Do You Have a Customer Service Disaster Recovery Plan in Place?
March 11, 2013
What’s your customer service crisis plan? If you said, “We don’t have one,” you may want to read this article very, very carefully.
No one expects a crisis (that’s why they call it a “crisis”). But weather emergencies, disasters such as fires and earthquakes, widespread power outages or long network outages can render a company powerless to serve its customers in the blink of an eye.
It’s true (though maybe not fair) that customers don’t tend to notice good service as easily as they notice bad service. While they may call your contact center and receive faultless service 364 days of the year, it’s the 365th day (when you are unavailable) that they will remember, discuss and share with others on social media.
While your company may have a disaster recovery plan on paper when it comes to equipment or networks, do you have a customer service disaster recovery plan?
Call center solutions provider Angel.com (News - Alert) recently blogged that not having a customer service crisis plan can be deadly – customers are core to the business’ survival. Don Keane (News - Alert), the company’s vice president of marketing and product strategy, recommends several strategies for salvaging customer relationships out of unexpected service interruptions.
Reach out to customers. Don’t wait for customers to call you with problems. Have a plan to get in touch with customers in case of a crisis or disaster. Speed matters and shows the customer the business is genuinely concerned for the customers’ wellbeing, writes Keane. This strategy involves having a solid, cloud-based outbound customer contact solution in place that will allow you to contact customers via a variety of media.
Let customers know how to contact you. It’s not enough to contact them once and let them know you’re still operating: you should plan for two-way customer communication, writes Keane, by providing them with several ways to contact you should they need to do so..
Use social media. Social networks are an immediate and real-time channel people often turn to when getting in touch is urgent. Use it to post updates and contact information and answer customer questions as quickly as possible keeps customers informed and shows the business is committed to being as transparent as possible, writes Keane.
Be human and sympathetic. Rather than using stiff call recordings and formal language, be understanding with customers. Help them realize you are sharing their difficulties and want to help. Tempers may be short and customers may be upset. Showing a little sympathy can go a long way.
Many multichannel contact center solutions today have built-in tools to help contact centers manage emergencies. Do not wait until you need them to make your plans for handling such emergencies. Every organization should already have a viable plan in place. After all, once the storm ends, the power outage is over or the disaster is cleaned up, you’ll still have to face your customers in the morning. Form a good impression when it counts, and you’ll likely keep your customers’ good opinions going forward.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli