Even during uncertain times customers will continue to seek access to your services, with an added level of angst to get the reassurances they need. Couple this with a frontline customer service team that is working remotely, it can be difficult to stay in control of your demand. Here’s our top tips to help manage demand and keep your customer teams focussed and motivated:
Tip #1 - Set expectations early
Set expectations through automated voice messages and a carousel of the latest updates on your website. Be open and transparent about the situation and be clear what needs can and can’t be met.
Tip #2 - Your website is your most valuable tool
Use your website to its full capacity. Your customer service teams must talk to your web team on an hourly basis to make sure online content reflects what people are asking for. Use real-time analytics of what customers are asking or searching for to drive down demand, give people what they need and save them picking up the phone.
Tip #3 - Deploy webchat
If you haven’t already, deploy webchat. Several companies are offering support and help to remotely deploy during the current crisis: 8x8, Netcall, Difference Corporation and IMImobile are all ensuring that we can keep talking to our customers in whatever the circumstances. Deploy as many customer service advisors as you can to this channel. In times when advisors are home working and might have distractions of background noise, this is the perfect channel to communicate with customers, free of interruption. Don’t forget to use the insight from this tool to update web pages and produce the content most relevant to your customers.
Tip #4 - Trust your team
People work in customer service because they care. Let them help customers and listen to their advice on how best to do this. Managers and organisations should give teams the tools, support and TRUST to get the job done.
Tip #5 - Don’t reinvent the wheel
Despite operating in a new environment, there is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to performance management. If you have the right KPIs in place, these should be as effective in a crisis as during business-as-usual. Monitor inbound contact, call durations and wrap times. Use these metrics to understand demand, keep senior managers informed and prioritise resources.
Tip #6 - Use collaborative working tools
Customer service teams thrive on collaboration. Maintain that sense of one-team working using collaborative working tools. Beyond corporate tools like Teams and Skype, why not set up a Whatsapp or Facebook group for your staff and facilitate daily check-ins. These tools give team members a platform to discuss complex customer queries and reach out for support from colleagues, just like they would in the office.
Tip #7 - Don’t overload your teams
Ensure employees are not overloaded by constant requests for reports and updates. Agree a reporting regime and stick to it, focusing on the insight needed to plan and prioritise, not checking up that people are doing their jobs. Store and update information directly onto Sharepoint, your corporate performance management system or wherever you share data. Encourage senior managers and other teams to be self-sufficient in checking this to reduce the volume of internal emails and use tools such as Teams or Yammer to communicate when information has been updated.
Tip #8 - Communicate with the back office
Teams in the back office must be kept up to date with the latest information so that they are armed to provide the best support, including handling more complex queries. Customer service advisers and teams in the back office need to work hand-in-glove to best support customers – and each other.
For more advice during this challenging time, reach out to us at Human Engine or our partners at Peopletoo.
t. 0203 538 7822