The question of how companies can help employees and customers during these uncertain times seems to be on everybody’s mind as a whopping 86% of the participants said that their companies were grappling with this.
Anthony Napolitano shared the ways in which HP Instant Ink was helping its employees. “Being able to connect with people and see them has a much different meaning now than it did just a few weeks ago. So, we’re doing things like coffee talks, brown bags, etc every week to get together and communicate. We’re also starting to share customer testimonials specific to COVID-19 and show how our service is helping people in ways that we never really thought was imaginable. This helps our employees feel like their work is giving back to the community,” he said.
Ernst agreed and added “We’re doing the same thing around customer testimonials. Enabling your employees to see the value of your products and your services is powerful during such times.”
The panelists discussed the issue of businesses walking the seemingly thin line between altruism and opportunism. “Sometimes, there are assets that an organization has that they feel obligated to share. For instance, the way a lot of publications are relaxing their paywalls around COVID-19 related content or Zoom is expanding its services to help educational institutions. That’s an obligation to the community. It also has the effect of creating trials and driving a huge spike in business. However, this can become an issue for some organizations if they’re going about it in a way that is not aligned with their values and mission, which can then have a negative impact on the organization as a whole,” cautioned Baxter.
Napolitano concurred and said that it’s important for businesses to find the right balance. He added that such decisions have an additional layer of complexity for subscriptions with physical goods.