We have talked regularly about how the pandemic is impacting our businesses. In various episodes of the Legendary Leaders podcast, we have discussed how it can affect mindset, and how we push ourselves forward; we have discussed changes in business processes because we could be producing or providing our services in a new way, and we have discussed leadership methodologies because we are all working remotely. But what we haven’t actively discussed is how to handle the customer service impacts.
My overall recommendation is to treat your customers the way you want to be treated. The golden rule, right? Beyond that, look to larger companies and steal shamelessly from how they are handling similar issues.
If you have a product you are producing and shipping, for example, put an alert on your website letting customers know there could be a delivery delay due to the pandemic. We have all seen these alerts on various websites, why not add them to yours as well? Even if the risk is small, you don’t want an uncontrollable delivery issue to damage your brand.
If you have a service product or you have a call center taking orders and you are struggling with the call volume, are you setting the proper message your potential customers will hear on those inbound calls? If you have the financial means, can you buy the phone system software that allows you to automatically call the customer back when it’s their turn in the call queue? I don’t know about you, but if I have a 45-minute wait on the phone, I am happy to allow the system to call me back if my first option of being immediately served isn’t available. Think about how you let the customer know they are valuable to you, that you recognize their time is valuable, and offer any solutions you can to help them be served.
The point here is that you need to be proactive, transparent, and honest with your customers about your ability to serve them. Everyone is usually forgiving if you can simply let them know what the situation really is. So don’t hide issues.
If you do have a customer complaint, apologize to them! You don’t have to apologize in a way that makes you responsible for the error, especially if you are unsure if the issue was caused by you or the shipping company for example. But you can always apologize that they have a concern and that they are having to spend their time reaching out to you to get it resolved, right? And so you should.
The faster you acknowledge a customer’s concern, the faster you apologize, the more likely they are to understand and are willing to give you another chance at earning their dollars.
How can you apply this in your business to remember, in all of the changes you are facing in the business world, how are you also changing to better communicate and serve your customer? How can you apply this in your business today?