COVID-19 has affected billions of lives and people’s attitudes towards remote working. Governments across the globe are balancing easing lockdown restrictions with infection rates, allowing people and businesses to adapt to the new normal. Today, companies should remember that when dealing with consumers, they aren’t creatures of logic but creatures of emotions. So, they must adapt to constantly changing consumer behaviors and serve their customers with care and empathy.
In recent years, most of our shopping experiences have changed to what we could have never imagined, from delayed deliveries to no available stock and lousy customer service from businesses. As a result, consumer interactions with brands have faced many challenges. Some difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the business world include:
- The collapse of some business models. With customers being advised to avoid crowded places, it’s estimated that some companies that have no sales coming from online sources may lose their business.
- Struggling to keep employees and customers engaged. The “out of sight, out of mind” mentality has created a wedge between organizations, customers, and employees, with more people being asked to shop and work remotely.
- Unclear and unstable supply chains. Nearly 94% of the Fortune 1000 businesses have experienced supply chain problems, and many also don’t know the long-term effect on their operations.
- Lack of training systems and business tools. As remote working has become the new norm, companies have faced massive challenges, including transforming their aging technology and training their employees on new ways of working to improve efficiency.
Fortunately, with every crisis comes opportunities. You can bounce back stronger and seize the opportunities to survive by winning more customers and making the right decisions.
How to Adapt to the Pandemic-Influenced New Normal in Customer Support
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a whole new lifestyle change for consumers and businesses, as they have to learn new ways of meeting and exceeding customers’ needs and expectations. Today, consumers have multiple choices and are left to decide what business they should have a relationship with. If anything can attract customers to your company, it’s constantly being available and ready to solve their problems in a personalized manner.
Let’s now look at five ways businesses can adapt their customer service strategy to the new normal.
1. Show Empathy to Customers
Because of the pandemic, most customers are anxious and eager to get their issues resolved as quickly as possible. There’s no doubt that emotions are heightened amid the uncertainty of a pandemic. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to empathize with your customers’ going through.
Thus, customer-facing employees should first try to engage with customers as human beings before being customer service professionals. Get to know how the customer feels and then help them through their customer support issues. This will foster a deeper connection and allow for conversations that tell your customers that you care about them and your employees are there to help them.
2. Adopt Proactive Customer Service
Business enterprises should proactively educate and communicate measures and steps they have taken to adapt to the changing demands of customers before their customers come to them with concerns or questions.
Suppose you’re a retail company and have changed your delivery times and customer service hours to adhere to stay-at-home orders because of the current situation. The best thing to do is advertise your new working hours and delivery times while meeting the safety regulations and requirements. This will ensure your customers know when your customer service representatives will be available and when they should expect to receive their packages.
Proactive efforts will show your business plans and efforts to ensure business continuity despite setbacks and uncertainty while efficiently managing customer expectations to avoid disappointments down the line. This way, engaging with customers can help you build the trust consumers need to become loyal fans and support your business.
3. Send Customers to Digital Self-Service Channels
Ellie Wu notes, “self-service channels offer an opportunity to deliver a consistent experience.”
Over the last two years, the world has found itself under a ton of stress. Unfortunately, customer support and service departments are the hardest hit when any crisis strikes. Customer support representatives are the frontline to help consumers navigate the many obstacles associated with this economic and health crisis.
Unfortunately, as the number of customer support tickets increases, the time to process and resolve those tickets also increases. This is precisely where a digital self-service solution comes in handy. Powered by your knowledge base, digital self-service channels can respond to over 70% of customers’ most frequently asked questions with no need for human intervention.
This is especially true when customers are just looking for information, such as delivery times or opening and closing hours. This type of information doesn’t require the intervention of a customer service rep. Instead, doing so takes your customer service staff from handling more complicated support requests that need their intervention.
Here are some best practices that can help you implement digital self-service channels effectively in your company:
- Optimize your FAQ content. Your FAQ sections should be the “source of truth” for your clients. Thus, the content must be short, concise, and simple while still addressing the specific concerns and questions at hand without being too general.
- Leverage chatbots to automate specific actions. To deliver exceptional customer experiences with a chatbot, ensure your chatbot states upfront what it can do, all in a conversational and friendly tone.
- Collect feedback from consumers to deliver better experiences. To improve your knowledge base and deliver better customer experiences, invite your customers to give their feedback on what information they found useful and what needs to be improved.
4. Do What’s Possible to Save Money with Cost Cuts
Down the line, cutting costs is unavoidable. But that doesn’t have to come at the expense of delivering an outstanding customer experience, which can create immense value for your company. Often, an effective way to provide better customer experiences and improve efficiency is to leverage digital self-service solutions and make intelligent operational trade-offs based on what matters the most to your customers.
For example, sales and digital servicing in the banking industry are less costly than location- and phone-based approaches. However, for many financial institutions, the challenge is that too few customers reach that point because they find digital mediums too intimidating and unfamiliar. Migrating your customers to digital self-service solutions is often an effective way to save money and improve customer satisfaction. However, to do this successfully, you and your team should adopt a customer-centric mindset in any cost-cutting measure, including adopting self-service channels or contactless options.
5. Create Contactless Options
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, emerging technologies were propelling brands towards contactless business exchanges. For instance, if you’ve ever ordered Starbucks via your phone app, had a Zoom visit with your doctor, or paid for groceries using your digital wallet, then you’ve already made the jump.
However, today’s health risks call for more immediate and extreme contactless business protocols, especially for retailers, coffee shops, restaurants, and other service-industry businesses that are personally interactive.
Luckily, technology is keeping up with the current changes. As a result, it’s never been easier to make your business adopt contactless options. By creating and implementing suitable contactless options right now, you can cut down unnecessary interactions between your employees and customers and make your efforts more efficient, contemporary, and profitable along the way.
For instance, to create contactless options, you should:
- Design digital menus for your restaurant. A digital menu can be as simple as a social media image, a website listing, or as fancy as a personalized app.
- Adopt contactless ordering. For instance, you can work with digital service providers, such as GoTab , to offer QR code functionality. This function will enable your customers to browse menus, order, and even split or share the bill with their friends, calculate the tip, and keep their tab open until they’re ready to make a payment.
- Execute contactless payment options. One of the most uncomfortable transactions of in-store shopping during the Coronavirus pandemic is touching touchpads that have passed through hundreds of hands. Also, it’s uncomfortable to handle money that has passed through many hands during the pandemic. Avoid touching surfaces by using contactless cards or mobile devices, disabling the signature screen, and skipping the receipt screen.
Leverage Zight (formerly CloudApp) to Close Customer Support Tickets 3X Faster
To provide better customer experiences, create high-quality content to help your customers solve their problems or guide them through how your product works. With Zight (formerly CloudApp), creating valuable content that helps your customers solve their issues is simple. The app enables you to record HD videos and GIFs easily and quickly. You can even personalize HD videos by including your webcam recordings and audio to easily guide your customers through their problems.
Click this link to learn how Zight (formerly CloudApp) can help you create customer support tutorials and other materials quickly and easily.