Every cloud has a silver lining. It’s an old platitude, one that’s been around for hundreds of years. The reason this saying has stood the test of time is simple: it invites optimism.

Optimism is in short supply right now, as the impact of COVID-19 on human health, society, and global economies continues to unfold. Still, optimism creeps in, and glimmers of its light are being seen as business leaders and their teams fight to protect their livelihoods by finding new ways to serve their customers. Amid the brutal business conditions and stunning rate of change, businesses are finding – and seizing – opportunity.

 Doubling down on customers

The coronavirus pandemic has focused many companies’ attention on their own customers, forcing them to hit pause on their future product development and instead deliver meaningful and material help to customers right now.

“Our current customers are definitely leaning in and saying, “We need you now more than ever!” notes Andrea Lechner-Becker, CMO of LeadMD, a revenue performance consultancy. “Trust is all that matters right now.”

Within miles of my own home, a dry cleaner and auto dealership are both offering free services for healthcare workers and indeed, the news is full of organizations finding creative and valuable ways to help their customers.

Kami Huyse, CEO of Zoetica Media, a PR, and digital agency, manages to be optimistic despite the fact that half of their clientele are travel and tourism businesses. “Right now is a great time to find ways to support them, so they can grow when the economy opens up. By supporting them, we support ourselves as well.”

The “return to normal” may seem so far away that it’s a distant spot on the horizon, but many business owners are keeping an eye on the eventual future, and considering the assistance, they’re providing customers now to be a down payment on their future success.

Get back to basics, starting with customer service, advises Brian Hamilton in a recent Inc.com article titled, “6 Actions to Take in the Next 90 Days to Save Your Business.” “Entrepreneurship is about competition, and you have to outwork the competition on customer service,” he writes.

Don’t forget to plan for the future 

As overwhelming as things may be at the moment, it’s important to remember that this too shall pass, and to maintain some attention on the return to normality (even if it happens by degrees.)

“Right now it’s harder, but more importantly, to take a longer view,” says Andy Crestodina, CEO of Orbit Media, a Chicago-based web design firm. “Ask yourself where will we be in 3 months, 6 months, one year? Will we be positioned to win? What we do now will answer those questions.”

To aid his clients and marketing professionals, Crestodina’s team pulled together a meaty playbook for marketers, to help them ready their organizations for the rebound. In doing so, he’s following his own advice, creating goodwill, value, and awareness for his brand now, by helping his customers and prospects.

The seismic shifts in economies and societies in the wake of the COVID pandemic have required businesses to adapt to unimaginable change at breathtaking speed. Therein is opportunity, for leaders who look for them.

“I do believe there are opportunities to create tighter team cultures, teams that look at the world differently and emerge from this episode stronger than ever before,” notes Stefan Wissenbach, founder and CEO of Engagement Multiplier. “Some business leaders will transform their businesses forever as a result.”

A free offer for our readers:

To help your business navigate its way through this period of change and emerge stronger than ever, Engagement Multiplier is providing free access to its Working From Home & Winning on-demand survey, as well as other tools and resources. Here are the details.

Current clients can access the Working From Home and Winning survey on-demand within their Engagement Multiplier dashboards.