50 million. This is the number of jobs that Covid-19 is set to impact, according to The World Travel and Tourism Council.

What does this number mean? The reduction of 12-14 percent of global jobs reflects an unprecedented humanitarian and societal crisis. The sheer speed and scale of COVID-19’s impact on global travel and tourism will no doubt produce long-lasting implications – what was once considered a norm will no longer remain so.

However, one principle that remains stronger than before is that of customer centricity. In the best of times, we place customers at the core of all that we do. In today’s challenging and uncertain business context, we have to push ourselves beyond grueling limits to make customer experiences even more meaningful.

Here are five areas that I think businesses should focus on to get closer to customers and their communities:

  • Customer Knowledge Knowledge stands miles ahead of just knowing — and it isn’t easy for sure. Feeling the ‘consumer pulse’ intimately is a must for every travel business. It is a daily strategic exercise, and it prompts constant and continuous changes in investments and actions.

  • Customer Obsession As customers are competing in a digital era, companies should look at how they can help them weather this storm. What are the nuances that are vitally required beyond the simplistic assertion of customer-centricity? How does a business vault beyond customer feedback and sentiment that defines the brand? That is what customer obsession is all about — a relentless pursuit of understanding, delighting, connecting and servicing customers. It is the true asset and advantage in crisis survival – and a force that is resistant to technology disruption. It calls for agile shifting of investments to build and act on the customer knowledge acquired.

  • Serving Customers’ Core Needs COVID-19 has caused a swell of change in global and local conditions. So, how does a company adapt to its impact on its customers’ core needs? The answer is simple: by being transparent in operations and compassionate in engagements. This will create more profound and trusted relationships.

  • Extended and Accelerated Collaboration Collaboration is key to creating outstanding customer experiences. Deploy collaboration tools across the organization. Build solid bridges with customers, employees, suppliers and partners.

  • Seamless Networking Implement reliable, secure and efficient remote networks of connectivity at employees’ homes — and seamlessly integrate them with customers and partners. This will impact customer-centricity to a great extent.

The mantra is clear. Know, obsess and serve customers with an effective web of collaboration and connectedness. By making the outcomes memorable, businesses can bring their customers closer to them.

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