Great customer service always matters but it matters even more during a crisis. When things are going wrong, how well you can continue to meet customer needs can make or break a customer relationship. Here are seven tips that can help you improve customer service during a crisis.
How to improve customer service during a crisis
- Be positive
- Be proactive
- Have a central reference point
- Increase your call centre headcount
- Bring in shifts (or more shifts)
- Make the most of technology…
- …including call back tech
- Know when your team are swamped and adjust accordingly
1. Be positive
This one might seem pretty simple but it can go a long way. When your support team is feeling pressured, it’s common to default to negative language such as, “I can’t get you that product until next month.”
While that may be true, it can cause increased tension and concern for your customer. It also puts your company on the back foot, making it obvious that you don’t have the crisis under control.
Try using positive language instead - that can help your business appear more confident and knowledgeable.
For example: “That product should be available next month. Would you like me to order it for you right now to make sure it’s shipped to you the moment it’s available?”
This small shift in language can result in calmer conversations and happier customers.
2. Be proactive
When there’s a crisis, your customers want to hear it from you first. Depending on the severity of the crisis, you may need more than a post on your social media channels or your website. Reach out personally, if possible, and schedule a follow-up call/meeting.
When you get in touch with your customers, remember to be positive, empathetic but don’t speculate or set unrealistic expectations. Only communicate accurate information.
3. Have a central reference point
Today’s customers are typically more impatient than they used to be. They don’t want to spend lots of time and effort searching for the information they need - especially during a crisis!
So, consider having a central reference point where your customers can find the answers to some commonly asked questions. Start this resource by using what you already know about your customers (great CRM data management comes in handy here) and predict what questions are likely going to be asked.
For example, how is your business handling the situation?
Then promote this resource on your social media channels and via email. Keep this resource up-to-date too - it can free up your customer service team so they can focus on more complex customer issues and ensure common queries are answered quickly.
4. Increase your call centre headcount
One well-known flower company grows its call centre to about five times its normal size over certain peak periods, such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s. This is a great option that can relieve the pressure on your current team and support your clients better.
It can even buck the trend of most call centres strategising to make existing staff even more efficient during times of crises.
5. Bring in shifts (or more shifts)
Increase your support times and run more than one shift to support your clients for a longer period. This will give your clients a bigger time window to work with you and resolve their issues.
6. Make the most of technology…
Advances in technology might have contributed to the rise of customer expectations. But that also opens more opportunities for businesses. For example, chatbots can support your customer service teams. Have your chatbot answer some commonly asked questions (refer back to the customer data stored in your CRM system) and filter customers who need to speak to your service team from the ones that don’t.
This can help your customer service teams work more efficiently and free up time to spend solving more delicate/complex customer issues.
7. …including call back tech
If your customers may have to wait in a queue to speak to an agent, offer them a call back service. This is a benefit of call back technology - you can call your customers rather than have them waiting on the phone for an agent to become available.
8. Know when your team are swamped and adjust accordingly
During times of crises, it’s not just your customer needs you must manage. You also need to consider your employees. Keep an eye on how swamped they are. After all, the more hectic things get, the more stressed they may become and that can affect their mood, service, productivity, happiness and more.
Look for opportunities to optimise your processes. For example:
- Adopt technology, such as chatbots, to relieve some of the pressure on your team
- Sacrifice one customer support channel to redirect resources towards another one (e.g. don’t offer live chat and instead, focus on phone and email where you can consolidate and effectively manage your enquiries)
Do you know the kind of experience that modern-day customers expect?
Great customer service contributes to your overall customer experience. And the better the customer experience you can offer, the more likely it is that your customer will leave satisfied. Or (even better), delighted.
That starts with knowing what your customers need. We examined the latest industry statistics and compiled them into one visual resource. Discover what the modern-day customer expects and the steps you should take to meet them by clicking the button below.