The Five Lessons the Coronavirus Taught me about Customer Service
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 virus is a crisis in which the world has not seen before. In addition to the difficulty world leaders, heath care professional and first responders are facing, there are also immense difficulties in properly servicing customers and enabling service teams.
Everyone across the globe has questions. Travelers have questions on flight cancelations. Constituents have questions for their representative leader. How customer service representatives handle these inquiries is so critical in establishing and solidifying long-term loyalty.
So, what are we able to do?
Over the last month I noticed five things brands have been doing that have helped me navigate this time of uncertainty. In doing so, these brands not only built trust but they left me with a feeling of security and that my business was safe with them.
- Get Ahead of the Noise. Use this time to talk to your customers. Airlines did a great job at this. About two weeks ago I was emailed about flight status details and change fees. This has been a tremendous timesaver, not to mention the potential reduction of customer inquiries. I am not sure this will save the airline industry, but I know who I am traveling with once it is safe to fly the friendly skies.
- Now is the time to lead customers. Harvard Business Review recently provided 12 lessons to learn from the unfolding COVID-19 events. These 12 lessons are applicable to all leaders and areas of business – but how does it apply to CX? Now is the time for customer service and support teams to not only lead the customer, but to provide upward communications to leaders. As HRB points out, these communications need to be balanced, reframed and updated on a daily basis to minimize confusion, misunderstanding and panic.
- Direct Path to Communication. Now is not the time to place customers on hold. This is the time when customer service needs to shine by creating direct, clear paths for communication. Brands should use this time to rethink their customer’s intent and update their IVR, chatbots, FAQs and website with the most up-to-date information and direct off-ramps to support.
- Strategic Partners are crucial for scale and empowerment. With the recent intent to acquire WFO partner, Virtual Observer, Five9 is not only looking to enable remote workers but is also well-positioned to empower service teams during times like this due to our cloud-based architecture. With Five9, you can service any customer inquiry whenever and wherever your agent might be. Additionally, native partnerships with Zoom, Microsoft, Salesforce, etc. allow teams access to their systems of records without the fear of not being “in” the office. Knowing that brands are allowing individuals to work from home is so reassuring and shows how companies are thinking of the health and well-being of their staff.
- Forecasting Is Tough. Times like this make it nearly impossible to forecast incoming calls or inquires to properly staff your contact center. This can create a huge impact to the bottom line if not handled correctly. If staffed incorrectly, you could either cost the company a ton of money or a ton of customers. This again goes back to the beauty of a cloud-based solution that allows you to scale up or down your business based on your needs.
I hope this post was helpful. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or if you have noticed anything else brands are doing well at this time.