporate women have experienced the broken rung syndrome: making their way up the corporate ladder is nearly impossible because the first step in moving up is often disconnected. It’s so shattered that getting to the second rung is a tremendous hurdle.

Corporate roles require considerable face time when managing or leading teams of employees. During the pandemic, women:

  • experienced higher stress levels than men (74% compared to 61%)
  • burned out quicker than men in similar jobs
  • earned less than men for the same job
  • left the corporate workforce at a rate of 3:1 compared to their male counterparts

Women gave up the positions they worked for on the ladder. In doing so, they also may have given up their opportunity for further advancement.

Changing the Outcome

The good news is that the future doesn’t have to be bleak.

Companies can – and should – encourage women to return to their places in corporate positions. These five steps can help women step up over that first broken rung of the corporate ladder and on to richly satisfying careers.

  1. Offer greater flexibility 

Allow employees to take time off when needed. Some companies have experimented with unlimited paid leave. If that’s too big of a leap, try a smaller commitment of a few days at a time.

  1. Align accountability with financial incentives 

Too often, performance metrics don’t match up. Reward results rather than time spent in the building.

  1. Consider diversity when hiring 

More than numbers, diversity thrives when people of different backgrounds, races, and experiences work together.

  1. Eliminate bias and identify promotion trends

Make sure equitable performance reviews identify accomplishments and any need for professional growth accurately.

  1. Listen when women speak

Women in corporate jobs find that their ideas and contributions are often suppressed.

With your help, the women who shouldered the burden of the pandemic will be back, stronger and better equipped to lead companies forward.

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Woman CEO

More Women Running Fortune 500 Companies Now Than Ever

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The climate change happening in the business world, albeit a slow progression, sees steady growth in acceptance of women running Fortune 500 companies. The companies that have taken the step to hire women CEOs have made interesting discoveries. Some women carry specific traits that help them not only land these top positions but thrive in them.

According to Fortune, women running Fortune 500 businesses in 2021 hit an all-time record high of 41, two of which are black women – another first.

Given women’s history in business, these records are worth celebrating, and Korn Ferry states that the celebration will continue with foundations like The Rockefeller Foundation starting initiatives like the “100×25” initiative. An initiative to hire 100 Fortune 500 women CEOs by 2025.

So what is it that helps women stand out as leaders that can profoundly change organizations for the better?

3 Traits Women Running Fortune 500 Companies All Possess

According to Forbes, McKinsey published research titled “Women Matter,” with proof of how differently women CEOs run things. The main finding suggests that women leaders implement at least five of the nine most important leadership behaviors to improve organizational performance, whereas men tend to lack in this area.

The five behaviors most commonly referred to by women include:

  • People Development: Teaching, mentoring, and listening to individual needs as a top priority.
  • Expectations and Rewards: Clearly defining expectations and rewarding when targets are met.
  • Role Model: Focusing on building respect and being a role model for the company.
  • Inspiration: Presenting a compelling vision of the future that inspires workers to implement the changes necessary to get there.
  • Participative Decision-Making: A team atmosphere where everyone is encouraged to participate in decision-making.

Aside from these behaviors, there are 3 personality traits that women CEOs possess as well:

  1. They are driven and committed to the success

It takes women an average of four more years than men to make it into leadership positions. During this time, women spend their careers in a number of different roles, companies, and industries. By the time they make it to the CEO, they are ready to commit to the company and apply their wealth of experience.

  1. They are devoted to positive workplace culture

In Korn Ferry’s study, 25% of women were proud of the positive culture they created in their companies. Women understand that for the company to succeed, it starts with the workers, and workplace culture is one of the main things that can make or break a company.

  1. Most have STEM or substantial financial backgrounds

Nearly 60% of all women in business have a definable background in STEM, business, finance, or economics, as posted by Korn Ferry. This type of knowledge serves as a catalyst for success, whether male or female.

Still, women know they have to work harder and prove themselves more than men do. This is a tide that is beginning to shift but still exists, nonetheless.

Women make it abundantly clear how beneficial it is to start from the bottom and climb your way to the top. Most women are forced to start in lower positions than men, but it only proves to help them succeed later on when finally promoted to CEO. Women continue to prove how resilient, courageous, and agile they are in business. They have the ability to revolutionize the modern-day workforce.

Every company that hires a woman CEO brings that reality into fruition.

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Empathetic Leaders

Consumer-Facing Companies Need Empathetic Leaders

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There’s no question that Covid-19 forced fundamental changes to the way we run as a society. After nearly two years, some of these changes will likely be permanent. One fundamental change businesses are making is how they relate to their customers. Rather than customer engagement and convenience being the main focus, it’s now shifting to essential needs, like safety and security.

According to Forbes, displaying this level of acknowledgment to customers makes them feel like the company is concerned about them and looking for tangible solutions to their current problems. If this sort of empathy is to be extended to the customer, it first starts within.

How does a company become more empathetic as a whole? It starts with leadership. Empathetic leaders give the workers a role model for empathy that turns into an entire company exuding the emotion. 

Chief Experience Officers (CXO) Are the Empathetic Leaders You Need

Rather than the entire C-Suite focusing on finances and numbers, having someone in the room advocating for the customer at the turn of every major business decision is the best way to close the customer experience gap and keep it closed.

CXOs not only look at every step of the customer experience to ensure every touchpoint is dedicated to the customer’s needs, but they serve as that empathetic advocate for the rest of the company. They can effectively inspire the company to want to focus on the customer and each department delivering their “line of sight” in full dedication to the customer experience.

Allowing the CXO to inspire and mentor the company to deliver that customer-focused line of sight will build a genuine, empathetic framework that vibrates throughout the company. 

Different Ways Customer-Facing Companies Can Empathize During the Pandemic

Customers are humans first, who may have had trouble paying their bills and meeting necessities since the onset of the pandemic.

How does a business empathize with this while still making money?

Here are a few key ideas:

  • Rather than focusing on upselling, showcase how you can provide them with the essentials they need, including safety and security. Customers are likely to upsell on their own if you appeal to these needs.
  • Remain at the forefront of their hearts while implementing contactless business.
  • Rebranding certain products to tailor to customer needs.
  • Be a light in your customers’ day at a time when depression and anxiety are on the rise.
  • Focus on your web presence as this is the epicenter for customer experience right now.

There is something to be said for empathetic business. Empathy has always been a keynote in the customer experience but is now more than ever. Customers crave that security and trust in a brand. In order to create such a framework, empathy has to be encoded in the DNA of the company. Finding an empathetic leader that inspires the company to focus on empathy for the customer above all else is the core that will set you apart.

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