Posted by Kathy Sobus on Mar 24, 2020 10:00:00 AM
Whatever you want to call it, we’re all “in it” right now and struggling to find a new normal for our daily lives. As far as our work life is concerned, companies around the globe have been working tirelessly to handle the demand, both from a customer side and an employee side. Although the examples represented below are not of a life-altering or threatening nature, they are used illustratively to provide guidelines on how we should be behaving with our customers during this uncertain time. We are all hopeful that the damage from this pandemic will be minimal and we will be back to normal soon.
I’ve spent the past few weeks changing plans I’ve had for the next 60 days. I’m sure you were doing the same as we all settle in for what we perceive as a bit of a “long haul.” Not only am I home with unexpected time on my hands, but I’ve also needed to change travel arrangements. To make those change of plans, I’ve had to contact many companies. Some companies made it easy on me, allowing for no change fees and adjustments online. What I noticed, however, was that many websites were overwhelmed. In this day and age, where we’re all used to immediate satisfaction, this was a dissatisfier. It also caused me to place a call into the company.
Let’s discuss the lessons we can learn from this situation in regard to customer experience and satisfaction.
Make sure your website is flexible, easy to use, and able to help consumers to do what they need and want to do during this time.
At this time, our inboxes are full of emails from companies informing us of the steps they are taking to protect us. Many times, these aren’t relevant to the situation at hand or they leave us with more questions. Either way this invites us to call in and have conversations.
I made about eight phone calls over the weekend. One airline provided me this message: “Thank you for calling XXX airline, we are experiencing longer than normal delays.” I was then disconnected. No call blockage, but hold times were so long that the company knew it couldn’t answer me that day.
Only communicate with your customers that need your communication AND tell your customers what you’re doing for them in the emails you’re sending. Tell them that you anticipate high volume, so if they can wait until a certain date, their experience may be better. Why are car rental agencies sending me emails when I don’t have any cars reserved?
Provide updates to your customers in a way that they can adjust to help you. Disconnecting them is not an option. Have you considered allowing them to sign up for an alert that informs them or tells them to give you a call?
Many performance venues are changing the dates of performances. What if you can’t attend at that time? Guess what—you’re pretty much out of luck and you’ll lose your ticket purchase. Why aren’t they allowing a refund, so that others who can attend will be able to? For goodness sakes, the airlines are adapting!
The bar is much higher. Please realize this and be as flexible as possible.
On another occasion, I called the other coast to change hotel accommodations. Twice they sent me to what I perceived as a fictitious reservation desk, where there were two people ahead of me. The last time I called, I begged the front desk clerk to do what I needed. I’m still waiting for my email confirmation.
If you know the area is closed or there are no agents staffed, why do you transfer people to that line? Handle the work as it comes in.
Confirm and communicate. Now that I don’t have an email confirmation, I’ll have to call in again. I’m not looking forward to that.
Just as a reminder, this does not minimize the concern we all have for our safety during this time. Many of us have not seen anything at this level and we are all working to do the best we can, setting policies we didn’t think we’d need. These examples and lessons may help your company set policies that meet customer expectations in the future. We are all hopeful that the damage from this pandemic will be minimal and we will be back to normal soon.
With ConvergeOne, Now You Can Continue to Connect with Customers
At ConvergeOne, we don’t shy away from tough challenges. We are prepared to serve as your trusted advisor in ways we may not have before. These include free solutions that quickly enable you and your teams to stay connected from wherever you are.