How is the current situation affecting your customer service? Is your inbox overflowing because so many customer requests are rolling in? Are you noticing a change in the mood of the customers? Are your customers picking up the phone more often than sending an email because they prefer to talk face-to-face? Our partner GREYHOUND is a specialist in customer service and explains in this blog post what will quickly help you to improve your customer service sustainably.
At the moment, fortunately, the Corona numbers are falling and there are more and more relaxations. Nevertheless, the lockdown has been with us for many months. The combination of insecurity and frustration is probably causing everyone's nerves to fray – and that's exactly what presents a great opportunity in terms of customer service and customer loyalty. If you can provide good and empathetic customer service in these times, you can increase your brand perception disproportionately and ensure good customer loyalty even after Corona.
Is your inbox bursting at the seams right now? Then you're probably one of the lucky ones whose order situation has improved, not worsened. That's great! But are you managing to provide your customers with the service and response time you want to give them, despite the increased volume of inquiries and tougher working conditions?
Whether or not customer service is booming right now, this may be the perfect time to take a general look at customer service and optimize it for the long term. To analyze questions like: How can we sustainably reduce our inquiry volume? How can we reduce our average response time? Which processes can be digitized and/or automated? And, if not already done: Should we now expand our digital service channels and integrate a live chat, for example, or deliberately not?
Creating optimal working conditions despite home office
Companies are currently faced with the challenge of organizing their teams in a decentralized manner and ensuring that an optimal level of employee productivity prevails even when working from home – without them losing their nerve in the 'home-office-home-schooling-madness'. Taking care of the physical and mental health of your team members is more important than ever in these times. Whether it's more flexibility in working hours or quickly providing the infrastructure needed to work comfortably and efficiently from a home office: Employers have an obligation in these times to do their best to reduce employee stress levels. After all, when Mr. Taylor-Brown calls for the fourth time to ask where his parcel is, the service employee's hat may burst. To ensure that this doesn't happen – or that it happens as rarely as possible – employers and employees alike have to provide optimal conditions, depending on the circumstances. With the necessary empathy, flexibility, and the right tools in the form of hardware and software, as well as a secure data connection to sensitive data, even remotely. Only if these essential prerequisites are right, empathetic customer service can succeed at all in these times.
What to do when the inbox is overflowing?
But what should you do if your inbox is already bursting at the seams? First of all: Don't panic. What you need to do now is keep a cool head so that you don't drown in chaos. We've got four immediate steps you can take to get your customer service back on track when you feel like you're losing control of everything:
1.) Share the load evenly
Is one member of your team twiddling his thumbs while the others are completely stretched to the limit? To avoid this, make sure the load is equally distributed on all shoulders in the service team. In these times, a good distribution of tasks can only succeed if it is approached jointly and individually – for example, it can take a lot of stress off the working mother with two small kids in homeschooling if she focuses on emails instead of phone calls. Try to evaluate and decide together as a team who can and will take on which tasks and when.
2.) Get the important things done first
Once the inbox is overflowing, it is essential to focus on the essentials. For some dealers, this is (product) inquiries from potential customers, for others, it is efficiently handled complaints and warranty cases. Whatever the focus is for you: Ensure a clear and transparent prioritization of customer inquiries – in the best case, not only of the currently open inquiries but directly fully automated for all future incoming tickets. And at the same time, make sure that all irrelevant messages, such as confirmation emails and status messages, are sorted out – in the best case, also fully automatic. The inbox should always be cleared of unimportant messages that do not require any action so that no time is wasted reading and deleting them.
3.) Control support channels in a targeted manner
Which support channels make sense is always a highly individual question and strongly depends on the target group and the products offered. For example, it may make sense to limit the time spent on telephone support to focus more on emails. In any case, we recommend sending auto-answers with a note about longer processing times. Communicate to your customers why it may currently take longer and ask them to refrain from multiple contact attempts. This only delays the processing of the already full inbox unnecessarily.
4.) Professionalize your work
When face-to-face conversations and chit-chat at the coffee machine are eliminated, tools for good internal communication and transparency within the team are essential. Introducing professional software solutions such as a new customer relationship management system, instant messaging system or task management can also help automate processes, reduce customer service response times and improve service quality and team communication overall.
Professionalizing customer service – but how?
When it comes to customer service, the choice of software solution used to respond to customer inquiries is critical. Does your customer service team currently work with a traditional mail program, or do you have a dedicated ticketing system to respond to your inquiries? How well does the team work together? How long does it take to respond to an average customer inquiry? It makes sense and is recommended to reflect together with the customer service team whether the choice of tool is (still) the right one or whether there is potential for optimization.
Specifically for optimization in customer service, the customer communication solution GREYHOUND with a connection to Shopware is ideal for all Shopware users. This allows customer service staff to see everything they need to know about the relevant query directly when answering a ticket: What has the customer ordered? Have the goods already been shipped? What is the tracking link? And best of all: Not only can this data be seen, thus saving the annoying and time-consuming switching back and forth between different applications, but it can also be automatically incorporated in the form of text modules. A personalized answer to the classic question "Where is my parcel?" thus takes just a few seconds. Users of the two solutions, GREYHOUND and Shopware, can thus benefit from significantly faster response times, seamless transparency, and optimal teamwork, even when working in a home office.
Tip: If you are interested, you can test GREYHOUND with Shopware for 30 days free of charge and without obligation – you can find more information here.