You’d be hard-pressed to find a business that doesn’t value its customers, but tough times put many things into perspective. As companies have adjusted to operating during the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic fallout, prioritizing customer service has become more important than ever.
Without a loyal customer base, and a concerted effort to win over more market share, your business could very well see diminished profit margins and an escalated risk of being surpassed by competitors. Below are key strategies to strengthen customer service during these difficult and uncertain times.
Get management involved
As is the case for many things in business, success starts at the top. Encourage your management team to regularly interact with customers. Frequent communication strengthens customer relationships and demonstrates to employees that cultivating these contacts is part of your company culture and a foundation of its profitability.
Moving down the organizational chart, cultivate customer-service heroes. Post articles about the latest customer service achievements on your internal website or distribute companywide emails celebrating successes. Champion these heroes in meetings. Public praise turns ordinary employees into stars and encourages future service excellence.
Improve your responsiveness
Like everyone in today’s world, customers want immediate information and attention. Best in class businesses not only provide timely and relevant business updates, but also immediate responses to customer inquiries and feedback.
Your customer service process should encompass the right combination of instant, electronic responses to customer inquiries along with phone calls and, where appropriate, face-to-face (or virtual) interactions that reinforce how much you value their business.
Continually course correct
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced most businesses to adjust their customer service strategy in some way, with common measures including increased communications; updated payment processes and deadlines; and new remote operations strategies.
As we continue to navigate this new normal, it is important to continually reassess your approach to customer service and make adjustments for the changing circumstances of not only the pandemic, but also your industry and local economy.
This year has put everyone under unforeseen amounts of stress and, in turn, providing world-class customer services has become even more difficult. However, your efforts now could lay the groundwork for a much stronger customer base in the future. If you have any questions about navigating the new normal, leave a comment below, or feel free to contact me directly.