Many companies will have had to adapt quickly with a sudden shift to remote working to ensure they can still service their customers at speed whilst maintaining quality.
Companies that have remained open may also have had to adapt to increased call and live chat volumes, given that during times of crisis, customers prefer live interactions.
Providing compassionate customer service during the pandemic can help improve brand reputation and customer loyalty. Your strategy should be to win hearts and minds and embrace complainants. You should see those customers as an opportunity rather than a headache.
Effective complaint handling
Time is of the essence. Be quick to respond to customers – this should be a priority. Make sure you have planned capacity to handle all complaints as swiftly as possible and from all communication channels.
With the rise of online reviews and social media, an unhappy customer can reach huge audiences, so it is important to act quickly and protect your brand from negative reactions. Manage the wider conversation to prevent louder and more negative conversations and use your interactions with unhappy customers to turn complainants into true brand advocates.
We’ve also produced a useful guide with our top tips on complaint handling which you can read here.
Using data and analytics
This is an optimum time to use data and analytics to help predict the changing needs of customers and customer demand patterns. Call volume forecasts cannot be viewed in isolation given the unprecedented disruption during lockdown and the uncertainty of what the ‘new normal’ may look like.
Demographics, geographic data, behavioural trends, customers impacts, daily customer contact trends, social media monitoring, stakeholder data and other economic data should all be used to prepare operations to best match BAU volumes post COVID-19.
A similar approach is needed to evaluate resource. Analyse internal workforce demographics, plans for local school and childcare cover, staff wellbeing surveys and publicly available estimates on infection rates and spread to help forecast workforce availability and cover.
Build on capabilities that have stood up during COVID-19 to maximise efficiencies and allow for flexibility as part of the ‘new normal’. Start planning how you will both repurpose your team in physical locations to maintain customer continuity and scale up capacity to manage volumes.
Look at capacity daily so you can adjust to meet changing customer service demand patterns, including prioritisation of critical contacts.
You may need to consider interim measures to manage growing BAU volumes such as leveraging self-serve options, collaborative tools and using external support from specialist companies to help with complaint backlogs and overflow capability. Start talking to those companies now who will help advise you on fully branded ‘white label’ solutions.
How QASSS can help
For more information on planning for post COVID-19, read our handy guide which also looks at finance, people, marketing, IT and operations.
QASSS provides bespoke complaint handling and dispute resolution services to help improve your brand reputation, repeat business and save you time and money. We can help with overflow, interim capacity and dealing with backlogs. We also offer fully branded, ‘white label’ solutions. To find out more, contact us on 0330 335 3354 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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