The Grand Reopening: Supporting Customers as the World Returns to Business as Usual

By: Serena Riley

How are you evolving your customer experiences to support customers as the world reopens?

It’s a warm summer day and you, along with hundreds of other strangers, are anxiously winding your way through the queues waiting for your turn to ride the newest roller coaster in your favorite theme park. The sweat is beading on your skin, but you don’t care because you know soon enough the speed from the coaster will replace those beads with gooseflesh. Your turn has come; you mount the ride and begin the ascent – the click-clacking of the car being pulled up the track is building anticipation and excitement. Then suddenly, you stop moving and you’re stuck at the top of the hill. It takes what seems like hours for the ride technicians to determine the issue, meanwhile you’re experiencing a flurry of emotions: disappointment, frustration, worry, fear, etc. Ultimately, the technicians decide that for the safety of the riders they’re going to evacuate all passengers and close the ride.


While some may argue their life wasn’t as exciting as a roller coaster ride previous to the Coronavirus pandemic, the analogy of everything coming to a halt and closing down, the emotions you feel in anticipation of understanding the effects of the halt, and the concern you have for the reopening of the ride after such a major shutdown are still relevant. Customers have been through varying levels of grieving, adapting, and evolution in the past few months. Their needs and expectations have morphed as they’ve lived through each emotional stage. “Business as usual” can no longer be the same “usual” as pre-COVID-19. And because of this, your customer experiences should be morphing too.


As the world begins to loosen the reigns on the Stay-at-Home orders, adapting your customer experiences will require a persistent understanding of what customers are seeing, thinking, feeling, and doing. Here are a few suggestions to consider while evaluating and evolving your customers’ experiences:

  • Keep a constant and current pulse on your customers. This does not mean surveying them every chance you get. It means tapping into your “always on” listening sources to determine the current state of emotions. That should include social media, insights from research and advisory companies (e.g. Gartner, Forrester, etc.), and most importantly, your front-line employees. Experiences are going to need to be far more malleable then they once were. Are you equipped to alter them often?

  • Meet your customers where they are. One size does not fit all. Not all customers are ready to go back to their previous spending, eating, shopping, and engagement habits. Some will crawl, some will walk, and others will run. Do you have experiences in place to meet those various levels of activity?

  • Include empathy in all experiences. Customers are on high alert. Their sense of normalcy has been shaken and their actions may represent a fragile or hyper-aware emotional state. Your communications, messaging, and personal interactions should have a tone of humanity. They should remind your customers that even though you’re a business, there are real people behind the logo learning how to better serve in this new environment. They should portray patience, kindness, and the understanding that you’ll continue to learn and adapt to what is needed and expected.

The rollercoaster ride of life is far from over, this was just another dip gaining momentum for something bigger and better. Let’s help to make the transition as smooth as possible for our customers and empower experiences of joy. Let’s have a grand reopening!

About the author:

Serena Riley, CCXP

Director of Customer Experience, LLamasoft.

Serena is a customer experience expert who specializes in cultivating customer-centricity and employee-elevation.  Featured in Amplified Customer Experience: "Getting immersive to create alignment, and empathy" and on Walker Info's "The CX Leader Podcast" on Best Practices in CX, she enables organizations to drive solution and experience improvements, increasing engagement and delivering happiness to customers and employees for over 15-years.

© 2023 by Train of Thoughts. Proudly created with Wix.com