In the early months of the pandemic, companies moved quickly to minimize the risks associated with social distancing, remote work, and employee safety. As companies shifted their business channels and workforces to digital, the supporting role of customer service providers shifted as well. This means putting extra effort into providing what customers needed and keeping them satisfied.
In these uncertain times, the need for customer service never slowed down but further increased. Communications between customers and businesses have become more frequent, from submitting orders, canceling reservations, and offering feedback. Some companies have to invest more in customer service technology to accommodate as many inquiries as possible. One example is using a next-generation firewall from Fortinet to protect the exchange of customer data over private networks. This tool is handy as cyberattacks are starting to prey on people’s fear over the pandemic.
While companies are improving in terms of service delivery, some are lacking in terms of delivering emphatic experiences. This means providing personalized customer experiences that are predictive and proactive at scale while utilizing technology. Basically, customer service during the pandemic is not just about being polite or nice, but knowing each person’s unique needs at the right place and time.
In this article, we’ll discuss how customer service has transformed consumer behaviors during the pandemic. We’ll also provide recommendations to improve customer support during the pandemic and beyond.
Be more responsive
In normal circumstances, adapting new technology often takes companies several months or years to successfully implement it into their process. But when COVID-19 hit, companies have to accelerate the adoption of digital initiatives in just a few weeks or even days. Most of these initiatives became critical, as they provide long-term solutions to lower costs and streamline efficiency.
Many companies lacking the resources to execute new customer service practices turn to digital platforms in the form of third-party ecosystems. This involves setting up social media pages to reach more customers and accommodate their inquiries in real-time. Some even relied on chatbots to ensure quick responses, while others hired additional customer agents to handle more telephone lines.
Be more communicative
Communication is critical to any successful customer relations. If clarity is lacking, issues are likely to emerge regardless of how effective your solution is.
We’re aware of how constant, transparent, and authentic communication is critical in every enterprise in times of crisis. Many companies conveyed this value really well. They did this by providing their customer service staff with modern communication tools to reach customers quickly than ever. Some hired communication specialists to support the rapid establishment and distribution of customer communications.
Businesses that operate physically are now using notification tools to alert customers about changes in operating hours and health protocols. Others send updates through text messages, social media, and email. This kept customers informed about the business activity and product or service updates. In turn, this drew businesses and customers closer together through regular communication.
Work on your company values
Consumers look for brands they really trust. They prefer to buy from businesses that made positive impacts during the pandemic. Retailers and fast-moving consumer goods companies (FMCG) should take advantage of this to show their commitment by delivering their values and purpose through actual actions. This can take the form of delivery fee discounts for frontline workers or emotional support for employees.
In this case, companies should effectively convey their authenticity through their products and services. They can start by staying true and consistent with their brand story. Consumers look for brands that share their values, so businesses have to be transparent about their advocacies if they’re keen to enhance engagement.
Be patient and emphatic
It’s a commonly held belief that customers prioritize efficient service in every business transaction. As a result, businesses began treating customers as transactions rather than humans. Although efficiency is essential, businesses should also consider the power of human connection, whether physical or digital interactions. Recent research also shows customers are leaning towards emphatic experiences rather than quick resolutions.
Patience and empathy are critical factors to build a strong customer service experience. Amid tough times, businesses should be aware of how they can deliver their products and services effectively while reducing the pandemic anxieties of their customers. In the end, nothing beats the human touch in providing personalized customer experiences.
In some ways, the pandemic has forced companies to rethink how they deliver quality services to customers. This gave opportunities to innovate service delivery and give up outdated methods. As things slowly return to normal, companies should evaluate how the current crisis has affected their business and determine effective ways to engage customers.