2020 brought along huge shifts in how we live, work, and communicate with each other and businesses. Customers have always preferred their interactions with service to be seamless and on their terms. But today, 63% of agents say it’s difficult to balance speed and quality with customer service. Customers are visiting FAQ pages more frequently, signing into customer portals regularly, and reaching out across all channels to navigate the uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic. As your team works to make your customers feel supported and cared for, your customer self-service channels play a big role in handling a high contact volume.
Self-service is a powerful tool for customers during a time of crisis as they look for quick answers to common questions. According to our State of Service report, 78% of service pros say customers have increased their use of self-service during the pandemic. To ensure your customer self-service channels make the biggest impact, what can you do quickly — even in just one hour — before your day begins?
Identify frequently asked questions
Taking a few minutes to connect with your team will help you understand the most common customer questions to address in your help center.
1. Host a daily standup
Even if it’s just 10 minutes, meeting with your team gets everybody on the same page. Ask agents from the call center and beyond for commonly asked customer questions and how they resolve them.
2. Create a collaboration document
Encourage agents to use simple collaboration tools they can update on the fly with frequent customer requests. With a single source of truth, agents can record how they resolved their cases to help colleagues with similar future cases.
3. Update your help center
Use your list of frequently asked questions as a cue to create content in your help center, such as updates on delayed orders or refund information for a service. If it makes sense for your organization, consider a dedicated section on your help center with featured articles specific to the pandemic. Early on in the pandemic, Pearson updated the home page on its support site with information about delays due to COVID-19, directing people to the company’s self-service options.
Make simple updates to your messaging
Reviewing and, where necessary, adding or updating messaging on your customer self-service channels assures customers your organization is sensitive to what they are going through.
1. Put relevant customer support information front and center
Consider creating a banner that appears at the top of your home page with specific instructions or with a direct link to your help center. Services like DoorDash have a clear message to let customers know their health and safety practices under COVID-19. If you have a customer portal, personalize the banner message at the top of the page as well.
And, offer the option for customers to easily opt-in to receive real-time notifications or updates, such as the timing of a late delivery or payment. For example, DoorDash offers customers to opt-in for no-contact delivery.
2. Update your chatbot’s welcome message
If you keep your bot’s general welcome message, it may feel out of touch to customers. Re-evaluate the first message that appears when a customer reaches out. Consider updating or adding a few words that are empathic to the current situation and address common requests, such as how to make a cancellation and receive updates related to their orders. See how Sun Basket, a meal delivery service, built their chatbot to handle surges in their case volume.
3. Create an all-encompassing knowledge article
Keep agents aware of new and existing pandemic protocols and other internal changes with a knowledge article. Develop an externally-facing version, as well, to keep customers informed.
Find ways to streamline workflows
Simplifying processes and making it easier to find information goes a long way for customers, and frees up agents from high-volume cases.
1. Create a channel menu on your site
In a time of crisis, customers don’t want to take time to search for a contact page. With a simple widget or code snippet, you can integrate a fixed channel menu on your help center or website. This surfaces all available support channels to customers, or it can direct them to a web-to-case input form, a community, or a knowledge base.
2. Route cases with chatbots
Review your data to find specific keywords that keep coming in via your chatbots. For easy answers, make sure you have an FAQ the chatbot can use to answer questions. For more sensitive topics, have your chatbot immediately offer to transfer to an agent.
3. Create guided processes
In your customer portal, you can automate specific processes to help customers do them on their own (and free agents from high-volume calls). By integrating a workflow on your end, such as canceling an order, the automation process appears on their screen and walks customers through each step.
With just a few simple updates, you can ensure your customer self-service channels are working hard to help your customers find the answers they quickly need.