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Is Your Customer Service Ready for Coronavirus Impact?

As cases of COVID-19 (also known as the novel coronavirus) continue to emerge across the U.S. and around the world, uncertainty grows about how the coronavirus might impact daily life, it’s important to ask yourself: are you prepared to keep your business operations running uninterrupted? In the face of some social interruption, are you prepared to respond to, and service your customers’ needs virtually?

Whether its coronavirus or some other factor causing disruption, people still want and need to do business, from shopping to managing their finances, to talking to their doctors, etc. Businesses that have the capacity to service customers online should anticipate an increase in demand and prepare their online presence to service unique customer issues that might arise due to a disruption.  This is an opportunity to put a more flexible approach to meeting customer engagement needs by utilizing a remote customer service support staff. You will need to do some immediate tactical solutions right away, but it is a catalyst to further evolve your customer support solutions with virtual live engagement. Here are some effective and easy ways that you can prepare your online site and equip your employees so they can work remotely to meet the unique needs of your online customers:  

Leverage a Customer Service BOTs and Live-chat

Even if you adopt remote work policies for your employees, you need to be able to handle peak traffic from customers who may feel safer online, or just can’t get to a physical location to do business. The same BOT that services customers 24/7 in non-emergency situations will be able to easily handle the influx of new customers. 

With a few tweaks, you can train your existing BOT to respond to common questions associated with a crisis that has arisen from new or existing customers. The BOT will be able to answer customers’ questions about changes to your service, and what they can expect if businesses sites are closed temporarily, or new procedures such as cancellation policies or other high-volume types of questions.

During emergencies, phone lines can get backed up, and customers who are trying to reach you can become frustrated. Instantaneous engagement is now the normal mode of communication. . Your customers, members, and patients need to be able to reach your organization instantaneously and engage with BOTs right away. Utilizing a ChatBOT ensures there is queue management alleviation automatically in place as the simple questions are answered via a BOT which in turn, will reduce the queue to speak with a live agent.

The best practice with BOTs is to implement a clear process of escalation to a live-agent. This may be directly transferring your customer to your agent with a call, a video call, or via a live text-chat since your team members can talk to three to five customers unassisted. This acts a powerful way to further reduce the phone call queue.

Integrating your ChatBOT and live engagement like live-chat and messaging gives your team the capacity to handle peak volumes and also maintain a high CSAT score. Live-chat and ChatBOTs work hand-in-hand to optimize your customer’s experience and keep your employees effective and efficient. ChatBOTs handle your customers’ FAQs, and as more in-depth questions arise, your ChatBOT can seamlessly escalate the question to one of your team members. This frees up your team members to focus on high-priority and/or in-depth questions, while the ChatBOT answers any and all FAQs that come in, creating a smooth customer experience.

Collaborate with Your Customers

With live-engagement and co-browsing, your agent becomes a digital guide. Co-browsing enables agents and customers to see the same things while navigating online ensuring there is real-time collaboration. The agent can view a customer’s screen to identify the issues or questions and jointly navigate the customer’s screen to guide interactively for customer support.  Think about a customer who is so frustrated and just wants to find the information to get their money back from a canceled flight. This is where co-browsing is key to customer happiness – you can easily navigate them to what they want when they want it, based on their issues. At Vee24, we ensure that we are able to co-browse across all engagement types from ChatBOTs to live video chats.  

When you do need to escalate to a phone call there are additional benefits from co-browsing.  Since co-browsing allows agents to see exactly what the customer is looking at on the website the customer doesn’t have to explain over the phone what their issue is, and the agent doesn’t have to explain the possible fix. Instead, they can view the customer’s issue and simply perform the fix themselves, saving time and money. Additionally, for complex websites, co-browsing improves first call resolution by giving your agents the information they need to understand the customer’s issue immediately. This has an immediate benefit to your customer service KPIs and provides for a highly satisfied customer.  

A Catalyst for Improved Customer Service Approach

The current situation in the world may be causing your organization to quickly put many of the recommendations above in place right now.  But there is a greater opportunity to bring changes to your customer support staff that will push cost reductions and customer satisfaction improvements in the near future. Creating a virtual workforce that is distributed and working from the comfort of their home is a great benefit.  It reduces risks since you can now hire agents from all over a geographic area, so if there is an outage or some type of a disaster there is slack in your system. Moreover, it allows you to have a greater range of wage costs depending on whether they are in Salt Lake City, Utah or Boston, MA. And one great benefit is the happiness of your employees who can now work remotely, and it may allow them more flexible hours and additional time to be at home.  

By providing your agents with tools that allow for screen-share and co-browse they can digitally “hold your customer’s hand.” These technologies will enable your agents to share the screen with customers, and walk them through completing any forms, transfers, or other processes that they may need help. Many of the solutions like Vee24 can easily be leveraged in a remote approach and provide easy ways for your customer support to get up to speed fast and be very efficient and effective.

When an emergency arises for you, your business or your employees, you can take immediate steps to protect your business and keep it up and running. But it is also an opportunity to plan for future adaptions to drive greater value from your call center.  With the right tools in place, you can effectively meet your customers online where they are, while still ensuring their safety and the safety of your employees. By integrating ChatBOTs, live-chat, co-browsing and other live-engagement technologies into your online presence, you can create a powerful experience for your customers online. If you can provide your employees with the tools to work remotely, you can also maintain your staff’s well-being while protecting your business from the potential impact of social disruption.