COVID-19 Is No Excuse for Poor Customer Service

It makes sense that during a global pandemic, companies are facing increasingly difficult challenges. However, while it is understandable that not everything can go perfectly, there is one section of your business that will make or break you in a time like this: customer service. How you communicate with your customers right now will determine your success in the future. Will you be seen as a leader, or fall behind?

Don’t Over Promise

Right now, customers aren’t expecting perfection in terms of delivery and wait times. However, they will hold you to the promises you make. Online retailers are seeing an influx of orders, considering most Americans (and people around the world) are traveling outside of their homes much less than before. It’s clear that not all of these businesses can keep up with demand, and because of this, end up sending out packages later than usual. For this reason, it is important to be transparent with customers and not guarantee delivery by a certain date.

What happens if you try to stick to your next day delivery guarantee, and aren’t able to deliver on that promise? Well, you begin to lose credibility with your customers. Loss of too much credibility will result in those customers switching to someone they can trust. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect, but you do need to be truthful.

Be proactive

Like delivery times, customers are seeing much longer wait times while trying to contact customer service representatives. While this is understandable at the beginning of a global catastrophe, at some point it has to stop being blamed. As businesses see increases in service requests, they need to take steps to handle them. This may be in the form of:

  • Hiring new representatives
  • Extending service hours
  • Evaluating your current processes for efficiency 

No one wants to wait on hold for an hour, and it should be a duty of businesses to make sure their customers are taken care of in a timely manner.

Be a leader

If there was ever a time to go above and beyond for your customers, it’s now. COVID won’t last forever, but the impressions you make on customers just might. Many of the biggest companies have taken steps to show their customers they are there for them, even if it means a monetary loss in the short-run. Then again, many companies haven’t taken any steps to try to show their leadership, and this will hurt them in the long-run.

Some of the steps companies have taken include:

  • Offering free delivery on every order, regardless of the purchase amount
  • Offering extended return policies
  • Including items in sales that aren’t usually included
  • Increasing sale percentages, knowing customers won’t be spending as much

What you do now can affect your next several years of business. Customer service is one of the most important touchpoints that businesses have with their customers, and every business should examine how their team is handling requests. Coming out of this pandemic as a successful company will be a challenging, but rewarding process.

Our team at Marketing Works is poised to assist in providing solutions that best fit your business style, culture and level of engagement. Reach out directly to me to schedule a PULSE session, or to simply brainstorm ideas for your new customer service initiatives. We’re here to help.

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