Strengthen Your Brand During A Crisis Event
Embrace the Delicate Balance – It can be a gift!
From best practices in employing technology solutions to common sense tips that are surprisingly overlooked, we believe a crisis situation – from a product recall to a political issue, from supply chain challenges to a data breach – that causes higher than average contact volume is the best time for brands to strengthen the customer experience.
Whether they’re upset or delighted, only those who care the most will bother contacting you during this critical time.
Seize the moment with these 6 best practices.
Look at it as the BEST time to build brand loyalty!
Recalls, negative product news, and other high-volume events are the absolute best time to build brand loyalty!
It’s a path to least resistance. People who care enough to let you know how they feel will contact you.
Whether they are upset with what has happened or are happy with your actions, those who contact you want to be heard and appreciated. This creates an opportunity to build a relationship with your consumer in a dialogue they have not only opted into but initiated. Sometimes the resolution, depending on the issue, is simply listening and confirming the customer has been heard.
Social listening coupled with a resolution-focused response are critical – but don’t overlook other channels. Social media creates a lot of noise now that the consumer is trained to call out even their favorite brands publicly. Strive for first contact resolution in the channel your customer uses.
Don’t let a crisis upend your business as usual.
Even when emotions are running high, most people will self-serve if a smart, frictionless option is available. From virtual IVR or isolated traditional IVR tools to well-designed, conversational AI-supported contact channels (chat, email, text, social, etc.), is available, it’s likely that most of your customers will opt to self-serve, happily.
Statistically, on average 70% of consumers are likely to self-serve; and only 30% will want to speak to a brand representative. Smart self-service offerings also eliminate the costly presumption that 24/7 live agent care is necessary. Your customer will feel cared for with an automated solution after hours if it’s designed and tested with the customers’ concerns in mind.
It’s important to avoid attempting to fake a conversation. Work with your contact center to immerse yourself into the issue and build any AI-assisted communication or self-service offering from that level.
ASK! Motivate your team to understand first. Investigate and manage your issue from what you learn. Seek to understand, then, reward.
Ask your customers for information related to their claims, complaints, or comments. They want you to ask. They will generally be more than happy to provide contact details, proof of purchase, photos if applicable, and state their issue in detail.
This will allow your agents to freely gather the information you need to analyze, without pretext, and your customer will feel appreciated.
While they are motivated to share, most will also expect something in return. Be prepared to seamlessly offer a coupon, special offer, upgrade, or refund in exchange for their information. Don’t underestimate the power of a “+1” in this engagement. Overdelivering with double the coupons, an offer to share with a friend, or a bonus refund will never be more recognized or appreciated by your consumer than at this moment. Be sure your contact center has the technology integrations and/or capabilities to make this offering as frictionless as possible for the consumer.
Be Consistent and Transparent. Even if it’s a bad look.
Your consumer will value this, and it will result in reduced contact volume and increased positive response. History has proven that our love for a brand, product, or service will survive an issue if we can reasonably maintain trust in that brand, product, or service. Don’t let silos impact your consistency. Work hard to ensure ONE VOICE for those seeking a resolution to this issue. From your website (e-commerce or informational) to your IVR, from your social media response scripts to your corporate press releases: consistent and timely updates will remove bumps in the road and win you customer satisfaction points.
When your frontline representatives have a heads up about recent news coverage, they can have a more effective resolution with customers. In fact, your well-designed high-volume event preparedness plan should take into account how to respond to a customer when one of your competitors experiences an issue that’s widely publicized. And, expect your contact center to regularly bring emerging trends to your organization.
Ask Yourself: Why are you measuring that? And for whom?
Will successful outcomes to get through this crisis differ from what you’ve always measured?
Whether in a crisis or not, CX leaders have to break away from legacy KPIs and start to measure things that really make an impact on business growth. What are you measuring?
Is it standard wait times? Is it the length of each contact? Is it contact resolution?
Are you counting and reporting a certain amount of something? Is it coupon redemption?
In a crisis, the number of contacts can be important, as you’ll want to report and confirm you touched as many concerned people as possible. But, does it matter if your reps talked with
those people for 20 minutes or 1 minute, if their issue was resolved? Are you sticking to standard measurements that might conflict with your ability to solve a problem and provide an
exceptional customer experience?
In a crisis, your service team might be dealing with people who became ill or suffered a consequence as a result of your product or service. Do they want you a swift answer or a meaningful resolution to their problem? Is it something that cannot be resolved in one contact?
How are you measuring customer satisfaction? How do you know whether the customer going to stay with your brand? Can a survey tell you that? Or listening to a 20-minute call?
Understanding and plotting the customer journey in a crisis, starting with the catalyst for contacting you through to the resolution and then back to loyalty and LTV will help you shift your KPIs. It’s no longer about measuring time spent. It’s about the experience delivered.
Don’t Let the Crisis Take Over Your Business. And remember to have an ENDPOINT.
It helps to create separate points of contact across your consumer touchpoints to draw in, manage and accurately categorize issue-relevant contacts. A unique TFN, a separate digital contact flow, any alternate means of communication that helps the consumer “self-categorize” their inquiry away from day-to-day consumer inquiries will set you on the path forward.
This doesn’t mean you are “promoting” the issue across your consumer touchpoints. Done carefully, you will just skim the critical contacts away from your typical contact volume, allowing you to assign specialized, highly-trained talent to properly support your customers with issues related to the high volume event.
Take this opportunity to transition the unique opportunity to speak to or hear from your customer 1:1 into a pivotal growth strategy.
Benefit from these new insights, report them cross-functionally and improve your collective business strategy. Be ready to move onward and upward.
At some point, you need to declare that the event is over and assimilate the remaining contacts into your regular business, update your knowledge base, categorizing the event as history. It happened, it’s over and it becomes part of your script.