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Since March 2020, many businesses have been using COVID-19 as an excuse to cover up mistakes and/or poor customer service. Whilst it is understandable that the pandemic has thrown us many challenges this past year and pushed businesses to their limit, it’s not completely fair to blame a company’s poor customer service on this ongoing pandemic. We are now nearly a year down the line and still experiencing companies blame unanswered queries and exceedingly long wait times on coronavirus. Although the disease has affected the way we now work, businesses have had more than enough time to adapt to this new way of working.

The long-lasting effects of COVID-19 are going to be around for a while, so companies need to accept that things are different and adapt to these new challenges. If businesses don’t up their game soon there’s a high chance that they will lose loyal customers. Applying a new strategy to your business can help save disappointment and stop unwanted and negative comments impacting your business online and by word of mouth.

Here at UTL Group we believe customer care and an excellent service is essential to any business and have listed below some of what we believe to be the great foundations of a solid customer service team:

Customers respect and appreciate good communication above all else. Even if something is going wrong and mistakes have been made, making the customer aware of the situation can help save it from turning nasty. Making sure you respond to a customer as quickly as possible is also another key factor for good customer service. Setting up an automated response acknowledging the customer when they have reported a problem is a great start. Something like this gives the customer piece of mind and lets them know when they should expect to see a reply from a member of your customer care team.

Be prepared! Having a list of FAQ’s and answers available for your staff to read and use as a template is a great idea. Even posting these on your website and social media pages can be a great help. Having them available online could also cut down wait times as simple questions can be answered without the customer needing to contact anyone. You can also use this opportunity to go into depth and give as much detail about your products or business as you want and need.

Keeping positive throughout your conversations with an unsatisfied customer can completely change the tone of the call. It’s all about replacing the negatives with the positives. Try to not use words like don’t, won’t and unable. Try to always be polite and suggest alternative choices that are available to them.

Remember to be understanding and patient with customers. Even though it isn’t pleasant to be on the receiving end of an angry or upset customer, it’s also not nice to spend money on a product or service that is faulty or not what you expected it to be. We have all experienced a situation like this and sometimes it brings out the worst in people. A good customer service team should be reassuring you that the problems your facing are going to be acknowledged and resolved. Remember it’s never too late to change someone’s opinion. Showing you care for the customer and the service they receive from you can be all that they need to regain your trust and be understanding of the situation at hand.

When it comes down to it, bad customer service has been around a lot longer than COVID-19. Although the pandemic has caused multiple issues and problems for businesses, leaving them understaffed and with some or all employees having to work from home, if you are still supplying a product or service then as a business you need to stay connected with your customers. Businesses that adapt will be those that survive and making sure your staff and your customers can communicate effectively is vital to that survival.