Customer Service Best Practices During COVID-19

Most businesses would consider their customer support department to be the most challenging of them all. Add to that, providing superb service at every touchpoint is somewhat of an ongoing effort rather than a goal you achieve once and move on. Ensuring customer satisfaction, in fact, requires the ability to adapt, evolve, and embrace new trends and ongoing market fluctuations. However, few businesses would prepare for something so drastic as a pandemic.

Even with preparation, the best of plans can partially fail or completely backfire. Now that so few companies have had the chance to brace for the COVID-19 crisis, it’s paramount to find solutions that will ensure quality customer service every step of the way. The following suggestions can help you adapt to this temporary situation and then use the same tactics to keep boosting your customer service well after the pandemic is finally over.

Emphasize preventative measures

A little can indeed go a long way when you’re running a business and you depend on ongoing customer interactions. In case your brick-and-mortar stores or offices are still open, although with limited capacity, you should educate your customers on the precautions you’re taking to keep them safe, as well as your employees. 

Providing sanitizing products, reminding them to wear masks and to keep their distance is a great way to adapt your content and to send a consistent message across all of your channels. Emphasizing safety will make your customers feel more comfortable interacting with you, even if it means buying only online from you – if your employees use masks and gloves, and you’ve increased your cleaning efforts in your storage, your customers will know that you’re focusing on prevention every step of the way.

Enable remote customer support

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, companies have had to implement more robust communication solutions based on technologies such as VoIP (which stands for voice over internet protocol) to help their teams thrive. If you’ve had to send your employees home, perhaps a comprehensive VoIP solution can help your remote teams do their jobs efficiently and keep your customer agents available.

Thanks to this technology, your customer support team can help your customers from the comfort of their home, using any device they please as a phone. By using a unified communications platform, the opportunities for collaboration are endless and gives you a reliable way to connect with your customer support team all within one application. They can also leverage other features such as texting, emailing, and faxing, while you can use the system to conduct video conference calls for your weekly meetings. Improved communication internally will further enhance the experience you provide your customers.

Provide greater flexibility during the crisis

Now that people aren’t too keen on leaving their homes, or they even cannot do that at all due to the lockdown and other restrictions, you should accommodate for an increase in online interactions and sales, as well. Maybe some of them are more likely to use different payment providers, so it’s time to consider adding more payment methods to your checkout.

Perhaps your customers need a little more reassurance that online shopping with your business is as safe as it can get – and you need to reiterate that message consistently. Your content needs to adapt to the situation to provide relief, help, guidance, and sound advice during the pandemic, so make sure that your strategy is flexible enough for such changes. 

Keep your website up and running

If your products or services are essential given the circumstances, you’re bound to experience a surge in sales and customer engagement. Still, you cannot afford to leave your customers waiting, leave their questions and concerns unanswered, and let them navigate a site that’s crashing repeatedly due to your traffic spike. 

Create a dedicated strategy for website maintenance and keeping your communication channels open and your agents available. Use your customers’ feedback to improve your operations, especially now when they need you most. Even if your business isn’t essential, you shouldn’t provide a subpar experience and neglect your presence, because your goal should be to solve problems, not cause them. 

Transparency across all channels

People appreciate brands that embody their values and that live their principles. If you promote openness and clarity in your company, then you need to be prepared to share the good and the bad with your customer base. Vague statements, unclear explanations, or simply failing to notify your customers of any changes in how you conduct your business will not do in this situation. 

In fact, the opposite is necessary if you are to protect your business and your customers during this crisis. You need to be present, available, and listen to your customers more than ever before. You need to make sure that your in-store and online behavior reflects their concerns and puts their wellbeing above all else – and you need to keep them in the loop. 

Although you may start refining and implementing the listed methods due to the pandemic, consider them essential even after the crisis is over. By ensuring superior customer service during these trying times, you’re not merely making yourself available to your target market. You are also building a reputation for your brand, one of resilience, consistency, and unrelenting customer care. Put your customers first with the help of these methods, and you’ll be able to establish yourself as a caring leader in your niche in the months to come.