Much has been written, podcasted, blogged and webinar’d about the “pivoting” of Sales and Marketing teams and tactics during this lockdown. Resources abound there!

But what about the pivoting of customer service teams? For many businesses, net new sales just weren’t (and still aren’t) happening. Because of this, doesn’t it make sense to listen to your customers now more than ever and then make the necessary modifications to ensure high levels of retention and satisfaction? I think it does. Let me share five ways we did this and/or ways we advise our clients to do so.

(And, yes, listicles are still a highly effective trusted tactic.)

1. Talk to Your Customer Service Team

The obvious No. 1 in the listicle! When all this broke in mid-March, daily team Zoom meetings became the norm for us. Agenda was driven by their questions, concerns and recommendations based on their interactions with customers. Connectedness and camaraderie have never been needed more corporately!

We also recommend increasing the frequency of one-on-one meetings as well as increased video communication outlining the health and direction of your organization from the top leader.

2. Talk to Your Customers

The obvious No. 2! During the first week of lockdown, we called each and every one of our clients. We didn’t talk to them all, but they all knew, at least via voicemail, that we were committed to helping them weather the pandemic and that we’d always be available to talk.

This phone call communication progressed to email communication, webinar communication and now even newsletter communication :).

3. Provide Data-Driven Customer Service

So, Nos. 1 and 2 seem easy, but if you’re not doing those well, you won’t be able to do No. 3 at all. Check out this study by Majorel. The main conclusion is as follows: 84 percent of businesses believe they “usually” or “always” provide excellent customer service whereas only 9 percent of consumers think they “always” get excellent customer service.

How are your customers rating you through COVID? If you need ideas on how to gather that information, let us know as there are numerous layers of complexities. If you’re just getting started with customer surveys, start here.

4. Frictionless Commerce

Frictionless commerce is not a new idea but is getting a whole lot of new attention. It deserves yours as it will improve your customer and your customer service team’s level of satisfaction! Quick definition is the leveraging of technology to improve the retail or online experience of a customer. eMarketer has published an illuminating report. If you have 22.5 hours, you can read it all or call me, and I’ll provide the CliffsNotes version. Best Buy may be the best example of a big brand doing this well as they’ve been able to generate 81 percent of last year’s sales without customers entering their stores for months. Lots of solutions are here to help such as chatbots, voice assistants and video chats.

5. Update Terms and Conditions

Don’t handcuff your customer service team with T&C’s that predate the pandemic. Given our collective situation, certain policies such as cancellations and returns may need to be amended. A certain way to frustrate your team and customers is to provide no flexibility here. Go back and read them!

Customers’ Post-COVID Expectations Will Be Higher Than Ever Before

Although it seems as though grace was extended for a period of time, customers’ post-COVID expectations will be higher than ever before. See the Majorel study again. Almost all consumers expect 24/7 service. They don’t want to wait on the phone or wait to hear back on text or on social media. They expect technologies that provide automatic call backs, real-time order updates and more. That said, work hard to find the balance between technical efficiencies and genuine human interactions. Your team and your customers desire both!