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How Your Response to COVID-19 Can Help You Build Customer Trust

by Jessica Ekholm  |  June 3, 2020  |  Submit a Comment

The health crisis created by COVID-19 presents unique challenges. Technology Service Providers need a framework for acting now and making decisions for the future.

Faced with new realities in the COVID-19 environment, you will need to lead your product strategy by adopting new practices and imperatives:
• Adopt a phased approach to recovery — keep the organization focused on making measured progress toward immediate goals.
• Take a two-track approach: While performing actions in one phase, make decisions about the future phases. This will keep the organization focused on the now while you decide what is next.
• Build stronger customer and partner relationships through active engagement and consistent communications.

And it is the last bullet that I would like to highlight a bit more. Now it is more important than ever to spend considerably more time than usual on nurturing and building stronger customer and partner relationships.

Now is the time to step up and support customers and help them keep their businesses afloat. By supporting your customers in this state of flux, not only are you helping them with their businesses, but even more importantly, you will have a chance of creating greater trust with your customers. As and when the economic terms are showing positive signals, you will be in a much stronger position to help them innovate and move their businesses into growth phases based on the trust you have created throughout the pandemic.

The Four Phases of Building Customer Trust in a Disruptive Crisis

Gartner devised a four-phase approach of how you can strengthen these relationships below.

Four Phases for Leading in a Disruptive Crisis

It is fair to say that most businesses are now trying to “redirect to new realities” or the “new normal”.

But what can you do to strengthen your customer relationships?

Uncover and offer customer success advice on how customers can make full or better use out of their existing products and services. Make sure these calls are based on creating relationships.

Capture new customer expectations. Are products and services still aligned with customer needs? And have what the customer values with the product or service now changed?

Offer general product training webcasts to offer advice on how to better use your technology overall.

Create an online forum/community and offer live chat discussion opportunities for customers to improve communication through which customers can collaborate and each other to provide feedback, suggest and review new ideas, and share best practices.

Set up regular meetings with the head of customer services and support to get a better understanding of which product- and service-related issues and queries “are trending”.

Consider offering certain add-on services for free for a limited time to show goodwill. (A strategy many providers have been offering over the past months).

Pay extra attention to chat bot traffic and mine Q&A currently delivered. Chat bot traffic and any other self-service channels are currently experiencing a hundredfold increase in traffic due to a large increase in customer queries. Also, call centers are being maxed out, meaning more traffic is diverted to chat bots.

For further advice take a look at How Your Response to COVID-19 Can Help You Build Customer Trust as a Tech CEO..

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Jessica Ekholm
VP Analyst
21 years at Gartner
22 years in IT Industry

Jessica Ekholm works as a Vice President covering customer experience (CX). Her CX focus is particularly on how to use AI to improve the customer experience, covering Voice of the Customer (VoC), NLP including sentiment analysis, emotion analysis, text and speech analytics. She also covers conversational platforms, chat bots and voice bots. Read Full Bio

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