You don’t need someone to tell you how much the world has changed. You’ve seen it yourself— from social distancing to every face you see covered in masks. In the wake of the pandemic, we’ve seen the world shut down, and yet businesses still try to innovate and thrive.
The pandemic may have forever altered how businesses operate. And in this pandemic-ridden world, it’s more important than ever that businesses not only meet customer expectations but also exceed them. As a business owner, you’d need to catch up to the rapid change in how you practice customer engagement and service. This is important in order to adjust to the new way of life, especially if there’s less likely a chance to go back to how it used to be pre-Covid 19.
So how can you ensure excellent customer service in today’s new normal?
1. Review Your Target Audience
One way to improve your customer service in the new normal is to understand your target customers. You probably know that already, but the pandemic has completely changed consumers and their behaviors.
So make sure to reassess your target audience. Find out what delights and motivates them and what drove them to you. This should help you create a more personalized marketing strategy that would reach and convert them more easily. This is particularly important post-lockdown as consumers become more careful on how and where they spend their money.
2. Focus On Clear And Timely Communication
People experience constant change in this world, even more so with the pandemic still looming around. Government restrictions, updates in protocols, and company policies bring new developments every hour or day. Thus, businesses would need to deliver information to their customers, partners, and employees in a proactive and timely way.
A banner on your site or social accounts may hardly be enough. Consumers need to be provided information in the context of your current interaction and business policies. Examples of these are creating pop-up forms on shipping policy updates before checkout or showing prominent information about store and branch closures. Whatever your business is, ensuring you proactively provide your customers the information they need at each stage of their interaction is a baseline requirement of any customer service.
3. Double The Support
In this time and day, people are mostly coping, not thriving. Consumers are less certain of their expectations. They used to know how to work and deal with you, but now, they’re not so sure. So assume that your customers need more help than what you’re already giving them.
Provide the tools and assets they need to help them. Consider going twice or thrice as far as you normally would for customers, way beyond delivering the service they paid for. This can make them feel safe and supported.
For instance, implement a smart scheduling solution to your website if you still don’t have it. If you have WordPress, install a WordPress booking plugin that can allow individuals to schedule an appointment to meet either in any of your branches or virtually.
Today, due to restrictions, customers, partners, and businesses themselves might be challenged to make and keep their appointments. Thus, your chosen scheduling solution should be agile enough to allow rescheduling and connect clients with customer representatives to assist them with their needs or allow your business to proactively communicate any changes.
4. Empower Your Agents
Businesses have been mostly successful in transitioning their employees to a remote work setup. However, customer service representatives are a special use case since they require more specialized tools. Also, with agents now working in a variety of home aspects—children, pets, or a partner’s streaming video—it’s more important than ever to provide them new modes of customer communication to mask these distractions.
Thus, consider customer engagement via chat. This is much quicker than picking up the phone. Also, chat support would allow agents to handle multiple chat sessions at the same time. In addition, you should also look upon deploying digital guidance solutions, which can help reduce the efforts of both agents and customers.
Aside from ensuring your customers’ happiness, you should also pay close attention to your agents’ satisfaction. As your agents work remotely, it’s important to help them stay motivated and engaged even without the energy and peer support they’d get from an office environment. By providing your agents the tools needed to work effectively and helping them manage their stress and stay productive, your business can maintain a good level of morale needed to ensure emphatic interactions with your customers.
5. Encourage Customer Feedback
Another way of improving your customer service in the new normal is to encourage and monitor your customers’ feedback and opinions. Whether these are social media interactions or online reviews, make sure to keep an eye on what your consumers have to say about your business.
Responding accordingly can show you value their feedback, making customers appreciate your business even more. Not only that, but it also helps in developing an emotional attachment to your brand. Constantly taking customer feedback would offer you actionable insights into what works and what frustrates your customers. This in turn would allow you to create a better customer experience and make better business decisions.
6. Utilize Different Platforms
Online sales have increased during lockdowns, and businesses without good customer service present on various platforms didn’t fare well. Surely, you wouldn’t want this to happen to your business.
Your customers would have to communicate with you using different channels, so ensure you provide them the means to efficiently do so. There are clients who’d still email or call if they have a problem or query. However, some of them might expect you to respond to them on their chosen online platform, too. Many customers may reach out to you via their social media accounts to save time. And not being readily available on these platforms means losing customers.
Other than for customer complaints, you can use social media in several ways to improve your customer service and experience. This includes personalizing your marketing efforts by sending more relevant messages and posting relevant content dedicated to customer experience.
What the new normal and the business world would be like post-pandemic are still unclear. The best move you can do for your business to thrive now is to invest effort and time in the above strategies to improve your customer experience and retain your loyal customers.