The pandemic has changed customer service hugely. How have companies adapted?
The two main trends in customer service in the pandemic have been automation and personalisation. Both have increased at the same time but how is this possible? A great article in Catalyst, Q1 2021, has some answers.
Automation in the pandemic
Automation has become a lifeline for everyone delivering service, especially staff working from home. Live chat is now a favourite tool. That’s because you can handle many more enquiries at the same time using live chat. Companies adapted quickly to live chat, training staff in cultural sensitivities, diversity awareness and social skills that are different to customer service norms. Another way the pandemic has changed things is the Digital Switchboard. Using voice recognition technology, callers are prompted to say what they want or who they want to speak to. The DS will quickly route their call saving time for everyone particularly during busy periods.
Personalisation for the best customer service
Automation works well when queries are simple and easy to predict. But one way in which the pandemic has hugely changed things is the customer’s situation. How is that? Well, customers are workers too, working from home and multi-tasking at great speed. Sometimes they don’t want automation or live chat, their problem is too complicated for that. Instead, they want personalisation. This is where some companies have adapted extremely well, offering real human contact, knowledge and know-how to sort problems quickly and efficiently. Companies could not deliver customer service face to face in the pandemic. But staff were quick to adapt to phone, email and social media to offer an authentic personal response.
But what about the companies in a business-to-business environment? How have they adapted to the pandemic? Their customer service has, likewise, been creative and innovative. One drinks company had previously used brand ambassadors throughout its distribution network, but then redeployed them to introduce new products directly to consumers.
There is another great article at Forbes about customer service in the pandemic here