5 Ways to Meet Staff and Customer Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic
These are unprecedented times, and organisations are facing extreme pressures to continue serving customers and meeting the needs and expectations of their employees.
By offering guidance to your internal team and establishing good practices in the contact centre and beyond, your business will be in the best position to “keep the lights on” and retain the positive relationships you’ve built with your customers.
In these uncertain times it’s important that your business communicates with both your employees and customers.
Maintain transparency with your customers and preserve their trust in you. Let them know that you will still be there for them, even though service might be slower than normal. Reassure them that their data and privacy is still protected, even if your agents are now working from home.
It’s essential for your employees to know what they are doing and where to go for help. Set up a hotline/email/SMS to help remote employees access the information they need and ensure they understand what is expected of them and what you are doing for them.
Ensure that those responsible for decision making internally (managers, supervisors, marketing, HR etc.) have a way to communicate up and down the line of command. Keeping teams connected whilst everyone works apart will help with efficiency and maintain focus.
- Encourage Customers to Self-Serve as Much as Possible
Make it clear to your customers how you will be there to help them over the coming weeks and months. This includes using digital channels to proactively interact with customers and help them to self-serve as much as possible.
Continue to allow them to transfer to live agents if they are available, but let them know the best ways to contact your company and the suggest channels that could be better suited
i.e. “Please use our online services. We know it won’t provide answers to everything, but right now this is the fastest and best way that we can help you. Please try our [app | online account | website] first [before calling | waiting to speak to someone]. As well as getting you help in the quickest way, it also helps us prioritize our most vulnerable customers.”
- Inform, Calm and Reassure
Think about the tone and content of your messages for IVRs, websites, SMS, chat, apps, emails, letters, bots and agent scripts. When managing communication in a crisis, your focus should be to inform, reassure and calm your customers, whilst encouraging them to try digital channels and pointing them to the best ways they can get help and immediate answers. Promoting self-service channels will also help to take the pressure off your front-line teams.
- Leverage FAQs and Knowledgebase Tools
Create standard answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) and make this available to your customers. If you already use a tool like Knowledgebase which helps to collate FAQs and surface answers faster for your customers, consider making some additions specifically around Coronavirus concerns, or updating existing answers with a sentence around the current situation (where appropriate). Consider doing this internally too, to give agents and customer-facing staff the most up-to-date information.
Wherever possible, encourage agents to share emerging issues with cross-functional teams to give the contact centre time to revise and update answers and address developing situations on a timely basis.
- Deploy Cloud Contact Centre Solutions to Help Agents Continue to Handle Calls
Address immediate needs and help agents handle calls at home. If your contact centre isn’t yet operating on a cloud-based contact-centre-as-a-service (CCaaS) platform and you need to help agents work from home, deploying a web RTC solution so they can receive calls via a browser-based application programming interface (API) will solve immediate requirements. By ensuring your contact centre can continue to handle calls whilst based remotely, your organisation will be able to address immediate needs and take care of longer-term issues once things settle down.
Unify have been able to deploy remote contact centre solutions within 48 hours – minimizing any disruption to operations and ensuring customers can continue to access the help and advice they need.