With the world in the grip of arguably the worst crisis in modern history, the resilience and adaptability of businesses – and customer success teams – is being put to the test. Given the inevitable delivery delays and disruptions, customers are likely to feel overwhelmed, leading to higher call/chat volumes than usual.
With rising layoffs and pay cuts, their needs may change overnight and business processes that worked flawlessly just a few months ago may no longer meet those needs. Crisis situations like the ongoing pandemic call for quick improvisation of systems and workflows to minimize customer impact. In turn, this will help in maintaining business continuity.
For example, to cater to an expected spike in volumes, you can tweak your call handling guidelines so that customers are directed to online self-service channels. In order to identify and remove any bottlenecks, customer success managers need to be flexible and willing to test their assumptions against first-hand feedback from their agents. Putting the needs of the customer first can help managers visualize contingencies and plan for them accordingly.
5 Proven Customer Success Strategies to Deliver Consistent Customer Service
As the e-commerce industry experiences profound shifts, online stores need to think differently in order to attract, engage, and retain their customers. The three foundational pillars for ensuring customer success in the New Normal are technology, training, and risk mitigation.
Here are a few proven strategies that can help your customer success team deliver consistent customer service in crisis situations:
Put in place a crisis management plan
Given the supply chain problems that have affected e-commerce businesses worldwide, you need a crisis management plan that revolves around effective communication and risk mitigation. If you do not have one in place, put together a team of managers from different departments like product development, marketing, fulfillment, and customer support to devise a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). This is to be followed by customer success agents when interacting with customers.
Put the SOPs in an online document that can be accessed by everyone. Effective communication can be an important tool to help customer success agents assist customer queries with confidence. Updating your FAQ page with the latest delivery timeframes and hours of operation can keep inbound calls at a manageable level. Inform customers about expected changes through periodic emails and provide links to helpful content in your knowledge base so that they can get the information they need instantly. Track shipping delays, government guidelines, and staffing levels on an ongoing basis to minimize business impact.
Embrace remote working
Being available to your customers during a crisis is vital for maintaining customer loyalty.
Being available to your customers during a crisis is vital for maintaining customer loyalty. Given the restrictions on travel, e-commerce stores need to migrate their customer success teams to remote working platforms as early as possible. Using cloud telephony and online collaboration tools like Slack and Google Hangouts, your agents can continue assisting customers from the safety of their homes.
You can proactively augment your in-house workforce by partnering with flexible, outsourced customer support providers. They can also provide consulting and advice to help you optimize operations. Having a Plan B in terms of outsourcing workflows can help you maintain service levels on a 24X7 basis.
Provide training resources
By the same token, your employees may not be immune to the upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It may affect their ability to engage with customers in a responsive and effective manner. Providing training in active listening, empathy, and mindfulness can go a long way in helping them genuinely connect with customers.
There are a number of free and paid customer service training courses available online that you use to help your team sharpen their customer support skills. This can help them act proactively and improve customer experience. This can also impact your margins positively in terms of customer lifetime value.
The majority of customers prefer to access information by themselves, especially in crisis situations. Leveraging technology solutions like chatbots and intelligent IVR can help you prioritize customers that need immediate assistance while reducing employee workload.
For example, self-service tools like chatbots can be used to register customer tickets which your team can rank based on urgency and customer lifetime value. Cases that are relatively easy to resolve can be sent instructional content through email while those that need immediate attention can be followed up by an experienced agent within a defined window.
Ask for feedback and stay engaged on social media
A crisis is a perfect opportunity to show customers you care. While they do have the intent, many small businesses do not engage with their customers on social media as often as they should. Social listening can help your team gauge customer reactions to your crisis response measures in near real-time. Social media platforms can help you disseminate important information regarding deliveries and returns to your audience while addressing any concerns in an objective manner.
By doing this, you can tweak procedures to better meet customer expectations and offer an alternate channel of communication with your store that they will certainly appreciate.
Remember: no social media mention of your business should go unanswered!
Every crisis brings with it an opportunity for growth. When put into perspective, it can spark innovative solutions that provide better value for your customers. That said, customer service delivery is perhaps the most impacted of any business function during a crisis. From managing higher volumes to providing consistent customer experience, the challenges faced during a crisis situation are many.
Bringing in a professional outsourced customer support service can help your in-house team cope with the increased demands placed on them while letting you control operating costs. Helplama seamlessly integrates with your in-house team to provide customers with the answers they need in the shortest possible time. Till date, Helplama has helped more than 100 customers around the world adapt to crisis situations without straining their resources.
What’s more, you are not bound by a contract either which means unmatched flexibility at an affordable price! For more information about how we can help you turn crisis into opportunity, contact us today!