A little over six months ago, COVID-19 ravaged the global economy, resulting in devastated businesses, broken supply chains, and the spread of fear and paranoia which led to people shutting themselves in at home and working remotely. Back then, it was understandable that telephone holds lasted up to an hour, chat waitlists lasting 45 minutes, or even a 6-7 day delay in email responses. However, these delays in communications are unacceptable now.
While the threat of COVID-19 is still in the air, six months is plenty of time for nations to enact some form of control. It is also more than enough time for organisations to sort out most of the issues brought about by the pandemic and develop workarounds. Consumers and clients have cash on hand and are ready to make purchases. Others have issues that need to be addressed. These people understand the early scramble to ensure the safety and wellbeing of CX agents, but patience can only last for so long.
There are still organisations that are still offering the coronavirus as an excuse; subjecting customers to a subpar experience. It is understandable that ongoing issues with warehousing and distribution due to the need to have employees near one another still persist, but why have customer service departments not kept up?
Of course, there are companies that reacted proactively resulting in seamless transactions and consistent experiences for their customers. Companies that are realising a dramatic decrease in orders may be overlooking potential future opportunities for growth by not delivering exceptional customer interactions today.
What can organisations do to address these customer experience points of friction? Bob Azman, Founder and CXO of Innovative CX Solutions, LLC, has a few ideas that might be helpful:
- Pursue a one and done model so customers are satisfied without having to call back or follow up. This usually requires giving agents the authority to solve issues, process orders, etc. without the need for checking with a supervisor.
- Provide agents with enough flexibility to satisfy frustrated customers once they do connect with your frontline employees. Free, discounted, or expedited shipping. Coupons for future purchases. Instant savings on the current order.
- Eliminate the need to get approvals from supervisors. This delays resolution, increases average handle time, and causes further angst for your customers.
- Use available technology to your advantage. Utilizing call back features that hold a customer’s place in line reduce frustration and balance volumes in real-time.
- Check to ensure your technology is working properly. At times, heavy volumes can stress even the best technology or telephony platforms that can result in mis-routed calls, repeating hold messages and unintended disconnects.
- Celebrate employee wins. Even in a remote environment, celebrating employees who go above and beyond with recognition and reward can go a long way to alleviate their anxiety in dealing with heavy volumes.