If you’re anything like me, you’re currently wondering what things might look like tomorrow. In nearly everything, if not all things, you’re trying to decide what’s important and what isn’t…what you should and shouldn’t do.
Customer experience (and its component customer service) may be at risk in your company right now; executives and managers are making rapid decisions with people and policy and if they don’t have a solid experience plan in place already, it’s not easy to come up with one on-the-fly!
Nonetheless, customer experience for a service desk may be more important than ever, because being able to serve and retain customers is going to be a challenge, to say the least.
The need to engage with IT is increasing daily with people working from home in earnest, and as a physical retail presence lessens, people are going to engage online even more than before. So, what can we do, in a hurry, to help our customers get what they need?
In my experience, even though this can be uncomfortable, it is always better than the alternative. Do I want to tell you that I can’t help you the way you want me to? No. But I risk less by telling you the truth now, because you are less at risk when your decisions can be made with accurate information.
- Transparency is important in any relationship.
- Ensuring your customer knows what is going on with your service/company will build or sustain your relationship with them during stressful times.
If you have limitations (staffing, product, etc.) that are going to affect your customer in some way, modify the customer expectations accordingly. Do it as early in the engagement as possible to minimize the effect of the change.
- If you can’t do what someone is requesting, make sure you tell them what you can do!
- If you have changes to your service delivery times, for example, post them front and center on your web page or in your customer communications, so that they are aware of them at the very beginning of their journey with you.
- Use knowledge to your advantage. Post FAQs and how-to information for both your customers and your staff to ensure they can quickly find out the latest on a variety of relevant topics.
Keep Content Fresh
Whether you have a web page, website, or simple email communications with your staff and customers, keep them coming back. I’m currently posting little “announcements” on our intranet’s landing page, which highlight new or important knowledge articles for our staff.
- Find ways to post more information. Even if it is a “rehash” of some of your most important items, keep your website or email notifications looking up to date. People will be more engaged with you and more confident in their connections with the company.
- Talk about something other than COVID-19. While the pandemic is the first thing on our minds for good reason, there are other aspects of your business, your industry, and the lives of your customers that still matter. Keeping some normalcy is part of this, too.
Provide Updates Whenever Possible
One of the hardest things for people to process during this time is the rapid change that has affected nearly all aspects of our lives. Communicate early and often. In the same vein as setting expectations, make sure your customers know where they are with you.
- If they have a pending order, consider sending them a “We’re still on track” message, so they know their order is still expected to deliver as previously scheduled.
- If something might change, how about a “We’re trying our best to maintain our scheduled delivery for you. Some customers are experiencing delays, and although we don’t think you’re one of them, things could still change. We will keep you up to date on any changes.”
- If your customer will be affected, tell them as soon as you know, and acknowledge they may need to make other arrangements if they cannot wait for your product/service.
Communicate early and often.
Kristin Jones is a passionate customer support advocate with a focus on people and process, and has been leading IT teams with delight for more than a decade. A lifelong learner who seeks to inspire others with fresh ideas, she is an active member of the HDI community and holds certifications in ITIL v3., HDI Support Center Manager and KCS Foundations. She strives to end each day having smiled more than frowned and having helped someone (or something!) work better. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kitonjones.