How can we get to the other side of coronavirus with customer and employee relationships intact?

For all the uncertainty we must live through this year, here’s one thing we know: there will be microfinance after COVID-19. Though we are in the roughest days of the storm, it is not impractical to consider how today’s decisions will impact us after the clouds have lifted. All of us want to reach the other side with our customer and employee relationships intact. We want to be proud of how we treated people in the most turbulent times.

1. Keep staff employed

Make every attempt to limit staff termination, even during your inevitable cash shortage. Beyond protecting employees from economic hardship, limiting terminations will improve your ties with customers. As lending grinds to a stop, and your contact with customers might naturally deteriorate, your existing employee-customer relationships could be the very thing that will save your future. Keep the employee, keep her/his portfolio

Before making a decision to terminate an employee, consider alternatives like reducing working hours and salaries (senior managers included), switching from a permanent to a variable employment contract.

2. Repurpose staff to client outreach

Of all the ways you can reorganize your human resources, one of the savviest moves is to reassign people to client outreach.

One of the best investments you can make right now is to maintain close contact with your customers. Many can’t make payments, but they are valuable assets just the same.

3. Communicate with staff every day

Make it your goal that every staff member will hear from someone else in the organization every single day. Early accounts from the field suggest that employees need to hear from senior management once a week and from their direct supervisor daily.

It has always made good business sense to take care of the people who take care of your customers. If the current crisis is an exception to normal business practices, it’s an exception that should work in employees’ favor. The humans who work for you are the keepers of your customer relationships, daily operations, and future business.  Treat them well.

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