Delivering Customer Service During COVID-19
With such uncertainty regarding business operations over 3 months into the coronavirus pandemic in Ireland, customer service agents are still being overwhelmed with large amounts of customer enquiries.
This is especially challenging for many employees adapting to the working from home environment for the first time.
Below are some of the ways customer service stress can be effectively alleviated during a time with constantly changing circumstances.
Working from Home
For customer service agents, working from home is a big change. However, at this stage of being over 3 months into the pandemic, many agents are becoming more accustomed to working from home. While agents are beginning to settle in, the workload and enquiries won’t be slowing down any time soon.
With restrictions being lifted for many industries, enquiries could begin flooding in. It’s incredibly important that management are arming reps with the appropriate infrastructure to be able to deal with frustrated customers from their own homes.
Later in the summer, following phase 4 of the government roadmap to reopen Ireland, we’re likely to see those who have been working from home return to the work environment where necessary.
Unlike the initial transition from the office to working from home, which was abrupt, uncertain and messy for many organisations, this transition needs to be as smooth, well-planned in advance and safe as possible.
Keeping your customer service reps up to speed with the rapidly changing world will require virtual training. Change management programs will ultimately make reps feel more relaxed and informed regard how to deal with frustrated, anxious or confused customers.
Management need to understand that with such an unprecedented situation, many team members could feel lost or unsure about procedures at a time like this.
Unique considerations must be accommodated for staff members and adequate training will be required if a balance between deploying agents and managing the increased demand is to be struck.
Deflecting as many calls as possible is a great way to stop overwhelming call centre employees. With chatbots, artificial intelligence can save time for agents. AI asking preliminary questions such as name, date of birth and reference number speeds up the process before any human interacts with a customer.
Customer service agents are often inundated with repetitive enquiries. Frequently Asked Questions can be integrated into chatbots to ultimately reduce the number repeated enquiries which can be answered easily.
An appropriately integrated customer service chatbot allows customer service agents to focus on the more important customer service tickets.
While chatbots are useful in situations where a simple response can be issued, many situations require human involvement to minimise customer frustration. The handover from chatbot to human agent needs to be a seamless for any customer.
According to IBM, 80% questions are answered using chatbots due to their speed, ability to handle large enquiries and 24/7 response times.
Large brands in recent years have adopted social media as an effective customer service channel. While Twitter customer support accounts have become the norm over the past number of years, Facebook Messenger has become increasingly popular channel for engaging with customers with new features and tools to allow integration with third party websites.
When dealing with customer enquiries, the intent should always be easing customers’ tension in a convenient manner like through social media. This is especially true during the current crisis where there is going some degree of uncertainty.
The past number of weeks has been a challenging time for many adapting to the new normal. Are you interested in finding out more regarding customer engagement during the pandemic? If so, make sure to contact us today on +353 1 8041298, or click on the link below to be brought to our contact form!