It’s no surprise that the last 14 months have been the hardest year in hospitality history. One thing the pandemic has shown us, is how fast companies can change revenue strategies when they need to. Businesses everywhere have had to rethink their business models, even if on a temporary basis, to deal with changes in market and competition. Developing the ability to respond rapidly can help a company survive the crisis. EMR is no stranger to the decrease in volume and adjusting our strategies to better serve our customers and stay afloat during this year of economic crisis and uncertainty.
EMR sales and marketing manager, Emily Martin, shared how we adjusted our approach to customer service, introduced new products/services, and altered our sales strategy to better support our customers.
Customer Service: Opening communication channels while being sensitive to customers’ availability for that communication was a focus. We did a lot of listening. We asked our customers questions in order to understand what challenges they were facing, and how we could be their partner; what pain could we help to alleviate – reduced labor rates, travel charges dropped, special equipment start-up programs implemented for re-opening restaurants, technical force canvasing our service territory to offer helping hands, sales team conducting outreach, and more. It was an all hands on deck approach to customer service.
New Products: We supplied new products and installation for COVID-related safety measures, including air scrubbers, touchless faucets, and plexi-glass personal protection barriers that were spec’d, designed, and installed for customers who remained in operation or were re-opening and needed to conform to mandates and guidelines to operate.
Sales Strategy: Prospecting for new business was out, and existing customer relations was in. We were cautiously sensitive to ‘selling’. Our outside sales team was focused on listening to their customers, determining if and when we fit into the picture. In person cold calls were on hold for the safety and interest of our team and the safety and comfort customers’. We continued to communicate heavily internally as the market evolved. We’re happily in a much more flexible sales environment presently.
Despite the many challenges over the past year, one of the positive impacts of the pandemic is a greater level of grace + patience. Businesses understand the pain and challenges others are dealing with, making them more willing to help each other make it through the day. This sort of patience can go a long way toward a partnership that offers more than bottom line benefits.
“There just seems to be a little bit more understanding, tolerance, flexibility and mutual support. I think that is very helpful, too,” said Caroline Kirschnick, President of EMR. “In the beginning, it didn’t seem that way because everybody was operating from a place of fear, but as we all have gone through coming up on a year of this, it feels like there is a lot of mutual respect and flexibility and understanding among people in general.”
Though we are not out of the woods yet, we are optimistic that 2021 will be a successful year for the hospitality industry. We plan to continue adjusting based on their needs and offering support however we can, continuing to learn as much as we can along the way.