As countries went into lockdown, people had to start working remotely.
During the first few months of the pandemic, there was an urgent need to pivot business ops and continuity plans. Those who failed to adapt and innovate trailed behind.
In particular, one of the most affected areas by the pandemic is the customer support segment. In this blog, you’ll learn more about the changes in the industry caused by COVID-19 and how you can manage your team better during quarantine.
What’s Changed in the Customer Support System?
Below, we’ve listed some factors that shaped customer support during the pandemic:
Offering 24/7/365 customer service
Consumers are constantly interacting with brands and stores online, and they expect to receive assistance whenever they need it. But since they aren’t in a physical shop where staff can provide immediate assistance, consumers expect lightning-fast responses.
For example, if your website is difficult for people to navigate, online shoppers might leave and purchase elsewhere. Avoid complications by hiring a UX web development team to fix your web pages. It also helps to have an on-call team assist your consumers, especially during non-business hours.
Building brand loyalty through empathy
The pandemic has caused a shift in how brands approach consumers: they’re more compassionate and want to forge genuine connections.
Showing brand loyalty and empathy means building relationships that make customers feel valued. This approach isn’t a marketing strategy or a ploy to gain a competitive edge against your competitors — it’s offering genuine support during a time of need.
For example, a brand may ask how you are doing or provide a step-by-step guide to using their product on their social media pages.
Consider how COVID-19 has resulted in isolation across the globe. As people undergo quarantine, there’s an ever-increasing need for connection. Establishing this relationship with customers is the key to exponential business growth.
Using chatbots that address customer queries
Chatbots offer significant value because they can assist when one-on-one conversations are virtually impossible. You can answer FAQs with a streamlined chatbot flow. By maximizing its AI and self-service feature, you can quickly resolve customer concerns at their convenience.
Enhancing customer experience
Many brands are discovering new ways to enhance the shopping experience of consumers. For example, curbside pickups have become more popular among customers because of their convenience and safety. It also saves the waiting time and cost of online delivery.
Moreover, you can offer more flexible payment options that accept debit and credit cards, e-wallets, or cash on delivery. Some companies waive cancellation fees and give out discount vouchers or promos during these tough times.
Providing product and service availability
The pandemic has affected the availability of products and services, causing an increase in calls to customer service centers. Whether a customer is placing an order, inquiring about their credit card payment, or canceling a trip, they end up putting up with excessive wait times.
Some businesses have increased their self-service department and advised their customers to call during off-peak hours. Others employ callback scheduling into their system by advising customers when to expect a callback. Through this customer support system, customers can follow their usual routine without being put on hold for too long.
Promoting active communication with customers
Brands have realized that it’s okay to admit their shortcomings as long as they properly relay this to customers. As a result, it has opened the doors to open and honest communication. Many businesses are taking active steps to listen and communicate better.
For example, companies are let customers know when they’re operating on reduced capacity and adjusting their regular business hours. Moreover, they redirect customers to other channels and platforms to get better assistance, such as emails, landlines, or social media pages.
Manage Your Team Better During the Quarantine
Remote work has significantly affected the customer support industry. Here are a few things you can do to help your team work better:
Cascade updated policies & provide training
Your customer support system and team should be aware of updated policies and properly relay them to customers. As much as possible, they should refrain from re-routing a caller to a different person where they’ll have to explain the situation again.
Apart from learning policies, your customer support team must also know how to apologize. If there’s an error or shortcoming on your end, they should take full responsibility, explain what happened, and outline the steps to solve the problem.
Boost morale with regular one-on-one checkpoints
Pressure and burnout can take a toll on your team. Remote work means more time spent communicating through chat, email, and video — which could all contribute to fatigue.
Boost morale through employee recognition, which could be as simple as a little shoutout or acknowledgment. For example, managers can schedule one-on-one meetings at least once a week. Quick checkpoint meetings can help get a better pulse of each team member, identify strengths and weaknesses, and make it easier to create action plans to increase productivity. You’ll be surprised at how reaching out can help keep your team motivated.
Working together in an office isn’t the same as working remotely in a shared virtual space. After all, you don’t get the same in-person interactions like watercooler conversations and lunch break chitchats that foster togetherness.
As a way to make up for this lost connection, you can fill in the gaps with the right apps and software. Google Hangouts, Zoom, and Skype have played a vital role in ensuring businesses can still communicate seamlessly and are on track with their company objectives. Try adopting a scrum-style team checkpoint and see if its works for your department.
Embracing the New Normal
Companies are learning to adapt to problems caused by COVID-19. While the threat of the pandemic is receding every day, the changes will still be felt in the coming years.
Ask yourself: How will these changes affect the customer support industry when everything returns to normal? Take the time to learn and embrace opportunities for growth as we inch our way to a better tomorrow.