Honestly, it could be hard for businesses to give excellent customer service when it is faced with a crisis. Companies should continue to be available to customers even in challenging times. A crisis that everyone has felt unlike any other is the coronavirus pandemic of this generation.
Experiences from this global health threat plus the use of technology have helped businesses maintain (and even increase the number) customers. Improve customer service during unfortunate events with the help of the following tips:
1. Spread Positivity
During a crisis, customers that are affected could have a hard time getting back on their knees. Companies could exert an effort to make their products and services more accessible can be of great help to those affected, especially if the business fulfills special needs. There are a lot of ways to spread positivity that will depend on the crisis being faced.
It is important to still be sensitive to what others would feel. Positivity does not always mean looking at the brighter side, but can also be expressed by making customers feel that they are available to help. If the company has plans to fulfill its social responsibility, this is the best time to put them into action. Showing that the company cares for its local community or country can increase customers in return.
2. Improve Communication Channels
Expect a huge number of complaints if the company is experiencing an internal crisis or a few when the crisis is coming from external factors. Whenever there is a crisis, make sure that the company can respond to the needs of the customers. Increased manpower or learning a new communication channel might be required.
During modern times, people can easily be reached via social media. Use the platform to respond to customer inquiries or share awareness. Once done creatively and sensitively, it can promote products and services that will show how it can help customers in need.
Social networking sites have a built-in chat feature that can be used to communicate with customers. If the company does not have enough experience to properly use the chat option, check for a chatbot that can be applied to the platform. It can manage the flow of conversation and provide quick answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
3. Move Inventory
Yes, that’s right. During a crisis, the company should go the extra mile to their customers by helping them. The ongoing crisis happening on outside factors can help the company move inventory by donating items that are about to expire but still in good condition and safe to use or consume. It could be a part of the company’s contribution to help people in need during these times.
If the company is a service provider, this could be the perfect time to provide free trials or free additional services. It’s a win-win situation – enabling companies to help customers in need while providing them a unique experience from the brand. Once they find the product or service useful even after the crisis, they are converted as full-paying customers and later on become loyal customers.
4. Change Strategy
Companies usually have a laid-out plan for a certain period of time. Once the company is affected by a crisis, strategies may not be applicable due to changes in the environment. To stay profitable while providing good customer service, it should make a careful consideration of how they can make the dilemma work to their advantage.
During a crisis, it is advisable to focus on strategies that are customer-centric. Doing this will show that the company cares for its customers, and might even bring referrals along the way. Forcing planned strategy (especially the marketing ones such as social media posts, newsletters, and advertising) may look insensitive or inappropriate that will affect customer service.
5. Use the Latest Technology
Technological advancements could be a great help in improving customer service during times of need. The rising numbers of IT companies and professionals develop products and services that will help any company provide great customer service whatever the condition is. There are existing technologies that can be used by the company as well.
Video conferencing is one of these, as it can be used for businesses that require face-to-face interaction or customer support. Companies can use the latest technology with the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The best examples are how malls and hotels use robots and tablet screens that work as a concierge in the time of the pandemic.
Customer service staff working from home can still provide valuable information to customers who are on-site by the use of cameras and tablet screens. Especially in the time of a pandemic, it can help both employees and customers to maintain social distancing.
6. Consider Employee’s Conditions
Customer service staff takes care of the customers, therefore the company should take care of its employees. Those workers that are affected by the crisis may also need help, rest, or considerations. These employees may not be able to focus on giving proper service to customers. Not all people may understand what someone is going through even in a middle of a crisis.
Those who are not affected by the crisis but still continue to work despite the working conditions should be given recognition. It will boost employee productivity by acknowledging their contributions. To those that are directly affected, make sure to extend help to lessen the burden that they feel. Some companies shoulder the cost of psychiatric consultation to employees that are affected by a major tragedy such as war.
Organizations should have a contingency plan in place on how they can operate in the event of a disaster. It is also important to give employees a safe working condition, as they are the ones providing service to the customers. Above all, the company should remain calm while figuring out how to stay relevant in the market and maintain good customer service.